Feminism Isn't Radical, It's Necessary
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Politics and Activism

Feminism Isn't Radical, It's Necessary

Feminism is simply the political, social, and economic equality of the sexes.

Feminism Isn't Radical, It's Necessary

Ever since I first learned what feminism meant, I have considered myself a feminist. It was not until I heard someone say “feminism is radical”, that I realized that some people do not support feminism. I was utterly shocked because feminism is simply the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. How could equality of men and women be radical, if we live in a country based on the idea of freedom? Before someone who is reading this believes I am bashing the United States, I want to state right now that I am not. Feminism is a global solution to a global problem, with every nation facing different extremes. A country like the United States will portray that we have equality, when in fact it is obvious that we do not. While, other countries across the globe also portray equality without having equality. But, their need for feminism is also motivated by honor killings, sex trafficking, arranged marriages, and the "leftover women" stigma. Despite those differences, all the nations have similarities: these issues are targeted towards a woman, not men. Women have been fighting for over a century for women’s right issues and we have made significant strides. The suffrage movement resulted in the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote, making the first step of many towards equality. The feminist movement resulted in issues such as domestic violence, rape, and birth control to become a national discussion. Roe vs Wade made history when it legalized abortion, preventing thousands of more women from dying due to illegal abortions. Now you may ask yourself, why do we still need feminism? Well, despite all the historic changes, we still have a long way to go until we have equality. Furthermore, states such as Texas are trying to reverse Roe vs Wade, restricting a women’s right to choice. Regardless of one’s personal belief on abortion, we all can agree that such restrictive measures are not put on men. They do not have to fight to receive contraception and they have not been held accountable like a woman is for an unwanted pregnancy. The saying “it takes two to tango” is the appropriate way of saying it takes two people to create a child, but only one person will be held accountable if both people do not want to bring said child into the world.

The lack of opportunity and gender pay gap showcases that we have a long way to go until we receive full equality. Women still have to fight to join certain male-dominated professions, not due to lack of intelligence or qualifications, but because of their gender.The percentage of women in science, politics, and leadership positions is low compared to the percentage of men. This is not a representation of the qualifications nor capabilities, it is a representation of the lack of opportunities available for women. Young girls grow up seeing very limited female role models in those professions and they are discouraged. They are told throughout their lives that it is a "boy thing" or that they would not succeed because they are a female. LGBTQ and minority women have an even smaller margin of opportunity, despite their capabilities and qualifications. In the year, 2016 women still earn less than men for the exact same profession. Women will earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns for the same profession. Black women will earn 69 cents for every dollar a man earns. A Latina women will earn 57 cents for every dollar men earns. There is no reasonable explanation for this evident pay gap, except sexism. Women are just as, if not more capable than a man in a certain profession, and it sets a bad precedent. In this age of technological, science, and medical advancements with brilliant women behind them, there is no justification for a pay gap.

Women learn from a young age that being objectified is something you have to “deal with”. The idea of cat calling is so incredibly degrading, but yet it still occurs every single day. My first experience with cat calling was when I was 12. It was a hot summer day and I wore shorts because that is what one does on a hot summer day. As my mom and I were walking down the street, these two grown men cat-called me. I did not understand why they would be doing that, but my mother told me that sometimes that is how people behave. Girls are taught to never walk alone at night because some creep may follow you or worse. They are told throughout school that their clothes can be “distracted”, even though the boys can wear shorts and no sleeve shirts. Thus, rape culture is derived from these twisted viewpoints that have become social norms. Treating a women's body as an object that causes "distractions" does not showcase that a woman is a person. Young girls looking into colleges have to do extensive research on if a college has a high rape percentage and if they hide it. While males typically do not have to take the possibly of being raped into account when they were considering colleges. When girls do pick a university and if they are raped, the schools often do not take it seriously. The university will ask the girls what they were wearing, if they gave the guy the wrong impression, or straight out say they are lying. The percentage of false rape reports are the same percentages as those false reports of home invasions and robberies. But yet, women are often told that when they say they were raped that they are lying, or that it was their fault. According to a recent sexual assault crisis center statistic, 1 in 5 women attending university will experience attempted or completed sexual assault. Of that statistic, 9 out of 10 women knew their attacker, with universities more likely to kick out students due to cheating that sexual assault.

Professional sexism degrades women, no matter if it the women who are an assistant or women who are CEO's of fortune 500 company. We have seen time and time again a female reporter being “shushed” by a man, either because he did not like the question or that he wants to talk. But, we rarely ever see a man “shush” another man, in fact, they often just talk over one another to get points across. We have heard stories of women who are told to wear heels because it is "professional", but yet it is not required by their male colleagues. Women who hold power are often judged by how they look or what they are wearing. Media will discuss a man’s views and beliefs while they will discuss a woman’s outfit and her hairstyle. This belittles those women who hold power because they are treating her like an object. Despite the fact that the woman may even hold more power than the man. Media representation of women dictates how the young girls view themselves and other women. The “female” channels on television showcase women fighting, women on dating shows, and women being put down for their weight. While the “guys” channels showcase sports, action heroes, the brilliant scientist, or the playboy. Showcasing that a man can be multi-dimensional, but a woman can only be depicted by limited stereotypes. Movies and television shows rarely decide to have a female protagonist, and if they do it somehow always is centered on a man. Women are so much more than finding love, and that does not mean they do not believe in love. It means that they just like men can have a love life, but they have a story behind who they are and what they believe in. Media is such a vital part of how we form opinions and beliefs, and they are portraying women in a narrow viewpoint. We need to show that just like men, women are multi-dimensional giving young girls a broader image of their role models.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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