Why American Feminism Is Hurting Women

Why American Feminism Is Hurting Women

The degradation of the real issues of women.
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Feminism has been alive and well in America since the 1800s, but what was once used as a rallying cry for women to end injustice for themselves and the generations of women to follow, has turned sour.

To me, feminism means enabling women to achieve their dreams, gain access to healthcare, education and equal opportunities. You'd be hard-pressed to find that a majority of Americans are opposed to this. I personally don't know anyone who is, yet feminism is less about those things than it used to be.

Women in the United States have been made soft by the wave of extreme feminism and politically-correct culture. The very word has been tainted for most people. Many men and women would hesitate to call themselves a feminist just because of the negative connotation the movement has earned itself within the last four or five decades.

Today, American women find oppression in "male-oriented" words such as fireman, mailman and, perhaps the most ridiculous one being hymnal (emphasis on the hym), but phrases such as "mother country" are perfectly unbiased. Let us not forget that throughout history, in most of the world's cultures and languages "man" is a reference to the human race. You are only oppressed by the words of another if you allow yourself to be (sticks and stones, if you will).

Any kindness offered by a male (such as holding the door or offering to assist in carrying a heavy item) is seen as inherently sexist. Ladies, most of us have been taught from little on up that it is polite and kind to help people. Don't assume that a man doing you an unnecessary kindness is him looking down on you–instead, assume he values you enough to care about helping you as a person, not as a woman.

Besides, isn't it sexist to assume that the sole reason he is offering a hand is because you are a woman? That brings me to another point. We need to get over the misconception that you can't be sexist to men. Women can be and, in fact, frequently are sexist to men. Always portraying husbands and fathers as bumbling idiots who wouldn't survive without their wives or mothers is very damaging, both to boys and girls. Misogyny should not be met with misandry.

Despite the often anti-male aspect of feminism in America, there has been an increase in anti-female ideology as well. Feminists are in full support of strong women who want to stay single and climb the corporate ladder, as am I. However, they are less supportive of equally strong women who get married and raise families. As a woman who falls in the latter, I have been told on more than one occasion that I have been "brainwashed by the patriarchy" or that I'm "oppressed" by the men in my life, neither of which are true.

Finally, I come to what will probably be the most unpopular opinion in this article, and that is that American feminism is devaluing the fight against rape culture. Let me start by setting the record straight. Rape is a horrible, rampant problem in the U.S. and in the world. Too often women don't report their rape or sexual assault because they are embarrassed or feel unprotected.

Even one case of this is far too many. However, feminism has lessened its impact on this issue by claiming that everything is rape. The dictionary definition of rape is "unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim."

I have heard feminists claim that if both people are drunk and cannot consent, the woman has been raped. Birth is rape of the mother. By looking at you seemingly inappropriately or for too long, someone can rape you with their eyes. And even that in Christianity, Jesus' mother (a virgin) was raped by God (even though the Bible explicitly details her "yes" to Christ's conception).

Claiming that everything is rape devalues the real horrors of rape victims. We should focus as a society on the plight of women who have been raped, sexually assaulted and abused. Unfortunately, there are so many cases like this in the world that there is no reason to make up new ones. American women have been hurt by this newer, more radical wave of feminism which has spread like wildfire. We have grown unaffected by really devastating issues in the world and in our own country because we have been made soft. We have been told that to live as a woman is to be oppressed. I am happy to say this is no longer true for women in America. You are bound to find your sexist, misogynistic people, but they are no longer the majority in the U.S.

I make this plea to the strong women of this country–be feminist for women who suffer from true oppression.

Cover Image Credit: The Chronicles of a Dreamer

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The American Government Is Failing Its Women

Why abortion should be a woman's personal choice and not left up to old, rich men.

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The term "abortion" can make a conversation go south real quick, however, it is a topic worth discussing because it is becoming more and more common and needed each day. When I say the term "abortion", I am not talking about killing babies. I am talking about evicting a ball of cells from a woman's uterus that is unwanted.

According to Dr. Diane Foster in an article titled, Socioeconomic Outcomes of Women Who Receive and Women Who Are Denied Wanted Abortions in the United States, published in March of 2018, nearly half of the many women who seek abortions live below the federal poverty line and three quarters struggle to pay for food and housing, as well as transportation.

When a woman is denied abortion services, the hardships she faces intensify greatly. With the addition of a new baby, public assistance often does not increase enough to provide the amount of assistance actually needed to raise an infant.

In the United States, as well as other countries, the laws surrounding abortion disproportionately affect poor women who cannot afford safe abortions in private clinics. When governments, like America's, become involved in a woman's personal decision, people should become enraged.

When a woman is denied an abortion and is forced to continue with an unwanted pregnancy, aspects of her psychological health become severely disrupted. Denying an abortion promotes a health risk that cannot be ignored.

When a government starts to control an individual's reproductive health, they interfere with human dignity, which requires that individuals are free to make personal decisions without interference from the State.

It is also important to note that abortion is a rare event in an individual's life and is not taken lightly by any woman. The staggering lack of access to safe abortion clinics can and will have dire consequences that affect the entire span of a woman's life. When women are denied this access, dangerous back-alley procedures become more common, which can lead to death.

Compared to 60 years ago, the life you live as a woman is completely different. Being a stay-at-home-mom is becoming less common. Instead, women have fully entered and have begun to take over the workforce.

If abortion were to become fully legalized and accessible, it wouldn't just save women from death, injury, or fear of arrest; it wouldn't just make it possible for women to commit to education and work, as well as freeing them from shotgun marriages and a kid they couldn't afford.

It would change how women view themselves; as mothers by choice, and not by fate. If abortion were to become more accessible to women, even a woman who thinks the term "abortion" is synonymous with "murder" or "killing babies" is still able to make a choice when she decides to keep her pregnancy.

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