We Need To Talk About Feminism
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Politics and Activism

We Need To Talk About Feminism

When did "feminism" become a dirty word?

We Need To Talk About Feminism

Feminism: we’ve all heard about it, but it seems to take on a different meaning to everyone you ask. Many critics say feminism is “men hating.” Others say that they don’t believe in feminism because they don't believe one group’s needs should be prioritized over any other person’s needs. Feminism, by definition, is “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” While this is the proper definition, my favorite is “Feminism: the radical notion that women are people.” This may seem rather extreme, but when you take a minute to truly consider the disadvantages women have to overcome to simply level with their male counterparts, it makes sense. What are these disadvantages?

1. Pay equity.

Women have worked their way into higher paying, highly skilled careers, with women making up 34 percent of lawyers, 37 percent of doctors and 61 percent of marketing analysis positions. Yet, they're still paid less for the same jobs as their male counterparts. One of the most frustrating classes I endured last year justified this by saying that because women had the ability to bear children, they were a risk to their hiring firm and should be paid accordingly. To me, this logic is disgusting, because it rationalized economic discrimination because of the inherent ability to bear children. Women who have no intention of starting a family will be paid less simply because they could if they wanted to. Think about it. It's like a tax for having female anatomy, which is something that simply cannot be changed, unless you choose to undergo the sterilization process.

2. Reproductive rights.

While the whole Planned Parenthood debacle can't be accurately confined to the label “women’s issue,” women represent a large majority of those who would be affected by the loss of federal funding to this organization. Loss of funding would greatly affect the organization and would limit the services they're able to provide. This would mean less access to testing and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, as well as contraception methods. At the heart of this debate is abortion, despite the fact that since Roe v. Wade, a woman’s choice to terminate a pregnancy has been a constitutional right, as it falls within a woman’s zone of privacy. Because of the beliefs of some, women’s reproductive health resources are being attacked in the name of women’s health, which is a disgusting reality.

3. Menstruation.

No one will talk about it, even though it's been common knowledge for nearly everyone since elementary education. The truth is that women bleed monthly. It’s painful, sometimes to the degree that women need to take medication just to function at a normal level. Women need to buy tampons or pads. They're considered a necessity, yet women are taxed on these items as if they're something that women could go without. Many men cannot even say the word "menstruation" without feeling uncomfortable, much less tolerate conversation about it, but they can tax it?

4. Rape culture.

This issue is made of many parts. There’s the issue of consent, and why, no matter how often it's explained, people still do not seem to understand. There is victim blaming. They say she left her drink unattended, she was flirtatious, she was intoxicated, she was dressed immodestly, she has a reputation, she has said yes before, she didn’t say no. But they don’t say that boy raped her. The rationalization of rape or sexual assault is intolerable, yet it happens every day. Just recently, Oklahoma Courts ruled that making an unconscious person perform oral sex is not sexual assault because it was oral and the victim was unconscious from being intoxicated. That is real and horrifying for women (and men) who could find themselves in this position.

The sad part is that those four reasons barely scratch the surface of the challenges women have to overcome just to break even. That being said, do you truly believe that advocacy for women in the name of feminism is so wrong?

In case my opinion is meaningless for invalid to you, here's what some people, of whom you may know, have to say about feminism:

Emma Watson

Joss Whedon

Amy Poehler

Iggy Pop

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

And the queen of feminism herself, Gloria Steinem

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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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