Monday, October 25, 2010

Why there needs to be Feminists

I am very proud that I am a feminist and will bring up this role in any conversation...not that I could really hide it stuff about gender just seems to spew out of me. I am sure that there still needs to be feminists and that the struggle is not over, but I have learned other people are not so sure. For one, many people find the term feminism confusing...but that is a different blog post. I want to talk about this idea that we don't need feminists anymore. I am sure I'm not they only one who has been told this and every time I do I feel the inner debater break through. I normally spew off the same reasons: the pay gap and glass ceiling, over sexualization of women, how some insurance companies will pay for Viagra and not birth control...the normal stuff. Sometimes I might include my own life experiences, how on my date this weekend the guy I was with just assumed that he would cover the dinner bill. Even after I offered, and then debated with him that I should pay for myself. While free dinner is not harmful to me, it is ideas behind it.
There is still real problems with gender equality in our county, other than men buying me dinner. I was doing an interview today for my research project, I asked my interviewee if they thought that there was still sexism even though women can be economic equals to men. She told me a story about a wedding she recently attended where the vows included that the husband would be the head of the household, the wife was to be loyal and obey to her husband...and all that jazz. How can we not need feminists and feminism if in this country, and in this state, women are still being married off as inferior? There are more, of what I would consider, horror stories of women still being expected to be subservient to men, and it is not just that they are expected to bake cookies. Women still are not seen as equal.
There are plenty of revolts against women's rights and equality, which in a way is a good sign, we've won enough that people are getting upset, but that means we need to keep fighting. What is gained can easily be lost again. If we don't watch out and just stop being a feminist and stop caring about sexism, we could be back to a society where it is more than ok to beat your wife, but expected. Where women's value is only in the children she has.

I would love to hear other's stories about why we still need feminism...or maybe why I'm wrong and we don't.


  1. I liked this post quite a bit. I, myself, am in between about the whole idea of feminism. I agree and disagree with idea of feminism to a certain extent of each. I don't believe that this is something (along with a plethora of other debated issues) where there is such a thing as right or wrong for it's all a matter of opinion, which everyone is entitled to. The main difference is whether or not you can acknowledge and accept the opposing view even if you don't agree with it in the slightest.

    I fully agree that there's still an immense amount of sexism and discrimination within today's society, even completely disregarding the economical aspect. I agree that it's not fair at all. What I DON'T agree with, however, is the extreme feminists. I'm sure you know what I mean. Those who blame most of the world's problems on men and are out to destroy men because of it. I feel that it's kind of a scapegoat because women can, and have, caused just as many problems as men have. I don't believe that everything should be blamed on one gender alone. Maybe they don't realize that they're being sexist themselves.

    A lot of your points are very agreeable because they're true and hard to disagree with. While the pay gap isn't what it once was, it still exists. The over-sexualization of the female form is quite obvious but it's still getting worse and worse because censorship is getting more lenient in a way. The best example of that is the fact that children's shows now are much more 'advanced', if you will, than the shows we used to watch on the same channels back in middle school.

    I personally think that the idea of feminism, and having feminists, is a good idea, and probably will be until things even out somewhat in terms of equality. I don't think that I should be taken to the extreme though. I don't think that the ideology should pushed upon others because it's their OPINION of how things should be. I completely disagree with that and it's why feminists are degraded, more or less. It's kind of like the whole association with all religious people being Bible thumpers, which is another story in itself.

  2. So in the spirit of full-disclosure and admitting bias, I also self-identify as a feminist. It's maybe not the first thing I bring up ("Hi, nice to meet you too! I'M A FEMINIST.") but it's never been something I've hidden.

    An interesting idea, that society could be weaned off of feminists, that at some unidentified point in the future all feminist goals would have been realized and no more feminists are necessary. Or that we've reached a tipping point in that positive direction, so that no one needs to claim a feminist identity outright.

    I am not so optimistic as to support either of those statements... some of the most useful lessons I took away from an Elmira education were those that reminded me of how far we've come and how far we've yet to go with all those -isms and stereotypes. Dude, those feminists, all blaming men and stuff, pushing their ideologies on others!

    Ha. Is tolerance an ideology? 'Cause I'll own it, if so.

    I could wish, perhaps, for a world in which we didn't find a need for feminists because it was a universally applied label -- that everyone was paid equal wages for equal work, and that everyone all over the gender spectrum was sexually healthy in their own definition and not sexualized and othered.

    But I think that feminists will be eternally necessary, because we need to hold each other accountable for our words and our actions. And so it helps to have those critical thinkers and compassionate social actors, who will call our friends out on their unconscious crap and expect the same of their friends to catch their accidental intolerances, rather than allow fellow commenters to get away with insinuating that there's a small army of theoretical-man-destroyers who are at least as bad as the large army of actual-woman-destroyers.