It seems that these days the word feminism is thrown around like a dirty word. Feminism has a negative connotation that it cannot seem to shake. However, at the core, I believe that the principal idea is bridging the gap between Men’s Rights and Women’s Rights. There are likely hundreds of various definitions and interpretations of what feminism is. I would encourage my classmates to view and learn more information.
The reason why I believe there is a need for feminism is that there is still a significant discrepancy between the privileges/rights of men and women. These discrepancies originated in a society in which gender roles were vastly different. For example, in the 1950’s it was common for the man of the house to be the only one working and it was his responsibility to provide for his family. Because of this and other various sociocultural reasons, men earned a significant amount more than women, were promoted faster, and hired at a much higher rate than women. In modern society, the emphasis on the male being the sole breadwinner has shifted and women comprise of almost half of the workplace. Using this example, it is strange to me that our gender roles have shifted- yet income and career opportunities have lagged behind comparatively. Almost every job I have held, I have made a smaller wage than my male counterparts. Despite being equally qualified and doing the exact same work. I simply cannot wrap my head around this. How can two people, that are alike in every way with exception to their gender, be compensated so differently? What makes my work, as a woman, less valuable?
I need feminism because I cannot walk alone down a street in downtown Minneapolis at night without an uneasy feeling in my stomach. Many of my male friends have the luxury of not fearing for their safety in these kinds of situations. In the United States and worldwide, sexual and physical abuse is more likely to be inflicted on women. If we as a society truly valued men and women alike- would we be treating our women so poorly? While safety cannot always be guaranteed, why should it be a privilege for only some? Am I less deserving of feeling safe as I walk home?
There are many reasons why I as a women, need feminism. I needed a movement, a cause to sink my teeth into and to truly validate my human experience. I need feminism because I will not settle for being treated as less than and denied basic human rights because of my gender. I would encourage you all to reframe your thinking about feminism and think about what it truly means to you- in context with your loved ones. Feminism is not limited to an ideal/philosophy for women. It is for fathers, brothers, husbands. It is for everyone.