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Feminism: It’s Not as Controversial as You Think

By Ashley Racers

For decades people have been shying away from the word ‘Feminism’, but now we see it coming up more and more. People are less likely to be berated and put down for labelling themselves a feminist, and the importance of feminist beliefs are finally being recognised. However, there are still people around the globe who refuse to accept feminism as what it is: the promotion of women's rights based on the equality of the sexes.

Feminist Suffrage Parade in New York City,1912 (Public Domain)

The concept of feminism however, truly began in the late nineteenth century in Western Europe and North America. At this time women lacked the right to vote and were seen as inferior to men. Throughout the late nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, women fought for legal rights, mostly their right to vote, and feminism was born. This battle for legal rights was defined as first wave feminism, and in 1919 the hard work and union of these women paid off, and females were granted the right to vote in North America and some European countries.

This first wave of feminism inspired women for generations to stand up for themselves and their sex. These empowered women created a concept that would sweep society, affecting people everywhere. What was accomplished back in 1919 has carried on for a century and has evolved into a movement that has changed the world. Feminism has brought women suffrage, more equitable pay with men and countless other benefits, but most importantly, feminism has earned women respect. Although there are still plenty of places and situations where women are not respected, proving that there is still a lot of work to be done.

Articles by and photo of Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1916. Atlanta Constitution, page 4. Publish on December 10, 1916. Public Domain

Feminism established women as equal to men and as a result, women earned the respect they deserve through equality. But how does feminism affect us today? Well, if we look back through history, feminism has led to a lot of big changes, and without it, we would live in a very different world. Firstly, women wouldn’t have equal access to education, meaning there would be fewer job opportunities and there would be next to no women in positions of power. Women would also have no right to file a divorce against their partner, and access to contraceptives and abortions would be non-existent. These examples are just some of the thousands.

So, after being aware of all the changes feminism has made to advance society, and all the good things it has brought why are so many against feminism? While sure there are some who don’t believe in equality between the sexes but the main reason people don’t like feminism is because they misunderstand it. Feminists are often confused with misandrists: people who hate men or believe women to be the superior sex. Feminists are also viewed as unfeminine, aggressive, lesbian and many other negative stereotypes. This misconception has led people to believe that feminists hate men when in reality, a feminist’s view of men is completely irrelevant. A real feminist, regardless of their opinion of the sexes, believes everyone to be equal, and that is the mission that women set out to accomplish a century ago: equality.

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Woke magazine.


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