3 Reasons Why Feminism Is Still Important

3 Reasons Why Feminism Is Still Important

Pick up the torch for feminism.
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Many people in today’s society view feminism as either a one-sided issue or as a movement that has become completely irrelevant. But feminism, a movement for equality between men and women, is a movement still much alive. It is important to advocate for feminism because the stigma that surrounds it is enough to prove its importance: many women are afraid to identify as feminists because the idea exists that feminists are extremists who hope to claim control over the other sex. Such outlandish and false perceptions of the movement further discourage young women from this new wave of feminism despite the many current situations that put them in opposition. Here are just a few reasons why the stigma towards feminism is distorted and why women should take interest in the heart of feminist issues plagued by today’s societal and political circumstances.

1. Donald Trump is President.

Other than the well-known repulsive comments President Trump has made towards women, boasts of sexual assaults and blatant prejudice towards women, he also stands as an unfortunately promising step back for women’s rights. For instance, Trump’s push for defunding Planned Parenthood. He acknowledged the fact that the agency helps women suffering from breast and cervical cancer but finds their support for abortion so sickening that he wishes to end federal funding for the agency despite the acknowledgment that it beneficially aids the health of millions of women. The fact that Trump is fighting so hard to reset a milestone in the history of women’s rights, the right to choose, is a wakeup call to the country. We cannot allow rights, such as this, to be stripped from us. Furthermore, Trump also encourages appearance-based discrimination; he often asserts that a woman’s body is an indicator of her success or her potential to succeed: the younger and more socially accepted a woman’s features are determines her worth according to Trump’s philosophy. This is important to bring up because, as President, Trump should be viewed at a higher standard- a role model to the youth of this country and a representation of our country’s beliefs and values.

So I ask you this- Do you want young women to look up to Donald Trump and think it is okay for men to view and treat them in such sexist ways, or for young men to be encouraged to hold gender biases?

2. The Gender Pay Gap.

2017 economic reports reveal that, on average, women make $0.80 for every $1 men make. This 20% pay gap results in many women getting underpaid by thousands in their annual salaries as well as being undervalued in their work. Rate of pay is worsened by ethnicity, race, and even motherhood. Of course this pay gap isn’t a new thing, and we’ve been working very progressively to end it since the 1980s. But, statistics show that the progress to close the pay gap has diminished greatly in the last decade. This topic has not been brought to attention as heavily in politics as it was in the 80s and 90s. As a result, Congress has been relatively uninvolved with the issue as of late. This is why it is important for women in the workplace to advocate for the closing of the gender pay gap. With no immediate government interference predicted to end the financial injustice, it is important for women to band together in their journey towards achieving an unprejudiced work environment with equal pay.

3. The Beauty Industry

The beauty industry is a multi billion-dollar industry that often presents misleading advertisements or unrealistic results to encourage-and even feed off of individuals’ insecurities in the hopes of gaining more customers. By condemning certain socially undesirable, physical qualities, companies can inspire people to go out and buy products that promise to reduce or eliminate certain features. By targeting customers through their insecurities, the beauty industry is indirectly further encouraging the general media’s push towards creating ideal, yet unrealistic, beauty standards. This results in many young women feeling unsatisfied with their natural appearances, often stripping them of their self-confidence. Thus, it is important for women to not feel forced to comply with these drastic and unattainable expectations of beauty. Instead, women should be taught and encouraged to love themselves for who they are, not to idolize intangible appearances glorified by a corrupt industry.

Cover Image Credit: Richmond Standard

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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