“Feminism is the radical notion that women are people” – Rebecca West
The word “feminism” can strike the wrong chord for some people. If your first thought on a feminist is a “whiny liberal” or a “lesbian man-hater,” think again. Feminists are fighting for everyone’s right to have an equal chance at a good life. They are all around you disguised as everyday people, both men and women, gay or straight, black or white, young or old.
Though feminism has been misrepresented on almost every social media site in the most false, misconceived way, feminists are actually just people trying to eliminate oppression and corruption in the world.
No, feminists are not selfish and greedy radicals trying to steal all of the high paying jobs or gather sympathy from men. Women simply want to be taken seriously, which you could argue they are if it wasn’t for the massive wage gap between men and women that still exists in North Dakota today (women are paid 23 percent less than men).
Feminism started out in the late 1800s when women were fed up with their expectation to be a submissive housewife, child bearer and slave to a confined role as a female.
Women wanted the same basic rights as men, and eventually, after much sacrifice, women are now able to vote, go to school and get the same jobs as men. Unfortunately it’s not that simple.
They discovered they had the power to continue changing the world beyond basic rights everyone deserves in the first place. Inequality doesn’t stop at the white American woman. The world continues to cast down people for the color of their skin, sexuality, religion or any other excuse they can find to continue a system of oppression where they feel comfortable.
Feminism has evolved and adapted into its third wave, or movement. This movement focuses on issues such as pay equity, domestic violence, rape, discrimination, gay rights, reproductive rights and other forms of discrimination that are still alive and well.
In the United States, we are still battling a rape crisis — one in five women are raped in their lifetime. Access to contraceptives and other reproductive healthcare is often made difficult. LGBTQ persons can still legally be discriminated against in some states, let alone the right to marry is extremely scarce.
Men are often emasculated for having female dominant jobs like nursing. Immigrants living in America for the near entirety of their lives are treated as far less than American-born. All of these things affect people’s lives negatively but can be changed.
It can be difficult to show people the hardship that still exists in this country, and around the world, when they aren’t personally experiencing it. It’s easy to ignore issues that will probably never affect you, especially if you’re a heterosexual white male or female living in America. It is important to use your power, or privilege, to make a difference in the world, because those without it don’t often have their voices heard.
Third wave feminists are fighting for the people in the world who haven’t gotten a chance to speak yet. Everyone and anyone can join the feminist movement today.