A potted history of feminism
It’s hard to imagine that just fifty years ago, politics, religion, world affairs, and business affairs were not on the agenda of women’s public discourse. It was not considered the right thing to do, meaning these topics were strictly ‘men’s business’. How times have changed! Some feminists may argue that the current advantages in terms of improved working conditions more than outweigh the monotony and monotony of bygone times. Some might disagree, and privately long for some of the “old-fashioned” virtues and customs formerly bestowed on women. It’s all a matter of weighing the pros and cons, and accepting how society has changed its attitudes towards women in the 21st century.
Any kind of philosophy is open to interpretation. What exactly does ‘feminism’ really mean? The Macquarie, fifth edition, states: “a movement or doctrine that defends equal rights and opportunities for women, especially the extension of their activities in social and political life.” This term could also incorporate being humanistic as the philosophies are intertwined. In third world countries, in particular, much remains to be done to improve the well-being and status of women. Human rights abuses involving women in these countries, and even in first world countries, must be addressed, if we are to achieve a just and equitable world, not a world with social inequality and injustice. Gender inequality, domestic violence, and sexual assault are the focus of a collection of women’s movements. Women pursue these goals to stop the persecution and achieve equal opportunities in the social, political, economic, educational and labor spheres.
For women to raise the next generation in the 21st century, they need to feel empowered and treated as “equal” to men. Misogyny and all human rights abuses will always be a constant concern, but having decent and compassionate men, who embrace feminism, will help diminish the misogynistic traits and injustices that inevitably go hand in hand with this form of behavior.
The feminist movement, also known as the “Women’s Liberation Movement,” first came to public attention in the early 19th century, when suffragettes were formed. The Women’s Suffrage Movement was particularly strong in the United Kingdom and the United States. These women, predominantly from high society and middle class backgrounds, were dissatisfied and frustrated with their social status in society. It was as a result of her determination and courage that women now have the right to vote. In the early years of the suffrage movement, psychologists argued that their demonstrative behavior was proof that these women suffered from some form of mental illness, hysteria, or mental weakness. Such was the mentality of men at that time. Alarmingly, they believed that future wars could be started by women voting.
By 1920, the women’s suffrage amendment had become law and several women’s organizations were established. For the first time in their lives, women felt free from the shackles of male domination. As a result, the women became more adventurous in their clothing and freely participated in public speaking. This utopia was short lived, however, with the coming of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Previously employed married women were the first to be laid off, single women were getting married, and divorces declined as families in trouble clung together to get through tough times.
Major changes occurred when World War II broke out in 1939. About six million women now entered the workforce, either as agricultural workers or factory workers. More than 200,000 women served in the army, while more than three million worked for the Red Cross organization. In general, women thrived during these times because they felt useful, appreciated, and knew that their contribution to the war effort was worthwhile. Of course, when the war ended in 1945, many of these jobs evaporated, forcing many to return to the role of homemaker, while men returning from the battlefields sought to reassert their own role in society. .
Simone de Beauvoir’s book “The Second Sex” had a great impact on women after its publication in 1949. The author expressed the feminist’s sense of injustice, describing women as not equal to men. This French author / philosopher highlighted our hierarchical society through stereotypes, women at a “lower level” than men. Simone de Beauvoir was instrumental in challenging societal attitudes towards women and helped consolidate “the brotherhood” of established women’s movements around the world.
In the 1950s, women were beginning to feel unhappy once again, with their place in society, and were striving once again for equality in the workplace. The most notable years of change were the 1960s, when women became much more vocal about their rights and, for once, the introduction of “the pill” finally gave them autonomy over their bodies. This form of contraception was used by more than 100 million women around the world and by almost 12 million women in the United States alone. This era was extremely liberating for women of childbearing age and resulted not only in women’s greater control over their bodies and a more liberated view of sexuality, but also heralded the end of unwanted pregnancies.
This second wave of feminism occurred during the 1960s, with Germaine Greer’s book “The Female Eunuch” hitting shelves. International bestseller, the main thesis of this book was “that the nuclear families ‘traditional’, suburban, consumerist, sexually repressed women and that devitalized them, turning them into eunuchs”. Other well-known feminists, such as Betty Friedan’s book, “The Feminine Mystique,” were also well received around the world. Its author questions the widespread belief that women were satisfied with motherhood and their marriages and, in fact, had reached their fullness in their “careers.” During this time, lesbianism and bisexuality were also considered part of feminism, and influential women accepted this lifestyle.
We are now entering the third wave of feminism that began in the early 1990s. Due to the perceived failure of earlier feminist movements from the 1960s through the 1980s, to achieve the true equality they had sought for so long. Diversity and change are fundamental principles embraced by the new movement, as we are becoming a more multifaceted and globally connected society. Women, especially in developing countries, still fight for equal rights and to be treated with the same respect as their male counterparts.
We now live in the age of ‘the superwoman’. Gone are the days of submission and submission to husbands, staying home with the children. Today, working women are expected to hold a job, organize daycare for children, and maintain a home and all the pitfalls that come with it. Equal pay is expected, although the glass ceiling has yet to be broken on that one. So what is the negative side of this social development? Are men now more reluctant to express their opinions since women are more assertive? Perhaps some men have been criticized too often; So, do they avoid conflict at all costs and are in some way subordinate to the women in their lives? Maybe a role reversal? Perhaps the special treatment that men showed women as part of male chivalry, such as opening car doors, letting a woman enter a door first, etc., is becoming a distant memory. If women were completely honest, would they like to see a return of these more chivalrous ways? It’s all about striking the right balance, and while women seem to “have it all” now, some aspects of feminism have irrevocably changed some human behaviors.
Society has now reached a happier median, with more agreeable behaviors, like shared responsibilities at home, joint childcare, and the like. Women are free to pursue their professional careers while combining work with family life. The feminist movement has indeed changed history since the beginnings of suffragettes, chaining themselves to bars to get the right to vote, and women have been the winners along the way, getting more rights, but either the gender is really happy and satisfied. with the way our lives have changed as a result of the feminist movement?