Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why Do We Still Need Feminism?

I was in a recent argument with a male friend about why the world still needs feminism. At the time I was tired and didn’t feel like arguing, but now in the comfort of the Feminist Majority Foundation office, I think I will rebut with this list of reasons why feminism is still relevant. Feel free to add to it!

-Studies show women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn. This pay equity imbalance is currently being addressed by the United States Senate as a result of pressure from feminist groups.

-Even though women have some legal protections on their equality, the equal rights and protection of women is not defined in the Constitution. Feminists are still pushing for an Equal Rights Amendment.

-Though women make up more than half of this nation’s population, they are still underrepresented in all elected and judicial positions of national and state governments.

-Many states are whacking away at women’s reproductive rights. Oklahoma now mandates that all women must look at an ultrasound (they are not legally allowed to CLOSE THEIR EYES!) and be given a pamphlet that says life begins at conception (an issue that is more philosophical than scientific, given the guise of truth because it is handed to her by the doctor).

-Women have a lower body image than men. In many industries, companies can fire (and hire) women based on their physical appearance. More than 9 million women a year have some form of elective cosmetic surgery to enhance their physical appearance. However, this does nothing to correct the psychological issues that cause this intense body hatred (that in fact is rarely addressed in our society). Cosmetic surgery is a multi-billion dollar a year industry that profits from the societal importance of women’s appearance. Men can be considered attractive because of power and wealth while much of women’s attractiveness is defined only by their physical appearance.

-In the US, a woman is raped every six minutes (according to Amnesty USA). A woman is battered every 15 seconds. This is WAY TOO MUCH! Like, no arguing. And what is anyone doing to really change this? The hyper-sexualization of women and violent masculinization of men is enforced by the media in many ways. Positive heterosexual relationships (and also positive gay relationships) need to be provided as the ideal.

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