Merriam Webster defines feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”. People assume that all feminists are just angry lesbians that hate men. But the fact of the matter is that anyone can be a feminist no matter what age, gender, or sexual orientation. The importance of feminism in the 21st century is drastically underrated. Feminism simply means equality of men and women on all grounds. Society should lose their negative outlook on the concept of feminism and embrace it instead.
There is a significant pay gap that exists between men and women who work the same job. Just one example of this is World Cup soccer players. A woman who has been on a winning World Cup team states “If I were a male soccer player who won a World Cup for the United States, my bonus would be $390,000. Because I am a female soccer player, the bonus I got for our World Cup victory last summer was $75,000.” (Lloyd). A pay gap of $315,000 is a huge amount. Although more people watch the men’s world cup championship than they do the women’s, it is still extremely unfair to the women who work just as hard as the men. The Wall street Journal has a gender pay gap graph that shows almost every career and the amount it pays for men and the amount it pays for women. Looking at the graph, there is not one single job that pays more for women or even an equal amount between the two genders. The fact that a graph like this was created in of itself is a sign that the pay gap is a real issue and is getting out of hand and is becoming too accepted. There are pay gap calculators on the internet. It’s ridiculous that instead of addressing this important issue, society and companies accept it and almost support/embrace the idea. There have been attempts to fix the pay gap issue with bills such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Lilly Ledbetter Act of 2009, yet we are still faced with the same dilemma. An important point brought up by someone on Debate.org was “In a world where women still earn 77 cents on the dollar in comparison to men, it is of extreme importance that the feminist movement live on.”(Debate.org). This statement really brings attention to how broad the gap is, it’s not just for certain jobs, it’s for any type of income women make. So knowing this, how can men and women be considered equal from an economic standpoint when they work just as hard and still get paid less?
Socially, women are also thought of as inferior to men. “Young woman are forced to face the choice between career opportunities and children.” (EBSCO) This puts women at a huge disadvantage because how are they supposed to reach their life goals when having children is such a road-block? Society says the ideal job for a woman is to stay at home and have her children and then raise them. Of course there are more working women with high-up positions in modern-day America than in the past but this stereotype still exists and it undermines the abilities of a woman from a career standpoint. Women are downtrodden because they are physically weaker than men but this isn’t even true in all situations. An article written on why we still need feminism states, “We still need feminism because when people get married it is assumed the woman will take the man’s last name.” (Cavanagh). While some women may actually want to take the last name of their husband, they should not be raised thinking that they are required to do that. I remember being told as a child that a girl is supposed to take her husband’s last name when they get married and it made me upset because I wanted to keep my last name, it’s an important part of me and it’s mine. No one told me that women even had an option to keep their name. When I was a child, all of my friends wanted to grow up and have children and they already had names picked out for their babies, but when adults asked me what I wanted when I grew up and I said I wanted to be a surgeon and I didn’t want kids, they laughed at me. We need feminism not only for adults but for the youth.
Rape culture is also a significant reason why more people need to embrace feminism. Rape culture is, “Situations in which sexual assault, rape, and general violence are ignored, trivialized, normalized, or made into jokes.” (Ridgway). Rape is trivialized and people are always finding a way to blame the woman instead of the criminal. In an article on the importance of feminism today it says, “One of the most dangerous regions in the jungle through which women must move is the college campus where they often become fair game for their male fellow students and for predatory faculty members who view students.” (EBSCO). As a woman, anywhere you go alone is considered risky. The same article also says, “Parents who plan to send their daughters away to college should consider karate lessons as a present in their senior year in high school.” (EBSCO). Instead of teaching people that women are not objects, we teach women to learn how to defend themselves and to feel like it’s their fault for being assaulted and/or raped. A real example of rape culture is, “A university in Canada that allows the following student orientation chant: “Y is for your sister. O is for oh-so-tight. U is for underage. N is for no consent. G is for grab that a**.”” (Ridgway). In this scenario, a university is accepting and supporting the idea that sexually harassing an underage girl is completely okay. Another example is, “A judge who sentenced only 30 days in jail to a 50-year-old man who raped a 14-year-old girl (who later committed suicide), and defended that the girl was “older than her chronological age.”” (Ridgway). This scenario is extremely ridiculous and almost hard to believe, but don’t worry… this did actually happen, and continues to happen. Imagine being that young girl’s mother, or even being that girl. It’s hard to even try to fathom the amount of emotional trauma that little girl was put through, and with such an irrelevant defense. Rape is an extremely serious crime and any convict should be shown no mercy.
Feminism fights all of these things by changing society’s view on women. Saying you are a feminist should be done with pride. Supporting the rights of all genders politically, economically, and socially is important to our society and to the modern world as a whole. It is time to even the playing field and stand up to all of the injustices that are upon us.
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