The F Word: Feminism to Fem-Nazi?

Cartoons Are Funny, But This Is Not.

I don’t think there is a feminist movement anymore.

We do not need feminism anymore – women can vote; they are CEOs.

I am not a feminist, but…

Bunch of bra burning dykes.

These are common phrases heard by men and women in our society. The last one is from my boyfriend. Women appreciate what past feminist have done for them, but they are still afraid to be associated as one. Men claim that the feminist did not want equality; they wanted to be the dominant sex. Other men claim that women have equality now (hello wage gap?). Then there are others who think feminist are the women who are the rejects.

This simplistic view on feminism is a demonization of the true goals and progress of the movement. Feminism took hold in the United States with the African American suffrage movement. After the 19th amendment was ratified, there was a significant disappointment among Blacks with their women counterparts in the fight for equality.

There exists some vast differences in the beliefs and values of the feminist from Betty Freidan’s era of the 1960s and the young feminists today. For example the older generation of feminist do not support any rights and unionizations of current sex workers because they deem sex work as harmful and contrary to women’s rights.

Our Patriarchal Bargains.
Feminism, the movement and theory, are absolutely relevant today. The obstacles and barriers torn by the older feminist were landmarks and remarkable. It saved so many of us younger woman today. They initiated sexual harassment policies (when the concept did not even exist). They promoted the control over women’s bodies and reproductive rights. They advocated for autonomy in the health sphere of female patients. They said that domestic violence was not a normal occurrence in relationships. They brought forth issues economic and social equality.

The Feminist theories for non-white women highlighted issues that pertain to minority women. A notion formed that gender is linked to class and race. While white woman fought for attaining jobs with their college degrees, woman of color fought to decolonize their bodies and gain access to academia. Native American women on the reservations talked about lack of health care on the reservation and the prevalent drug usage. Women from Asia discussed their culture of familial values in the context of American society. Feminism does not exist in a vacuum, it was defined differently to different groups at different times.

Patriarchy has historically challenged women based on biological difference. Because that is how power works. There are certainly laws against sexual and gender discrimination, but much of the policing of bodies still occurs in our society. Women still do not have equal access to public space nor work space. Many issues of power are still relevant. Issues of class and race also intersect with feminist critique.

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