Many topics are surrounded by a heated discussion. One of them is well-known for everybody as its importance is more and more raised nowadays. Without a doubt, it is feminism with all its cause-effect relations. The most important questions about the issue are “Why?” and “What’s next?” which are considered to be most typical. Walby begins her introduction to the book with the words “Feminism is not dead. This is not a post feminist era. Feminism is still vibrant despite declaration that it is over.” (1) Judging from the mentioned above, feminism is not even relevant, but remains a pivotal question in our “open-minded” society.
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Talking about the feminism, it is very important to know the definition of this word. Originally it meant nothing but relating to the female features. It is obvious that now we have another definition of the word. Many people perceive this word as a contradiction of interests. This problem may be visualized with the help of a road. Men are on the sidewalk, women are on the road. This may sound a little bit hilarious, but, to my mind, it describes the problem in the most vivid sense. With hindsight, feminism was and still is a theory that dealt with gender inequality, and therefore, was striving for extracting those deep-rooted benefits for men. Thompson states, that “Feminism originated with women’s experience, women’s discontent, women’s outrage at the confidence tricks perpetrated to keep us subservient, women’s sense of betrayal at being excluded from all kinds of rights, benefits and privileges.” (65) Without a doubt, time goes by, but definition and the reason for feminist’s movement are the same.
Feminism began its history long time ago. Participants of the movement tried to go to great length just to prove their points of view. Nowadays we have the same problem and the same questions. People are still talking about gender inequality and dominant role of males in society. Therefore, it is very hard to say that the question about feminism has gone. How can some individuals say that there is nothing to speak about it, as actually this question arises in all countries, even in the most developed and powerful? That is why feminism is still alive, even how hard politicians try to prove another point. They try to show that are aware of the fact of inequality, but they cannot influence all spheres of life. They are trying to do that on the state level, in all state institutions, but if to subject it to the close scrutiny, one may find stunning results. Men are usually superior, even if to take the proportion of men and women in any state institution. Even in government website this may be easily proved
“While the partisan composition of the Congress is fairly close to that of the electorate, there are larger disparities between the Congress and the general citizenry in term of sex and race. In the House, there are currently 362 men and 76 women. In the Senate, there are 17 women and 83 men.”
Second, another subtopic of the problem is salary. Women earn less in comparison to men. Everybody knows the statistics that females earn 75 cents for every 1 dollar males earn. For some this may sound as an almost equal, but actually it is not. Economic factor has always had a great impact on people’s lives. Exactly this factor makes people stand up from their bed and go to work, rather than do nothing. That is why, there is a big gap between 75 cents and 1 dollar, if to compare them to the workload. Women should do 25% more, than men just to get the same salary. This also presumes that women have less time for themselves or for a rest because they need to work more to fulfill that gap in profits. This may cause a lot of negative effects and the list may be very long, just because of the difference of 25 percent. Therefore, it is very important not to underestimate the problem, which effects may be very strong on one’s life. Furthermore, economic factor gives an idea of superiority. Giddens says in his book “Women earn less than men, they are more likely to remain economically dependent on their husbands and thus perform the bulk of the household.” (218) Subsequently, women feel inferior to their husbands, even trying to buy trivial things for a household. One more thing, private businesses sometimes hire more eagerly men than women. The matter is that women are unstable; most of them give birth to children and take their maternity leave. As a result, management needs to go through finding another candidate for a job. This is another perspective, which shows that features of inequality are still traced nowadays and why feminism is still active.
Another aspect is how young women view feminism. At this point one may see a crossroad. Of course, women feel that their status in society is not like men’s, but sometimes they just come to terms with this fact. In my opinion, one of the most devastating examples is when females are working for companies, where it is forbidden to get married. An acquaintance of mine has an experience working with such regulations. She told that administration of the company incorporated such policy, saying that effectiveness of work increases when staff’s primary focus is a career path and work itself, rather than personal life. This is the first side, when women just do not have another choice but to tolerate with the problem and even forget about the existence of the word “feminism”. Another aspect is when women take totally contradictory side. Aronson in her research says:
Scholars have found that young women tend to be depoliticized and individualistic and that few identify as feminists – they are typically focused on individual solutions and express feminist ideas without labeling them as such. Their attitudes are also influenced by the media, which have supported the antifeminist backlash and have implied that “no further feminist action is needed.” (905)
Judging from the mentioned, it is easy say that some women just do not want to identify themselves with feminism because of the outer impact. Some women want to have nothing in common with struggling for the rights, as they are already satisfied with everything. Feminism means taking active side, actions, fighting, and for some women it is easier just to turn a blind eye and do nothing. Moreover, this citation mentions the outer impact such as mass media. Nowadays people usually have not their own standpoint, but listen to what is said on the internet or on TV. Popular shows, movies, series dictate the line of behavior and thinking, rather than original sources of information. Without a doubt, some women pay more attention to claims of mass media and absorb all the information, not noticing that there may be a great deal of subtleties and distorted facts. Others just agree on the fact that there is no need to struggle for women’s rights as everything is in its order. They think that everything was actually done and we live in society, where women do have their rights and are not abused by men. Personally, I think that opinions and choices are really imposed by the media. However, one important element should be added. I think that gender relations are not equal, but some traits are just meticulously hidden from the public or are not so noticeable. If there was a lot of turmoil around feminism, it just cannot be dead. It is very difficult to outlive some stereotypes, prejudices, and feminism also goes in this category. Women’s and men’s status are not equal, it is just not “visible to the naked eye.”
Another part of women perceive feminism as a problem which matters a lot. They do understand that their mothers and grandmothers fight for rights should not be forgotten and something should be done about current state of gender relations. Young feminists understand that there was a lot of things done before but there are even more to do, while in the past people were not so versed in law. At present time people seems to know more about the problem as well as its causes and effects. That is how young women view feminism today. They endeavor to spread their thoughts and convince people not to give up. Interesting standpoint is expressed by Bell Hooks “There should be bill-boards; ads in magazines; ads on buses, subways…letting the world know more about feminism.” She expresses her personal point of view, which has shaped through 20 years of research work (1). Actually, this is what young women are doing. Not all women can bear that privileges for men. This is the thing which makes young women act and join the feminist’s movement.
Feminism is a stream, which will never end. Usually problems do not go from us anywhere; they just hide and wait for an appropriate moment to explode. For many years women have been fighting for their rights, not wanting to tolerate with the fact that men deserve more, but actually they deserve more. For years women have tried to persuade that they have the same brain, legs, arms and they can successfully cope with tasks as men. To some point, they reached agreement with opposite sex, but still there are some biases on today’s society. Therefore, feminism is not dead, it is alive. I doubt whether it will ever be dead, which will mean that both sides are equal. Earlier women could not tolerate this injustice and nowadays young female even more do not want to accept those oppressive views. Young feminists are doing their best to share their emotions among others, while saying that keeping silence will never bring positive results. An interesting quote by Cheris Kramarae describes the problem discussed “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.” This vividly states that women are the same as men (human beings) and deserve the same.
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