In basic terms, Feminism is the support and belief that all women are equal socially, economically, and politically among the sexes. However, there is nothing basic about Feminism. The term is an empowering identity that aims to prove a woman’s intelligence, strength, and competence. We have such a term within our society because women have been subjected to harsh treatment and denied fundamental human rights throughout history.
Men have enjoyed fundamental human rights and held positional authority over women. They have unjustly placed laws, policies, and restrictions to keep women from advancing in a world designed for a male to succeed. However, to this day, women are still fighting for their right to equality across the globe. This article will cover what it means to be a feminist, the philosophy behind it, and why everyone should be a feminist, even if you are not a woman.
The Inception and Progression of Feminism
Feminism is not a new concept and has been a significant movement that is very much established within history and philosophy. Plato, one of the most cited philosophers, stated in The Republic Plato through his character Socrates “the only difference between men and women is one of physical function – one begets, the other bear’s children. Apart from that, both can and should follow the same range of occupations and perform the same functions.”
Furthermore, throughout history, humanity has seen some of the best and most progressive leaders be women. Women such as Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, and Elizabeth I, Queen of England, are not only famous figures in history, but they embody the strength and intelligence of a woman in charge. However, even with philosophy and history backing up a woman’s ability, women were still not considered equal, nor were they treated fairly within society. However, all of that would change in the 19th century; Feminism would drive to fight for woman’s equality.
The first wave of Feminism
The first wave of Feminism was a worldwide attempt for women to gain the legal ability to vote, which started in the 19th century. Women understood that getting the right to vote would be their first significant step to getting people in the office to make changes to laws that unfairly regulated women daily.
The first wave was orchestrated in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention by two prominent feminists, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Many men and women grouped together to rally against the inequalities of women. At the convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton famously read aloud that “All men and women were created equal.” Elizabeth then listed out the injustice women have suffered because of men through the Declaration of Sentiments, where many men and women signed the document supporting women’s rights.
The Second Wave of Feminism
The second wave of Feminism describes the resurgence of feminist activity in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The primary need for the second wave came after World War II. For many economic factors, such as the baby boom and unprecedented economic growth, women were viewed at this time as the primary household caregivers.
While women were at home taking care of the house and kids, this alienated women and their voices in politics and law-making. This strained women’s ability to be viewed as equal. Since men dominated politics and the workforce, men’s voice was enforced and accepted. However, this would not sit well with women, as leaders of the second wave of Feminism were women like Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, and Bella Abzug. They were fighting for causes like reproductive rights, equal pay, and an end to discrimination against women.
The Third Wave of Feminism
The third wave of Feminism is a social and political movement that began in the early 1990s. It was led by women who were of generation X. The women in the third wave wanted to start where the second wave left off.
Third-wave feminists were fighting for reproductive rights, body image, and sexuality issues. They were also working to dispel the myths and stereotypes about Feminism that had developed over the years. Many women who identified as feminists were often viewed negatively. Especially in pop culture media, which was rampant during that time, and feminists were an easy target.
This wave of Feminism accomplished many things. It was a significant step toward inclusion, where women of all races began to protest together for equality. The wave helped elect more women to political office, which created a domino effect, increasing access to birth control and abortion and changing how women are portrayed in the media.
The Fourth Wave of Feminism
The fourth wave of Feminism is a movement that started in the early 2010s and was a worldwide movement. It was carried out using social media and digital technologies to fight for gender equality.
The fourth wave of Feminism has been fighting for causes such as greater reproductive rights, body autonomy, and sexual harassment. One of their most significant accomplishments has been the #MeToo movement, which brought awareness to the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment against women and recognized the need that all women need to be believed when claiming assaults and that investigation should be taken immediately and seriously. Fourth-wave feminists have also advocated for changes in policy, to fight against workplace discrimination, body shaming, misogyny, and rape culture.
