Why feminism is still important

Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men. Many people believe this equality has already been achieved; however, it definitely has not.

The question of why we need feminism is widely asked, and there are many reasons, not all of them affecting women alone.

Women need feminism because a woman’s body is used to sell everything from burgers to trucks, but heaven forbid a woman breastfeed in public. Something as simple as feeding a newborn baby is looked down upon, yet breasts being on TV is just an average show or commercial. These body parts are not sexual organs, they are for the feeding of an infant, yet women can be arrested or asked to leave a public place for supplying her baby with something necessary for life. By telling women they are not allowed to breastfeed their child in public we are controlling what human beings do with their own bodies just because other people have sexualized a body part that exists for something so innocent. And that is not okay.

That also leads into the slut shaming that we, as a society, for some reason have deemed acceptable. Slut shaming is when people degrade or mock a woman because she enjoys having sex, has sex a lot, or may even just be rumored to participate in sexual activity such as sending nudes and things like that. As human beings sexual desire is in our nature, and these desires are completely normal.

Unfortunately, as women we are told these desires directly affect who we are, the respect we have for our bodies and our worth as people. None of these things are true, and they’ve created a culture where both women and men find it okay to shame girls for doing something so natural. That’s not saying its just completely okay for 12 year old girls to run around having tons of unprotected sex, but it’s okay for girls to have sex. If they’re going to do it anyway, there’s no reason for them to be shamed over it.

While men are taught that their desires are normal and to embrace it, women are taught it’s something to be ashamed of. What girls do with their bodies is quite frankly no one else’s business. It does not make them a bad person, it does not mean they don’t have any respect for themselves, and it certainly does not make them “whores.”

This is a major double standard between men and women that has for centuries caused numerous problems. It has also caused multiple suicides such as Amanda Todd, Retaeh Parsons and Audrie Pott.

Another issue the feminist movement fights is the pay gap. Although made illegal by the Equal Pay Act signed by President Kennedy in 1963, statistically speaking the average gap is still about 78 cents to a man’s dollar.

This pay gap varies from state to state and changes when specifically talking about the difference in a man’s salary and a woman of color’s salary. However, there is no doubt it still exists. The fact that I am a women does not make me any less of a human or any less deserving of the same pay as a man in my same working position.

With that said, in the United States throughout 2014 women made up only 18.5 percent of congress, yet there were over 468 bills passed regulating women’s bodies. The rightful number would be zero, which coincidentally, was the amount of bills passed regulating a man’s body.

My body is my body, and my being a women does not change that or make me any less qualified to make decisions regarding what I do with my body.

I don’t quite understand how it is acceptable for a government that is mainly made up of men to make laws restricting what women do with their own bodies.

Gender roles are another social problem the feminist movement addresses. A gender role is a set of social and behavioral norms that, within a specific culture, are widely considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific sex. The perception of gender roles includes attitudes, actions and personality traits associated with a particular gender within that culture.

This problem not only affects women, it affects everyone who has ever enjoyed or had an interest in something that was outside of the box that gender roles create.

For example, gender roles say that as a woman, I should grow up to have a family and children. That should be my biggest concern, and my career should come second. They say that I should love children and automatically have a motherly instinct, which I do not. These roles say that I am less qualified to be president, a football player, an engineer, a construction worker or anything else that’s “manly” because being a women makes me “weak,” never mind the fact it is women who create and push human beings out of their bodies.

Not to mention I should constantly be moody, emotional, complain about everything and love chocolate.

Obviously not all of these things are harmful individually, but together they create a box that can be nearly impossible to escape.

Not only do gender roles create restrictions on who we can be, but they pave the way for lifelong anxiety, self esteem issues and stress.

It’s beyond time that no one gets a hard time for who they are and what they want to do or be. A guy wants to be a stay at home dad while his wife works and he takes care of the kids? Awesome. Be a great dad. A girl wants to play football or be a construction worker? Awesome. Don’t let anyone tell her she can’t because she’s weaker, that what she wants to do makes her weak or anything else, because it’s not true.

Feminism is given a bad name because there are people who want to make it something it is not. Feminism is not a fight for female supremacy. It is not a group of angry women who want to have privilege simply because we are women. It is a movement that fights a system that has oppressed us for centuries; it’s a movement that simply fights for our right to be equals.