The word « feminist » hardly associates with the gender equality’s cause

by perrinebrds on March 11, 2015 - 9:12am

The word « feminism » still today widely used however has been through many period and corresponds nowadays to a really different reality than the one during which it appeared. Firstly because both of the awareness among the women’s place in society and its defense increased, took other dimensions, women acquiring gradually more rights and recognitions.

If the word took its origins in nineteenth century, it will get closer to the sense we know today at the beginning of the twentieth century being more and more materialized by movements and meetings. In the American media this mutation has been specifically obvious when the word hardly ever used in 1910, was everywhere in 1913. It became step by step a mainstream expression pointed out in events that were trying to make things change for the women’s rights. But as we less know, the term also has medical roots as it was one time used to qualify the pathological feminization of certain male patients.

The definition of the word, of course at different intensity of scales, takes many faces and remains to many different personalities and ideas: from the suffragists in early twenties who wanted to obtain the right to vote in the U.S, to the radical feminists who considered themselves not as women-being and would like to settle the supremacy of the women among men, but also as we know it as the “third wave” in the 70’s that turned more focusing on the ability for women to dispose of their own body -right of abortion is an example. Looking back, the fight to reach equal rights between men and women is today  one of the most turbulent one but the word that partly represent it –feminism- remains not especially to a really positive idea. In fact it seems that it has suffered from its evolution and the different events it has been through as if it were a bit deteriorated. Indeed in today media or in society in general, it always seems to be connected to the most radical point of views that compose it.

Moreover that with the social fact that some specific claims do only concern women (right of abortion for example) it seems to have blew away the role that men have to play in the affirmation of those claims and simply seemed to have exclude them of the debate. Yet this should be a concern of every human being. Especially that a so wide-spread and known term could used his notoriety to symbolize the important idea of the fight for an increasing gender equality and to endorse this powerful message (the most radical feminist even without knowing it also do agree because to reach the supremacy of women, a in-between equally state between women and men must take place!).

A last campaign called HeforShe that the organization UN Women set up and that defines itself as « a solidarity movement for gender equality that engages men and boys as advocates and stakeholders, to break the silence, raise their voices and take action for the achievement of gender equality » seems wanting to embrace this idea. This initiative promises a lot a positive feedback when its mission was somehow made to refocus on the meaning behind the term “feminist” that every person who want to support equal rights between men and women should be conscious she or he is a feminist. Men’s role in this fight is thereby reaffirmed and is giving them a new credibility to affirm their support to make taken for granted ideas evolve.

This initiative is symbolic on the new way that should take the fight to tend to more equality between genders, as we should be aware of the terms that are used around us especially in the media and theoretical writing. Indeed we can put behind a word many ideas that can also be negative sometimes, or representing a minority that finally hiding most important and organic messages. 

Comments

I feel like feminism's premise is still as valid as it was 90 years ago, but I feel like the face of the movement has lost its integrity and legitimacy. As a girl myself, I feel like slacktivists on outlets such as tumblr have misinterpreted the values of the movement and have become a self-entitled bunch of children wanting more inclusiveness for themselves. The battle at this point does not lie in politics as much as it does in the social hive mind. Women are underpaid, seen as less credible and are portrayed as less persuasive. It should be the goal of women to somewhat "disprove" society of this and to persuade them otherwise. Figures show that women do better than men in academics and the tide is somewhat beginning to change, but I feel like social media is degrading the movement.

On top of this, several groups are hijacking the face of the movement to promote their agendas. One of these groups is growing and gaining more traction and it's fat activists. According to them, the social norms of society are distorted and fat people should not be discriminated against in everyday life. It's just one of the many example who are desecrating the movement.

With that said, I'll say that feminism isn't as important in modern times compared to the goliath it was before. Many times, supporters of the "feminist" movement will use it as an excuse to impede on men's rights and I feel like thats a shame, since there are many issues unaddressed in the media that regard men. The main one would be the dismissal of reports of rape by men. Authorities will simply shrug it off and sometimes even ridicule the person for bringing attention to the event.

To conclude, I would say that we should be careful about the causes we fight for and the groups we associate ourselves to. The general public should also avoid shunning the men's rights movement as there are legitimate issues that need to be addressed by society.

You also chose a very interesting topic and very current one at it. In examining the implactions of the word “feminism” you do not only provide a good historical overview on how the word and its meaning have evolved but also give us your nation about what modern feminism should be about. Expect for some grammatical problems, that sometimes make it hard to get the point you want to get across, there is one more thing I would like to criticize. Maybe it is just me, but I disagree with your insinuation that radical feminists seek female dominance of men. I think they aim for true equality but perhaps with different means. Or maybe I have just yet to hear or encounter the kind of feminists you described.