The Movement of Women’s Rights
“Feminism is a periodic movement and political theory that takes the stand to fight for the constitutional, industrial, and civil rights for women. “Feminist theorists and activists share a commitment to end women’s subordination in both public and domestic life but determining what this means in practice is an ongoing source of contention” (Hanagan and Shanley). According to Rosie.org, the suffrage movement was challenged for numerous justifications for women, such as the right to vote, to work, and enjoy life free from brutality. So many people offer up the argument that women are not the “same” as men so there can’t be equality; namely, because their bodies are different, and because men and women have different physical capabilities, these physical differences mean equality is impossible. The Women’s Liberation Movement was an economical adjustment of women and feminist rationalism that became apparent in the late 1960s and prolonged into the 1980s, essentially in the modern populations of the western side, which influenced a notable transition globally. The Women’s Liberation Movement helped women gain the strength to fight gender discrimination, gain economic freedom, and find their sense of identity.
Women normally did not work or go to school and were frequently observed as domestic beings while men were the head of the household. Women symbolized a shocking 70 percent of those living in poverty, and their basic needs had yet to be sufficiently addressed by local, national, and international policies. Women continued to work under harsh and prejudiced conditions; that expanded inequality and discrimination, and made women and children more helpless to bargaining, brutality, abuse, and discrimination. Women were generally adequate for household chores and were pleasant at being mothers, but their appearance on the other hand, was deprived or underappreciated when related to men’s appearance. Women were used as property or low-quality residents and were often brutalize and molested for no apparent reason, women never gained the respect that they earned. “The feminist movement fought for the abolishment of sexism and the establishment of women’s rights as equal under the law” (Masequesmay). By the authority of sexism within the timeline of past events, women would gain equal opportunity by the law; in the workforce, development of knowledge, and freedom of speech and religion.
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From the time when they are young to when they are all grown up, girls are continuously informed that they cannot do something, because of the simple fact that they are girls. Girls have experienced sexism in one point of their lives or another. It starts in school, and it continues after she has a career, where the man who has the same exact credentials and knowledge as her will be making more money. This has been going on for many years, but by making themselves heard, women now have more of the same opportunities that men had before. In “The Friday Everything Changed,” Anne Hart explains that even at such a young age, girls encounter sexism, but by letting their voice be heard, women can be of value and take the initiative in regard to being as equal to a boy, just as women have been doing for many years. Although women have made much progress in becoming more equal to men, there is still more room for change.
Since eternal, women have always been looked down upon and have been treated dishonorable, but due to some strong women standing up for what they believed in; women now have more of the same occasions as a man then before. Hundreds of years ago, women were evaluated as property because their husbands “owned” them, and these women did not have much freedom to do what they wanted; their job was to cook, clean, and look after the family. Women put up with bad treatment for a long time, until they got tired of it and spoke up. A noteworthy event in history where women spoke up and made change was the suffrage movement, where women fought for their right to vote. Through protests and campaigns, the women voice was heard, people listened and in 1920, women were granted the right to vote. Later, women could have different jobs and have more freedom than they used to.
This group of women who fight for all women to one day be equal to a man are called feminists. “Feminism is an interdisciplinary approach to issues of equality based on gender, gender oppression, gender identity, sex and sexuality as understood through social theories and political activism” (“What is Feminism?”). If it were not for feminism, women would not be able to do a lot of things they do today. Men are more accepting of a woman doing a “man’s” job today, but that is not to say that sexism is not still present. Starting from early childhood; the ideas of what a boy and girl are supposed to act like, what activities they can do, and all the other gender roles are embedded in who we are today, and it is hard to break out of the notion because it is repeated. In society today, women are breaking gender roles and becoming more independent, women are moving forward. Day by day these gender roles are being crushed, but all women must do is continue to speak up and let people know that their biological makeup is not a defect and that women are just as capable to anything that men can do.
In “The Friday Everything Changed,” Alma Niles started a movement in her classroom. All she had to do was say the words “Why can’t girls go for water, too?” Just like all other women who have ever spoken up about anything, boys and men are there to make fun or disregard what the girls have to say. The boys beat the girls down with words and threats, but it only makes the girls stronger, bringing them all together in support of squashing gender roles and fighting for equality. “Sexism in a society is most commonly applied against women and girls. It functions to maintain patriarchy, or male domination, through ideological and material practices of individuals, collectives, and institutions that oppress women and girls on the basis of sex or gender” (Masequesmay). Girls can experience sexism their whole lives, and it all starts in school and may continue for years after.
In “The Friday Everything Changed,” the boys are the only ones who were chosen to go get the water from the railway station, because the teachers are implying that the boys are superior, stronger than the girls. The young boys are being taught to be sexist, and they tend to hang out with other boys but will not allow girls to play with them. “Another common example of sexism in the younger grades was exclusionary behavior, such as not allowing a girl to play a game or even share a workspace” (Ligocki). In the story, the boys did not allow the girls to play softball with them, but today it is more common to see boys and girls playing with each other, as well as there are all girls sports teams, but sometimes girls are still excluded in activities. When a young girl grows up and finds a career, she will experience sexism in many aspects, and it will be up to her whether she speaks up about it or just deal with it. “The concept of sexism explains that prejudice and discrimination based on sex or gender, not biological inferiority, are social barriers to women’s and girls’ success in various arenas” (Masequesmay). The female stereotype brands women as caring, warm, deferential, emotional, and sensitive, but in the workforce, they are often seen as weak qualities.
