The Future is Feminist
“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” ~ G.D. Anderson
Growing up in the 21st century, it is nearly impossible to be unaware of the growing feminist movement that is gaining momentum in today’s society. In the past few decades, there have been monumental changes in the lives of women, whether it relates to women becoming further involved in the political spectrum, more awareness of sexual harassment, women breaking into new professions and different fields, women making a name for themselves in athletics, and even more openness regarding sexuality; women are making a name for themselves. As the feminist movement continues to grow, boundaries are continuously being tested and more controversies are emerging, with the number of people arguing in favor of equal rights for women increasing. The oppression of women has been a trend for thousands of years and is widely known as a product of class society; though the movement technically first arose in America over one hundred years ago, it has come a long way from the suffragettes protesting for voting rights in the 19th century.
Social media plays a crucial role in facilitating a constant stream of headline information: on average, 500 million tweets are generated every day- ranging from memes to political updates. Recently, popular media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram have been the place of origin for many feminist hashtags that have taken root, such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #WomensWave, and #WhyIDidntReport. Hashtags have tremendous power due to how accessible and recurring they are online, often transforming into popular slogans that become the face of social and political movements. Furthermore, hashtags spread awareness about the prevalence of issues, such as sexual assault, and may even validate emotions victims would not have otherwise expressed. Compared to reading a lengthy news article, hashtags are a more efficient and effective way of promoting a certain message; therefore, feminists have taken advantage of social media to carry out activism and make their voices heard.
Along with a growing social media presence, the feminist movement has taken to the streets as well- 2019 has marked two years since the origination of the Women’s March protests. The Women’s March organizes a principal march each year in Washington D.C., with smaller marches throughout the rest of the country as well; the 2017 Women’s March was the largest single-day protest in United States history. By marching, protestors seek to bring awareness to advocated causes such as feminism, sexual assault, reproductive rights, immigration reform, etc. This has been a prodigious leap, considering the fact that women had only gained the right to vote less than a century ago. Political movements and protests in favor of feminism- such as this march- exemplify the strength that women are capable of possessing when they come together and unite under a common purpose. Similar to the march, National Women’s Month (taking place during March) celebrates the often overlooked contributions of women to history.
Moreover, sexual assault has been a ubiquitous issue for women throughout history, but the feminist movement has more recently highlighted the need for cognizance of this issue’s prevalence. One in five women will be sexually abused at some point in their lives, and one in four girls will be assaulted before they turn 18 years old, emphasizing the severity of this issue. Domestic violence and the sexual abuse of women has been exponentially under-recognized; however, these issues have been viewed more politically in recent years. Sexual harassment is constituted by unwanted behavior and is a form of sexual discrimination in that it is unwelcome and usually represents an abuse of power. Victims of sexual harassment can be any gender but share the common denominator of its psychological impact; however, women have been notably more likely to be subjected to harassment. Due to the proclivity of society to not believe in victims when coming out with stories of sexual abuse in addition to its clear effects, too many victims remain silent about their experience. Hashtags like #MeToo or #TimesUp, which highlight just how pervasive the issue is, symbolize movements based off of the principle of unity dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual violence.
Throughout the world, instinctive discrimination against women is prevalent in all aspects of society, from politics to entertainment. Even in modern countries where women have obtained a degree of equality, women are still extremely under-represented in important, decision-making positions, and must endure obstacles in order to gain access to justice and equality. Although recent media has misconstrued feminists as radical liberals who view women as superior to men, the preponderance of feminists aims to bring awareness to societal gender inequality. More than ever, it is a necessary campaign in today’s society more than ever, considering the ever-changing social and political environment that we live in.