Very sensitive, the subject of feminism to me. Mostly because it's so misunderstood, when in fact it was founded as a means to achieve basic citizenship rights, though the name hardly did it justice.
Cara gives an overview of the book:
"I find it poor logic to say that women should vote because they are good. Men do not vote because they are good; they vote because they are male, and women should vote, not because we are angels and men are animals, but because we are human beings and citizens of this country."
Jo March, Little Women
I doubt that Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony had the radical bra-burning parties of 1960s feminists in mind when they became the face for women's suffrage nearly two centuries ago.
But good lord, if these great women saw the pop shots taken at the scantily-clad women dancers of gangster rap videos, or pre-teen girls hailing the wanton Paris Hilton as their role model, they'd be gravely displeased at how life for the modern woman has taken a beating since the once-roaring ideals of American feminism have virtually vanished from our society.
If you look up the word "feminist" in Webster's Dictionary, you'll see it is defined as "the principle that women should have political, economic and social rights equal to those of men." So, with a principle as sensible as this, just how did feminism get the bad rap it has today?
In this definition there's no hint of anti-male sentiments typically associated with the term, as much as it is equally associated with liberal agendas pushed by the far left.
The world doesn't need any more anti-sentiments between the two sexes. What's lacking in the world today is understanding for things that have too long been misunderstood due to lack of knowledge and respect for their real truth.
Feminism, to many, is an outdated concept, and most of this has to do with people simply not knowing what a feminist is. Many comprehend feminism as women harboring resentment toward men, or women who don't believe in social roles traditionally assigned to women as mothers, wives or nurturers.
It's because of this misconception, feminist leader Gloria Steinem said in an interview with Ms. Magazine, that most women today feel ambivalence toward feminism. Steinem said this is partly because they don't understand what it means to be a feminist, or they do understand and don't agree with the ideas. They may also believe in feminist values, but fear the punishment it will bring them for having such beliefs.
And their fear is understandable for two reasons: First is the misguided association of feminist values with those of secular minority groups that didn't even exist when feminism became a social movement. These typically include ultra liberal, pro-life, pro-gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender groups, and even groups who advocate things like affirmative action. Second, the right wing has spent the last dozen years lumping these labeled "minority groups"-feminism included-into one gigantic group that's threatening to disarm traditional society values.
The truth is it isn't so much that our values have changed, but social roles certainly have. The entry of women into the workplace has affected gender roles within households, and some men argue that this breakdown of the family unit where males are primary providers limits their ability to attract mates. And because of society expectations, men cannot fully devote themselves to the domestic activities traditionally done by women.
To be fair, I put the right wing's so-called "anti-feminism" logic to the test by taking Webster's definition and putting it into opposite terms: the principal that women shouldn't have political, economic and social rights equal to those of men. In other words, women may not vote, hold jobs outside their home, earn an income to provide for themselves and their families, or pursue professions traditionally occupied by men.
This logic doesn't seem to fit the world we live in now, in most respects. That may have been a different story 30 or 40 years ago. It would appear that perhaps along with certain society roles, our views have changed somewhat despite getting oppositions, most of which, are coming from the right wing.
But feminism isn't about pointing fingers at who's to blame for the injustices done women over the centuries. Feminism, to me, is just a name our society gave to women stepping up to fight for what was rightfully theirs all along.
The original feminists did it right, and thanks to their brave actions, there's nothing politically incorrect about feminism today.
Printed Jan. 11, 2007 Cheney Free Press
I'm Northwest born, raised and educated. I grew up with an instilled love of the written word, published my first poem at 12, newspaper story at 16 and haven't stopped since.
I graduated college with an English BA, was hired by a small paper in my college town, where I...
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