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.