Today, I wanted to talk about feminism, an issue I’m passionate about. I want to shed light on some of the misconceptions about the ideology and how we still need feminism today. Enjoy!
Recently, I’ve read a few articles that spoke out against feminist ideology. Whether it’s on my Facebook newsfeed or my WordPress dashboard, I’ve seen a couple articles about how feminism is harmful and no longer needed. As a communications major, I find this quite interesting. Some of the ideas presented in these articles are even more interesting. It’s shocking that in this day in age, I still read articles that comment that feminism is about man-hating, victimizing women, giving women ‘special’ privileges, and other obscurities.
Feminism is not about any of the things mentioned above (even though, that’s what some media has brainwashed us to believe). Feminism is the belief that every human being is equal and deserve equal political, social, and economic rights regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, age, class, gender identity, ability, etc. Feminists strive to achieve equality among all human beings.
The most questionable argument I read in these articles, however, is the fact that many people believe that women are equal to men and that feminism is no longer needed. People cite that more women are going to college, going into the workforce, among other achievements to the misconception that women have finally achieved equality and that feminism is ridiculous, at this point in time.
While women have won a great number of battles throughout history, to say that the struggle is finally over and that women are equal to men couldn’t be further from the reality. So, today I want to share 4 reasons why we still need feminism and demonstrate the unfortunate truth that women are still not yet equal citizens.
1. Women are still abused and raped in alarming numbers.
- 1 in 3 women are victims of domestic violence.
- 1 in 5 women are victims of rape.
- 19.3 million women have been stalked in their lifetime.
It’s clear that women are more likely to be abused or raped in their life than men. Let’s not forget that women are also forced into prostitution and human trafficking every day. The rate in which violence against women still occurs today is pretty alarming. What’s even more alarming is the way in which we talk about some of the issues. Many people still believe that domestic violence is an issue of the household and that it’s not a criminal matter. The way in which we talk about rape is even more alarming. We hear constant victim blaming. We hear stories that the rapist should not be charged because it was ‘her fault’ for drinking or wearing certain clothing. Violence against women is a crime and there should be appropriate punishment just like any other crime.
2. Women still make less than men for the same work.
- For every dollar the white man makes, a white woman makes only .78 cents. An African American woman only makes .64 cents. Latina women only make a mere .54 cents.
It’s unbelievable that women still get paid less than their male counterparts for the same work. Even more unbelievable is the fact that women of color make significantly less than anyone else in the country. Now, we must also take into consideration the type of work women are more likely to get in as opposed to men. Women still dominate the service industry (serving, secretary, retail, etc). On top of this, women are less likely to move up the ladder than men. Men are more likely to hold positions of power such as principal, manager, chief executive, and US president than women. They are also more likely to get promoted faster than women. Let’s not forget that women are also faced with more critiques than men in the workforce (and a lot are not even work related.) Women are more likely to get critiqued over things like what they are wearing and how emotional or aggressive they are. More women may be graduating from college and entering the workforce, however, we still face a lot more discrimination in these fields than men.
3. Women still don’t have full control of their bodies.
While Roe v. Wade may have granted women control over their bodies and reproductive rights, we still see various attacks to this legislation. From President Donald Trump wanting to overturn the constitutional law under his leadership to attacks on Planned Parenthood, women are still shamed against making their own decisions about their bodies. Wanting to overturn this law is against the constitution. This is a clear attack on women’s legal rights. If women can’t even have a say in their own bodies, what do women have a legal right to? Also, women who do have abortions are constantly scrutinized and shamed for their decisions. Women don’t have an easy time getting access to birth control pills, Plan B, safe abortions, among other health issues women face. Women are called ‘sluts’ ‘baby killers’ ‘whores’ ‘cunts’ and other degrading and dehumanizing words simply for activating their legal right to chose what to do or what not do with their bodies.
4. Women are still objectified in popular culture.
Whether it’s an advertisement, music video, TV show, or movie, women are still seen as the ‘other’ and many times, sexualized. We see this in advertisement all the time. Women are subjected to being body parts for viewer consumption. Especially in magazines, we see images of women being there simply as sexual objects for the heterosexual man to look at. Everything from the woman’s submissive pose to her exposed body gives the consumer the impression that objectifying women to being pure sexual pleasures is normal and what women want. In music videos, we see women working out in little thongs. We see women naked hanging on to wrecking balls. We even hear lyrics that degrade women and even promote sexual violence towards women. In pornography, women are objectified to being simply a sexual pleasure for men. In most porn movies, women are the ones people search to look at. Watching naked women in a purely sexualized matter is the ultimate goal of pornography. Pornography is meant for men’s sexual pleasure, not women’s. Another serious issue in this category is the fact that women are judged merely by looks and the sexual pleasure we can offer men. Women are under an incredible amount of pressure to be that ideal woman in the media.
I hope my post can help shed light on the many issues women still face today. My intention is not to change anyone’s mind on the issue of feminism, but rather to think critically about women in our society and just how much inequality still exists between men and women today.
As a side note: let’s not forget that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has still not been passed in the US.