Waves of Feminism

By Anabel Ventura

What is feminism?

To start off, feminism has nothing to do with hating men. It is simply the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, including equal pay and the right to vote. Men seem to think that independent women who can take care of themselves don’t like them and see them as a threat, but this is not the case. Self-love is not equivalent to man-hating.

Men can be feminists too… But we need to address the fact that society is seriously messed up.  Here is what happens when men versus women say when they are feminists:

Men are praised for being feminists, but women are criticized. Men were, for some reason, since the beginning of time, seen as more superior than women. According to society and my experience in everyday life, men are stronger and smarter, while women are weak and submissive. These stereotypes really do exist. And since women are” submissive”, when a woman is sexually assaulted, the first thought that pops into peoples’ minds is “What was she wearing?” because a woman is supposed to cover up and be modest, but the moment she shows and inkling of confidence or individuality and decides to show some skin, she is belittled and often infantilized.

But, moving on…

The first wave of Feminism occurred in the eighteenth century and focused on suffrage and the rights of women. Mostly white women participated. One of the first and most famous feminist texts is Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women, which describes many of the things that are wrong with a world that won’t acknowledge the rights of women. Wollstonecraft questions the absence of women in the constitution. The words “natural rights of mankind” are meant to involve women and men, but in everyday life during Wollstonecraft’s time, women were only expected be “confined to domestic concerns.” This means that the chances of women getting equal education opportunities as men were very limited.

“Do you not act a similar part when you force all women, by denying them civil and political rights, and to remain immured in their families groping in the dark? …But, if women are to be excluded, without having a voice, from participation of the natural rights of mankind, prove first, to ward off the charge of injustice and inconsistency, that they want reason—else this flaw in your NEW CONSTITUTION will ever show that man must, in some shape, act like a tyrant, and tyranny, in whatever part of society it rears its brazen front, will ever undermine morality” (Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women)

Wollstonecraft compares men to tyrants, and then, to weak kings and fathers. She goes on to explain that these men, like the tyrants, are shamelessly weakening morality.  Who decided that men were in charge or superior to women, and why do they get to make decisions for us? Wollstonecraft also mentions that women are left “groping in the dark”,  so they remain unenlightened. All they know is housework and are left to fend for themselves and their children. It’s like they’re being held captive in their marriages.

The second wave of feminism happened from the 1960s until the 1980s and was dedicated to reproductive rights and sexuality. More women of color were able to voice their opinions this time around. The second wave of feminism was for women of color to explore how they saw feminism personally, and how they identified with it while being from more than one country and/or being an immigrant. There was a difference between race, class, and privilege.

The third wave of feminism began in the 1990s continues to present day 2017. It is where we are right now. Third wave feminism emphasizes the importance of accepting different women, as well as queer theory and specific gender politics. Gender and expectations about gender are a social construct. Everything is a social construct. It is genuinely shocking to see how backward the world is after all of these years. While I was growing up I thought we were making progress because I saw some women in a position of power, but now I see that it’s different. It’s not what I thought. It’s like we’re living in the 1950s or something. Women are losing their right to have abortions. The Women’s March took place on January 21, 2017. Millions of women, who were joined by supporting men, gathered to protest and march for women’s rights, reproductive rights, immigration rights, racial equality and LGBT rights. Women who protested during the second wave found themselves protesting once again:

It was also a march to protest Donald Trump becoming the president of the United States. Waking up to the news that he became President made me feel like I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Sometimes I still feel that way… There is also the issue of dealing with women being assaulted. If the president of a country says, “Grab her by the pu**y”, people (who obviously have no common sense) will follow suit and continue to assault women. A president is supposed to be a leader and promoter of a model citizen, not a groper/rapist. Women’s rights are a joke to this man-child and his supporters.

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