First off let me state that I am grateful to the feminist movement in the progress that they have made in terms of women’s rights. I do not have to marry a man for financial security, my voice as a woman can be heard and I am allowed to go to school and be more than just a housewife. However, while I do love the achievements this movement has brought me, I am also saddened by the negative impact is has brought upon me as a female. Mankind since our creation has been under a patriarchy, a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. In the domain of the family, fathers or father-figures hold authority over women and children. Some patriarchal societies are also patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage. Historically, patriarchy has manifested itself in the social, legal, political, religious and economic organization of a range of different cultures. We as human beings have done pretty okay under this particular social system but there were some that have and are currently fighting this system which has existed for ages now.
Feminism can be found in history with French writer Christine de Pizan the author of ‘The Book of the City of Ladies’ is considered the first woman to denounce misogyny and the relation of the sexes. There also many other early feminist writers in the 16th and 17th century. During the 18th century or the Age of Enlightenment, many writers were defending the rights of women such as Jeremy Bentham and Mary Wollstonecraft. Bentham strongly condemned many countries practiced to deny women’s rights due to allegedly inferior minds and opposed the sexual moral standards between men and women. Now as we roll into the 19th century, the ‘feminine ideal’ also called ‘The Cult of Domesticity’ was part of the widespread acceptance of the Victorian image of the woman’s’ proper role and created these separate spheres for men and women, where men occupied the public sphere and women the private one. It was published into books such as Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management and Sarah Stickney Ellis books. The interrelated barriers to education and employment formed the backbone of the 19th century feminist reform efforts. Campaigns also gave women opportunities to test their political skills, one of their many successes include the campaign for the Married Women’s Property Act which was passed in 1882 and the Contagious Diseases Act of 1864, 1866 and 1869.
As we go from the 19th to 20th century we see that feminism can be divided into waves, the first wave was women’s suffrage, female education rights, better working conditions and the abolition of gender double standards. Second wave feminism brings us to the early 1960s through the late 1980’s. The second wave dealt with more cultural equality issues and discrimination. The Feminine Mystique which was published in 1963 become the voice of many women who felt that being discontent with being stuck into homemaking positions once they graduated from college. Susan Brownmiller 1975 Against Our Will introduced to the public an agenda against male violence especially concerning sexual male violence while Susan Griffin was the feminist to write on pornography ; these approaches has evolved to transform the research and perspective on rape into a social problem rather than just an individual one.
This brings us to third wave feminism which began in the 1990’s, the decade I was born into. During this ear of feminism there is a focus more on rights for women of color which wasn’t acknowledge as much during the first two waves. Reproductive rights and global feminism were also big topics discussed during this era which then leads us to the fourth wave which began in 2008 to present day. Now within this wave social media plays a huge part and allows for topics such as reproductive justice, sex work acceptance, transgenderism, body shaming and much more.
Now if you have gotten this far, you are probably wondering where I am going with this. I was born in 1991 and the era of feminism that I grew up in has affected me in a way which is causing some slight problems in my social life. As an adult feminism seems to have strayed from its original purpose and is slowly evolving into a misandry movement. As a young I do want a husband and children which there is nothing wrong with wanting those things but I feel as a female wanting those things is supposed to come second to other things like a career. Also there is nothing wrong with wanting a career but as female it is truly impossible for us to have it all.
I often find myself on social media reading post mostly by women that often complain about their relationships and why they can’t seem to find a man to settle down with. Majority of the time the female does not see anything she could have done wrong in the relationship and majority of the blame seems to be place on the male which is highly unfair. As women we need to realize that as much as feminism has helped us in many ways it has also created chaos in our relationships with the male gender. This post will continued in pt. II
“Feminist Movement.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Aug. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_movement.
“The 1960s-70s American Feminist Movement: Breaking Down Barriers for Women.” Tavaana, tavaana.org/en/content/1960s-70s-american-feminist-movement-breaking-down-barriers-women