Feminism: a word we are all familiar with as the supposed saving grace for women.
Merriam-Webster defines feminism as the "belief in and advocacy of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes." It means that women and men should be treated equally. We grow up learning about early feminists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony as pioneers of the women's rights movement, advocating for the right to vote and own property. Today, many young girls champion figures like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Hillary Clinton as furthering the feminist movement. However, recently, there seems to be a push towards radical ideas that put advancing an agenda ahead of a woman. All of this begs the question, are these modern-day feminists helping or hurting women?
In a letter to the Continental Congress in 1776, Abigail Adams, wife of founding father John Adams, asked the men to "remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors." Less than a century later, in 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott hosted the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, NY. At this convention, the Declaration of Sentiments was signed, stating that women and men should be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This period of the 19th and early 20th century, known as first-wave feminism, catalyzed equal rights and led to the 19th amendment being ratified in 1920, allowing women the right to vote.
First-wave feminism was influential in advocating that women should be treated equally, allowing the right to vote, own property, speak freely, etc. In the 1960s, second-wave feminism emerged with key figures such as Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, Betty Friedan, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Second-wave feminists challenged the nuclear family and began to reject traditional gender roles. Betty Friedan, the author of The Feminine Mystique, compared suburban women to those living in comfortable concentration camps. She argued that women were not satisfied as homemakers but should have a role in the political process. Betty Friedan and other feminists advocated for birth control, abortion rights, fluid sexual behavior, and the deterioration of the nuclear family.
While some aspects of this period of feminism seemed to challenge what even the early feminists fought for, some barriers were being broken for good. One triumph that came out of second-wave feminism was Title IX which prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded educational institutions. Title IX has benefited women in both the classroom and on the field, with more women being able to play college sports and take classes previously only granted to men.
Second-wave feminism helped usher in a more radical view on gender seen in third-wave feminism. We are seeing the effects of third-wave feminism and the clear visible shift the feminist movement has had over time. Original feminists were pro-women, as seen through their efforts to ensure women have equal rights as men. Can the modern pro-women feminist movement really be considered what the original movement intended it to be?
Today, feminists are trying to eradicate the "woman." Now we reference people with uteruses as being able to become pregnant instead of women. This transformation seen in the feminist movement downplays the incredible strength and beautiful abilities God gave us by implying that anyone can experience what it is like to be a woman. Being able to change your pronouns does not mean that you resonate with what women experience every day. In addition, feminists today are only interested in amplifying voices concurrent with their own. One fitting example is Candace Owens, a conservative black woman who has been torn apart for her views on a woman's role in the family and the conservative principles she lives by. I argue that many conservative girls have been berated by individuals, especially those who claim to uplift women's voices because they share a different point of view. A truly pro-woman movement should ensure that every voice is heard; however, that is not the case today.
Women's equality has long been overshadowed by the woke movement that dominates every aspect of our lives. Women can no longer feel that they are on an even playing field in sports because of transgender athletes competing against them with inherent biological advantages. It is a slap in the face to women when an athlete is nominated for an NCAA Woman of the Year award when they have spent most of their life as a man. Title IX was a huge stepping stone for women on the field, but now many women do not feel as if they have equal opportunities they were granted. If we continue to allow this to happen, we will be destroying all the efforts women have fought for to ensure equality.
Erasing the differences between men and women is not pro-women, it is anti-women. It is forcing us to forget the beauty and strength that God intended us to have.
Moving forward, we must strive to revert to the original intentions Anthony and Stanton had when fostering this movement to ensure that every woman feels like they have a seat at the table. //
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