In order to rise above sexism in today’s society, the voices of women should and need to be heard, as advocating for women’s rights is important for us to achieve our goals in life and, as Malala Yousafzai has said, “We cannot succeed if half of us are held back”.
No matter the choice women make, they are ultimately judged by members of society. For example, if a woman decides to stay at home and look after her children, she is classified as a walking stereotype and is sometimes looked down upon by others. In contrast, if a female chooses to have a full-time job she is accused of being a bad mother and a selfish person. This shows that whatever a woman does, society is never satisfied with the choices she makes. On the other hand feminism promotes the acceptance of women’s choices regardless of what they choose to do.
Although there are misconceptions around it, the reality is that feminism really is about the establishment and development of equal political, economic, and social rights for women. It creates, and has created, a pathway for women to allow their rights to be gained. It helps them to speak out and demand their equality and freedom. It also empowers them to encourage others to stand up for themselves and it creates a community who unite together as one.
Feminism has made the lives of both women and men around the globe much easier, simpler and happier. Feminism has given women the right to vote, it gave women the opportunity to attend universities, and it has promoted equal pay rights in the workforce.
It pushed for the introduction of gender discrimination laws all around the world, creating a space for nations, both third world and developed, to get serious about sexism.
Some countries around the world still view women as second class citizens, restricting them on voting, working and education, but these areas are slowly improving over time.
Feminism has even been pushed into the public space. Massive stars like Beyoncé have introduced many young women to the fight against sexism and inspired them to be proud of the feminist label. Other inspiring idols in the entertainment industry, like Lena Dunham, Emma Watson,
Lupita Nyong’o, Ashley Judd, Laverne Cox, Kerry Washington and Janet Mock have all called for the same goal, and have reframed the modern feminist identity.
On the other hand, the fight for equality has also brought out the worst in people. For example, women are constantly judging each other on their appearance and their actions, buying into the standards set for them. Even in school,girls who don’t wear makeup and wear plain or casual clothes are seen as ugly, tomboys and are sometimes called gay by other girls. Girls who do wear makeup and dresses and skirts are seen as clowns, fake, show-offs and girly-girls.
Similarly, feminazis, a group of radical feminists who believe that women are better than men, look down and also shame women who are not feminazis by accusing them of being slaves to men. On the other end of the spectrum, there is a group of women who claim to be anti-feminism, as they say they haven’t been affected by sexism.
Women have been trapped and suffocated by barriers in society that have stopped them from exercising their rights for too long. These barriers have been broken apart, and continue to be torn down, by feminism and the support of women all around the world. It is important we recognise feminism for the essential influence it is.