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Modern Perspectives on Feminism

By Inara Hossain

In our modern society feminism has caused many arguments and debates. Before I get into this topic, you should know what the dictionary definition of feminism is.


/ˈfɛmɪnɪz(ə)m/ noun the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. synonyms:the women's movement, the feminist movement, women's liberation, female emancipation, women's rights; More

This is the dictionary definition of the term ‘feminism’, and there are many people that believe in this idea, but don’t identify as feminists for a variety of reasons. Many critiques of the label reason that “modern feminism isn’t what it used to be”, or they just don’t think that is is an “attractive” label due to negative connotations.

Today, we are now in what is called the third wave of feminism. To understand this we need to go back.

The first wave of feminism was about women wanting more equal legal rights: particularly the right to own property and the right to vote. This movement was led by the suffragettes, women who protested for equal voting rights for women, such as Emmeline Pankhurst. They eventually achieved right to vote in 1920 in the US, and in Australia in 1902.

The second wave of feminism came in the 1960s and 1970s. This movement focused on allowing women to use birth control, legalizing abortion and creating anti-sex discrimination laws.

The third wave (which is going on now) is kind of a continuation of the second wave, as many of the changes they wanted were not achieved, but it is also very different. Women now are fighting against gender wage gaps and sexual discrimination, particularly through the recent #MeToo movement, focusing on sexual assault in various industries.

Some people believe that the third wave is also fighting for the emasculation of men. These people think that feminist protest is wrong, such as how many women on a specific day will hold a strike and skip work to show their economic views and protest unfair treatment. This is completely legal, however many only think of the negatives of these situations and imagine the violent attacking of men. These people are thinking of the extreme case of feminism. They believe all feminists are like this. These people believe that to be a feminist you have to be the same and follow a set of rules of which if you don’t fit in, you can’t be a feminist. They believe that third wave feminism isn’t progress.

There are also the people that embrace feminism however, and these people are modern feminists. You may know many famous celebrities that are feminists. One of the most commonly discussed celebrities is Emma Watson. You may remember her powerful UN speech. She was talking about a campaign called ‘he for she’ - not just women, but all people embracing feminism. As she says, “fighting for women's rights has too often become synonymous with man hating.” She also says that feminism has become an unpopular word, which is completely true, for this reason. Now if you are to scroll up within this article you will be reminded of the true definition of feminism. Emma Watson, among with many others says that the idea that feminism is ‘man hating’ is wrong, and has to stop so that we can fight for the equality of both sexes.

In a recent poll taken in the US and released on the 7th of March 2018, Data states that people find others less attractive if they are feminists, with the article surrounding the poll stating “[feminism] it’s a refuge for ugly losers.” This completely takes away from the true meaning of feminism, and the poll pulled out other shocking information.

“1 in 10 British men say they have recently changed their behaviour to avoid being called sexist, but have not changed their attitudes to women”

People seem to scared to be called sexist so instead of changing and and treating women to their equal they just change a little part of their behaviour in the public eye. The survey also found that “40% of people thought feminism had “gone too far,” with 27% thinking it had gone “as far as it should go” and 33% thinking it hadn’t gone far enough.” Many people think feminism has gone over its limit. Here is another piece of text from the article summarising the data “The poll results confirm what we’ve been highlighting for years; 3rd wave feminism is a refuge for ugly people who have trouble attracting partners because they are hideous both inside and out.”

All I can conclude out of this is that feminism has always been a debatable topic and there is no right or wrong. Though for now people seem to be in an endless spiral of who’s right and who's wrong. Nobody has embraced the true meaning of feminism, which is a fight for equality in economy, politics and everyday life for BOTH sexes. I guess that the weird thing with this topic, as in many others, is that both sides are right and neither one is wrong.

You can find out more information about why feminists have gone too far through this link

You can watch Emma Watson’s speech through this link

You can read the article on the poll through this link


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