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What Is Feminism?

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We are in the 21st century and as much as many people believe we are striving for equality in the U.S, the fact is that we are not even close to that. In today’s society, feminists are widely misinterpreted and misunderstood and feminism has a bad reputation, although not everything you hear about them could be true.

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If you are reading this article, consider yourself lucky as we tell you everything, you’d want to know about feminism that will clear your mind.

So, what exactly is feminism?

feminism

Feminism can be defined as an economical, social, and political movement which is aimed at establishing legal protection and equal rights of sexes. It is not a superiority movement, but it aims at providing equal opportunities to all people without favor. Today, you’ll be surprised to know that some people still take the feminist movement as a joke and something that’s not important at all. Well, the problem could be the lack of proper information for them to really understand some of the problems facing society based on equality and gender roles.

The feminist movement is all about equality keeping in mind that men and women were born equal. Women are somehow neglected and looked down upon, but the fact is that a woman is capable of leading a successful life just like a man and she should be treated as an independent person in any work environment. In addition, feminism does not attack other individuals based on their opinions and beliefs, and neither is it about women being better than men, it is all about equality.

A woman’s body is her own and she should have every right to choose what happens to it without any external influences. For instance, gender equality should not force a woman to breastfeed her kid when she doesn’t feel like it, just because there’s an organization emphasizing how healthy it is to breastfeed a baby. Gender equality is letting a woman stand independently and make decisions for herself.

History of feminism

History of feminism constitutes the narratives of movements aimed at equal rights for women. Even though feminists across the world differ in intentions, goals, and causes depending on culture, time and country, any movement that fights for the rights of women is considered as feminist movements. Modern Western feminist history can be split into three waves as follows;

  • First-wave feminism (19th and early 20th century) – The focus of this wave was to overturn legal inequalities especially battling for women’s suffrage
  • Second-wave feminism (the 1960s to 1980s) – This wave focused on improving upon gender norms, cultural inequalities as well as the roles of women in the society
  • Third-wave feminism (the 1990s to 2000s) – The objective of the third wave was to take over from the second wave and respond on the perceived failures to ensure that the goals of the movement are achieved

Types of feminism

1. Liberal feminism

Liberal feminism encourages equality between sexes through political and social reforms as well as legal means. A liberal feminist advocates the importance of an individual to stand independently and believes that a woman is not less a man and can have the rights she deserves. This means that liberal feminism fight for equal pay for both female and male employees, abortion rights, voting rights, healthcare, and educational rights among others.

2. Radical feminism

Radical is a Latin word meaning ‘root’ and for that case, radical feminism considers that male-dominated patriarchy (hierarchy) is responsible for the oppression of women today. The only way to achieve equality between women and men is going back to the ‘root’ and making changes in the hierarchy.

3. Cultural feminism

Cultural feminism advocates the need to have a woman figure in society. It believes that women have special qualities that are superior to those found in men. These qualities are more of a cultural and psychological nature than biological and cultural feminists have strong beliefs that if only the female essence was to be celebrated in the male-dominated world, we would achieve the right balance in the society.

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4. Ecofeminism

Eco-feminism comes from the words ecology and feminism and symbolizes the relationship between women oppression and environmental destruction. Ecofeminism is spiritual and philosophical in nature and believes that environmental destruction and oppression of women are related to one another. This theory states that just like men take control of the environment and destroy it for their own pleasure and benefits, the same way they control and oppress women for the same reasons.

5. Black feminism

According to black feminist theory, gender discrimination and racism are one and the same and if only people could stop oppressing black women, equality for everyone could be achieved. Black feminism also believes that liberating black women is liberating all women.

Bottom line

Equality can never exist in a society where males think and feel their importance and neglect women, and neither does it exist in an environment where men feel they are superior to women, be it at the workplace, in driving, in decision making, handling finances or even handling a country.

In the same way, feminism doesn’t exist where women think and feel like they are superior to men. Feminism encourages complete equality between men and women and there should be no social pyramid or hierarchy.

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