A word that has caused many arguments and fights but hasn’t made peace with the reality. A definition that has been known for several centuries but still isn’t fully understood and executed in the present. A meaning that touches every single person in this world, yet the one gender knows it inside and out and the other gender mostly wants to apparently be blind to the word.
I still hear the angry shouts that have been screamed and the written words that almost made me throw up. I still hear people asking: ‘why do you care so much about it? Let it go’ or ‘you are so problematic and dramatic, stop it.’ For feminists, it’s hard to imagine people not caring about feminism & equality, right? Why wouldn’t you want equal rights and peace?
Feminism has been in the world for many centuries. You would think, after all these years, we would have accomplished the task of every person being equal to one another? After doing research and using my common sense to think of situations in my & other people’s life, I found (many) reasons why feminism is still necessary in the 21st century and why we cannot forget to strive for equality, every day.
But besides the need of feminism, there is also a misconception about feminism. There is a part of feminism that irritates me every time I think of it. I tried to write that problem down in the best way possible and here is the explanation of this problem & the two sides of it.
Why we still need feminism
As much as we like to believe we are doing a good job at equaling all aspects in our lives (socially, financially, etc.), we are not taught to lie. Right? Yet we do. If you look closely and critically, you will notice many flaws in our system. And it doesn’t matter where you live. Even though much progress has already been made, there is just not that much equality in the world as we like to think there is.
One of the first topics and an important one is the pay gap between male and female. According to research done in 2018, the ratio is around 85/100. Meaning women earn approximately 85% in comparison to what men earn (who the 100 refers to). And then to think we are talking about women in general. It’s said that black or Hispanic women make around 60 cents to every dollar a man receives. If more people read into feminism and these unfair numbers, this pay gap can be reduced to as little as 0% difference and men and women will (finally) earn the same amount of money for the same amount of work. Because how crazy is it to think you would make less money than your male colleague, while you do the exact same work, only because you have different genitals?
As early on as the first people to walk around on this planet, a woman has always been expected to be the person who will take care of the children and the kitchen, when the man is out (in the ‘wild’) to hunt for food or to earn the money. This has been the reality for many, many centuries. While some say that it is ‘tradition’ (whatever that means) or because a certain gender has different talents, it is crazy to think that because of someone’s gender that person is automatically connected to a certain type of job? Prejudices like this are old fashioned and living in the 21th century, we should know better.
Who are people to think it is okay for them to expect women to get married and have children, just because they can? Women are not expecting men to grow 40 inches long beards, just because they can? All jokes aside, we as society have to watch out with our prejudices and realize no person is obliged to do anything with their body, their money or their time. Period.
One thing that always makes me feel so incredibly furious, is when a men is in trial for rape and he uses the excuse that has already been used so often: ‘this women provoked it.’ It doesn’t matter what he says after it. Women. Never. Provoke. What does that even mean? Women who walk around the streets with a sign around their neck saying: ‘Please rape me’? I don’t think so. It is a hot topic, especially now that Alabama has introduced a new abortion law, saying abortion will be forbidden unless the woman is in serious danger, considering her physical health. I can write an entire essay on how that law made me and many others feel (furious, disappointed, confused, sad etc.) but I won’t because that is not the exact point I’m making.
But the thought that a woman provokes sex because of nudity (or however she looks as it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference to a man), just because she is a female (who does what she wants, because she has every right to), is a thought that hopefully will never, ever occur in a person’s head again. But it does and feminism is a solution to this problem. Women are attacked for being too provoking way more often than men and it is unfair. Feminism, take the lead & minimalize these stupid sayings!
Genitals, child brides and marital rape
There are many reasons why feminism is still needed in the 21th century but last but not least, I will discuss 3 topics that are still a thing, mostly in Third World countries.
In 29 countries, it is still allowed to cut off women’s genitals in order to prevent them from having pleasurable sex. Yes you read that right. Cut off women’s genitals. In more than 120 countries, children under 18 are still being given away to a man way older than 20 only to marry and satisfy the man and this is not forbidden. Imagine being a teenage bride and marrying a man at 15 years old! Marital rape, where a husband has sex with his wife without her consent, is also still allowed in over 120 countries and only the idea of being raped by your husband leaves me nauseous. These three things are perhaps hard to imagine if you are living in a country where these acts are crimes but use a little imagination and you will see why we need to change these laws. It is unfair and demolishing to women and we cannot abandon the women who need us. With feminism, men and women over the entire world with all sorts of power can make a change in these countries and unite to make a difference.
I can write a 100-page essay about why we still need feminism, but I think you get the point now. Equality for every breathing person on this earth means respecting every breathing person on this earth and giving them the space to do whatever they want, to say ‘no’ and actually being listened to and giving them the same rights as you do. If people would open their eyes for a moment, look behind their comfort zone and read about the issues we are (still) having, just imagine in what a world we could be living!
The problem with “feminism”
Feminism is a well-known word and a word that has caused a lot of discussion. Still, there is an issue with this word and the meaning behind it that I sometimes cannot wrap my head around. Let’s take a look at the definition of feminism.
The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexesThe definition of feminism
What this definition means? That every person, no matter who they are, are treated equally to their neighbor, sister, father, niece, friend, ex etc. This definition means that it doesn’t matter if a person has a vagina or a penis, they have the right to be paid equally, treated equally and to be given equally as much attention.
Now here comes the problem.
While many people who call themselves feminists believe in equality, there is a group of people who don’t quite understand what they ‘support.’ With being a feminist, they mean:
‘We have to get rid of all the men. Men are the reason for every fault in our system. Let’s eradicate men.’
Now of course, this is exaggerated but hopefully, I made the point clear. It is the thought that not every sex equal, but ‘only the female’. Huh? While these people are said to support equality, they need to (mindfully) think about feminism again.
Yes, men are the reason women couldn’t vote and in some countries still can’t vote. They are the reason women are not believed when they talk about sexual harassment. Yes, men are mostly the group that misbehaves around women and have created the inequality in our world nowadays. But that doesn’t mean we should ban them.
Hating men will not bring us any closer to reaching equality all over the world. Uniting everyone will. Instead of misinterpreting feminism, we should teach others the real problem, namely the mistreatment of women (with horrible, unfair laws, especially in Third World countries, the daily assault women have to face every day etc.) and the unfair balance between male and female.
From Simone de Beauvoir to Emma Watson, feminism has been widely discussed by many over the last decades. The pay gap between men and women, the prejudices a woman has to face (marriage, children etc.), the sexual harassment that is not believed by many because some women ‘provoke’ it and women in Third World countries being treated incredibly unfairly (having genitals cut off, marital rape and child brides still not being forbidden) are just a couple of the reasons why we need feminism in this world, but they are important reasons.
We as a society have to rise above what we have been taught in the past and unite and equalize every human being on this earth with what we are learning and discovering now. But while we’re at it, it’s important not to forget that women and men are equal. Banning and blaming men will not help us get further in the future, it will only hold us from being a better society. This widely misunderstood problem has caused confusion across the globe and has men turning against feminism because they feel attacked and undereducated but if we would just read more into feminism and the unfairness, we could all be living in a better world, starting tomorrow.
Spread this message and inspire & educate others by sharing this article on Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp, wherever you want to share it on and read as much about equality as you can. We will get there & right now, give a smile to a stranger and brighten up someone’s day: ).
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