I've heard the arguments so many times it's become tiring: "We don't need feminism anymore in America." People claiming it's time for feminists to hang up their hats because we've made it. They say the age of equality is here, that there's no room for it in 2019. Think pieces and would-be spokespersons say women in America have reached a point where we can stop struggling against sexism.
And to a point, I do not disagree. Women in America do have more rights and respect than ever before. Scratch that: straight, white women in America have more rights and respect than ever before. There are still plenty of issues needing to be solved for the women of color living in our country, and for the American LGBT+ population.
In addition, who says that just because things in America are going well means that things are going well for all women? What about the rest of the world? What about the girls in one of the 117 countries where child marriage is legal? What about the women in the workplace who can't stick up for themselves because they'll be labeled as the 'angry black woman' by male peers? What about the LGBTQ+ men and women living in countries where it is illegal for them to simply be who they are?
You cannot claim feminism isn't necessary simply because it is no longer necessary for you. The United States has come an incredibly long way from the days of women being unable to own property, and many of the women in this country are in a uniquely powerful position. But we need to use this power to lift up the women who are not experiencing the same level of equality and freedom. The world cannot be done with feminism because sexism is not done with the world.
We can't stop now. We're not in a position to step back, sit on our laurels, and proudly look around at the world and its treatment of women. If we do, we are overlooking an entire generation of girls all across our globe being abused, mistreated, and disrespected. While women in America have been celebrating the right to vote for nearly 100 years, and the Violence Against Women Act has increased protections for minorities, there are still more women outside of America desiring that same freedom. Feminism is just as necessary in our modern world as it always has been.
Feminism is entering a new wave, and we need to welcome it in with open arms. While some may view this wave as the man-hating, free-the-nipple era, what it really is is the age of intersectional feminism, which advocates for the needs of people whose identities intersect multiple minority groups. If our feminism isn't intersectional, then who are we fighting for?
If your idea of equality doesn't include women in other countries, it isn't equality.
if it doesn't include women of color, it isn't equality.
If it doesn't include trans and queer women, it isn't equality.
If your idea of equality doesn't include everyone, it isn't equality.