A woman can be just as qualified as a man for a certain job position, but it is more likely that a man will get the job they both applied for. “Here’s where the male descriptive stereotypes come into play: competent, assertive, decisive, rational, objective. When managers have little information about what an employee or candidate is like, they fill in the knowledge gap with these descriptive stereotypes, often to the detriment of women” (Jaffe). Women can be more qualified for a job than a man is, but because of these stereotypes that have been branded on women, managers see women as less qualified. Men have a greater chance of moving up in the workplace not just because he is qualified, but because of the standard male characteristics that would make a man more suitable for the job. Not all women are as emotional and “weak” as men think they are, and can move up in the workplace and have their voices heard.
It is unfair because when a woman speaks up at work, she is scolded for not staying in her lane, but when a man speaks up, it is not even given a second thought because it is what is expected of a man. “They’re out of line, breaking the rules, violating the “should’s” of gender stereotypes,” says Hellman. “The issue is not: are they that way or not that way. The issue is: men and women are probably behaving the same way, but women are taking the hit for it” (Jaffe). A man and a woman with the same qualifications and same experience start a job at the same time, you would think that they would be paid the same salary, but that it not the case. Women are paid on average, twenty percent less than what a man is paid. Back in the days, it was rare for a woman to have a job, because women were known for being stay at home wives and mothers. Now more women are working to help or fully support their families, but it can be difficult when they are not being paid what they should be.
Men do experience sexism, but it is nowhere near as bad as what a woman must go through. Since the beginning of time, man has always been superior; they were rulers, presidents, soldiers, slave owners, and business owners. Men have always been revered for being so strong and brave, but when they do something that is more feminine and less “manly,” they experience sexism in the sense that they have their masculinity questioned. As said in the hit song by The Cure, “Boys Don’t Cry,” guys must constantly prove their masculinity and want to always feel superior. “You dreamed about it partly because carrying the water meant you were one of the big guys” (Hart). These young school boys want everyone to know that they are strong and manly, because it gives them a sense of pride, but they get defensive when their masculinity is questioned or threatened.
Men with a fragile masculinity tend to be more aggressive and louder because they feel like they must live up to the male stereotype that has been set up for them since they were young. “Because all the boys knew, from the moment Miss Ralston had spoken, that something of theirs was being threatened and that, as long as there was the remotest chance that any girl might get to carry the water, they had to do everything in their power to stop it” (Hart). Men are also trying to break their own gender roles, but today there are many male makeup artists and men who wear makeup out in public. Although, it still a touchy subject and there are still many people who are not accepting of males wearing makeup, more men are comfortable wearing makeup out in public. One gender role that some men are sensitive about and do not seem to be ready to change, is letting a woman pay for a meal or a date. Men want to pay, because they want to women to be dependent of them, and that is how it had always been. Men had their rights handed to them for the simple fact that they are a man, and although men experience sexism, they have always been looked up to and have been able to prosper. The only men who experience sexism are the ones who have fragile masculinity, but one day, the gender norms will be nonexistent, and it will be “normal” for boys to cry and wear makeup as it will be normal for a woman to play football and make more money than her husband.
Critics argue that the reason women were discriminated, didn’t have inequality, weren’t guaranteed freedom, and didn’t have an identity of themselves, because feminist magazines made women’s pain visible, leading to the growth of feminism, inequality, gender issues, and sexism. Women and men are not equal in physical strength, because men have come to power in society. In “Women Against Feminism,” critics argue that women’s main arguments against feminism are better understand the logic behind their anti-feminist stance (2013). In other words, the reason this campaign was started because, it regulates what types of arguments women used to debate feminism; and review why individuals don’t like feminism, why they think it’s useless, why they believe it to be negative to equality, and it gets a better understanding of the inference behind their decisions. For example, “Community member and writer Jinna states; if ‘Women Against Feminism’ were asked if they believe men and women should have equal human rights and equality before the law, the answer would be a resounding ‘Yes’. The blog raises issue with the modern practice of feminism rather than the fundamental definition of feminism” (Wikipedia). For this reason, critics argue that if men and women are equal before the law, feminism is irrelevant, and it abstracts from men’s rights issues. Therefore, critics believe that this movement is less about equality and rights, and more about dignifying and making men more powerful.
Although women have come a long way in becoming more equal to men and have proved to men that they can do things just as well as they can, sexism is still present in today’s society; but if all women can come together and speak up, their voices will be heard and they will all be equal. We have become more accepting of genders breaking boundaries and doing whatever they want, but it is sad that people spend a lot of time worrying about what others are doing and they are criticizing others for doing things out of the norm. “Those wanting to preserve traditional roles frequently make the case that the roles exist because they lead to a better, or more natural arrangement of society and institutions. Those wanting to eliminate gender roles often believe that such roles are not only arbitrary but also limiting and potentially damaging.” (“Introduction to Gender Roles”). These rules have been engraved in our minds that boys can’t do this, or girls can’t do that, and it is hard to break the cycle of gender roles, unless we speak out for what we believe in, and take the step to making a change. All boys and girls and men and women will be able to do whatever they feel comfortable doing, and we have progressed a lot since the beginning, but there is always room for improvement.”