The Beliefs of Feminism
The beliefs of Feminism aren’t some complex sets of ideologies. Women are simply protesting to be equal, socially, economically, and politically and to have the same rights as their male counterparts. For years men have created laws, policies, and economic barriers for women to succeed. However, women believe men should not be the voice of women, especially over matters that govern their bodies, sexuality, and health. Feminism wants to eliminate men’s control that suppresses women, and they argue that when women are equal and free, it benefits everyone and contributes immensely to society.
Sexuality is an essential part of Feminism because women have been historically oppressed sexually. Sexual oppression refers to the ways in which women have been controlled and limited sexually, which has caused harm to many women in all parts of the world.
This can take many forms, including:
- forced marriage
- genital mutilation
However, Feminism has worked to challenge these forms of oppression and give women more control over their sexuality by empowering them and eradicating certain myths and negative perceptions of women’s sexuality.
Feminism has also helped to raise awareness of the issue of consent. This is the idea that sex should only happen when both parties involved agree to any sexual acts. This is important because it can help to prevent sexual violence or, at the very least, define nonconsensual sex so the victim can report the assault accordingly. Feminism has allowed women to gain equality in many areas, including sexuality, but there is more that still needs to be done.
Women’s Health Issues
Women’s health issues are any medical or psychological issue that primarily affects women. This can include everything from menstrual cycles and menopause to more severe conditions like breast cancer or heart disease. Many of these issues are unique to women, so it’s essential to have specialized care for them.
Feminism helps with women’s health issues by fighting for equality in the healthcare system. Women have historically been underserved and underrepresented in the medical field, and Feminism seeks to change that. By fighting for things like equal access to healthcare and paid family leave, Feminism is helping to improve women’s overall health.
When more than half of the population is not receiving adequate healthcare, it affects us all. In addition, women’s health issues are often seen as taboo, making it difficult for them to get the help they need. By raising awareness and breaking down the stigma around women’s health issues, we can all play a role in improving women’s lives.
Women in the Workforce
Women have been active in the workforce for centuries, but it wasn’t until the early 1900s that they began to gain equality. Today, women make up almost half of the workforce in the United States, but they still face many barriers.
One of the most significant barriers women face in the workforce is discrimination. Studies have shown that women are paid less than men for doing the same job and are often passed over for promotions. This is especially true in male-dominated fields.
Another barrier women face is sexual harassment. Unfortunately, this is a problem that continues to plague many workplaces. Women must deal with unwanted advances and comments from men, which can make going to work very stressful.
Despite these barriers, women have made great strides in the workforce. In recent years, more and more women have been elected to political office, and there are now more female CEOs than ever before in history.
The feminist movement has played a big role in helping women gain equality in the workforce. Feminists have fought for things like equal pay and paid parental leave, which has helped make the workplace a better place for women. Women will continue to face challenges in the workforce, but with the help of Feminism, they will eventually achieve true equality.
The Philosophy behind Feminism
The philosophy behind Feminism is to end sexism against women. Feminism is one of the most integral reasons women have today’s rights. Women should have a voice in politics; they should be equally represented by people who oversee law and policy. Women should have access to basic preventive care, sanitary supplies, and health care that can adequately cater to all women.
Women should have economic equality in the workforce. Women should not be paid less or overlooked for jobs they are highly qualified for or passed up for a promotion because of their gender. Women also shouldn’t have to be worried about harassment or sexual assault.
With all the issues women shouldn’t have to worry about, they do every day, and its men who are the ones to blame for their oppression. There is nothing unethical, immoral, or problematic about women fighting to be seen as equal in a world they helped create (literally). However, what is unethical and immoral is when men can freely oppress women and take away their God-given rights. It should be up to women without the interference of men on women-specific issues.
Everyone on earth should consider being a feminist as there are many reasons. For one, Feminism promotes equality between men and women. This means men and women would be treated equally in all aspects of life. Including in the workplace in terms of pay and opportunity.
Feminism also believes in empowering women to achieve their full potential. This includes ensuring that women have the same rights and opportunities as men and that they are not discriminated against in any way.
Finally, Feminism would benefit society. If men and women were equal, it would lead to a more just and equitable society. There would be less violence and fewer sexual harassment and assault cases, and overall, people would be happier and more fulfilled.