Is feminism still relevant?
Right glad that’s sorted.
No just kidding, some people seem to think that feminism is outdated and should be “consigned to history“. Read about my response to this person here.
When studying for this semester’s essay question on my Introduction to Globalisation question, I came across so many ways in which feminism is needed. And by this, I don’t just mean in a human rights perspective. The way society is constructed it is run by the idea of patriarchy – where society is run by men. This is out-dated and old fashioned as it is becoming more obvious that women are not the weaker sex.
Society is heavily influenced by perceptions of femininity and masculinity. As I mention in my Why I Am A Feminist post, being assertive or in control are positives when shown by a male but negatives when shown by a female. The opposite can be said when it comes to vulnerability or emotion. People have it in their heads that to be a man you have to lack emotion and if they cry they are “weak”. Feminism is needed still because a man should be able to cry without feeling ashamed and being compared to a woman should not be such a harsh insult.
“You throw like a girl“. How many times would you hear this when playing sports at school? This was an insult aimed at the males of the class. But why is it an insult? Why is there fear of “throwing like a girl”? We need feminism because there is such a negative stigma about behaving like a girl. Boys place such harsh rules on themselves in the hope of maintaining their masculinity. This should not be the case.
If we just looked at politics and governments alone you can easily see the dominance of men and traditionally masculine behaviour. I say traditional because it is no longer applicable to the current world. Words such as “strong“, “dominant“, “powerful” and “leader” are associated with male characters. I googled these words on images and these are some of the results below:
- I google imaged “strong”
As you can see in the image above, the images associated with the word strong are that of men (except one). Men are perceived as the stronger sex and that only they are capable of portraying strength.
- I google imaged “leader”
The images in this selection show men as being leaders, there are a couple in the middle that exclusively show men as the leaders. Even the cartoons are depicted as male rather than gender neutral.
- I google imaged “power”
Once again men are portrayed as those that have power. Even the pictures with just hands in are masculine in design. Plus in the bottom left-hand corner is an image of a male lion. Again showing that males are universally accepted as those that have power.
I did the same with words like “vulnerable” and “emotional” and this is the result:
- I google imaged “vulnerable”
Here the only people shown are women and small children. Women and children are often depicted as those that need protecting. As I continued to scroll down the search results more images of women crying were shown.
- I google imaged “emotional”
The display of emotions is often associated with the female sex. We need feminism because character traits that are gender neutral hold such ingrained gender associations. Women are often seen as those that need protecting and men as the protectors. You only have to watch any news article on war to see that women are portrayed as the victims and men as the fighters. We still need feminism because both sexes should feel able to encompass these character traits without such negative connotations.
These are all only small reasons why feminism is still so important in today’s society, especially as the social construction of gender is so deeply ingrained in us. There are so many things we can do to help overcome such issues. I’ll be writing about these in a blog post soon!