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Feminism: Helpful or Not?

Updated on July 15, 2014
This is one of the ways feminism has helped
This is one of the ways feminism has helped | Source

Author Pat Robertson once said "Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." While the belief promoted in this quote is full of extremities and portrayed as something negative, there is in fact some good that has come out of the feminist movement.

One of the most prominent ways that the feminist movement has helped women is in the equality department. Because of the early feminist movement, women were given the right to vote. As a result of this movement, women were also given equality in the workforce and field of education; while also being protected from gender discrimination in these areas. The feminist movement also gave women the same legal rights as men. They were no longer considered second class citizens who had to have a man to take care of them.

Another way the feminist movement helped women is it changed the way women were viewed in our society. The view that women could only be wives and mothers was changed into the view that a woman could be a valuable member of society in her own right (with or without a husband and children) with the capabilities of doing many of the same things that men could do.

Along with the rights rewarded to women as a whole from the feminist movement, the movement also opened many, many doors that were not only shut in a woman's face previously, but slammed. Two of the doors that opened up were education and the workforce. After the feminist movement, women were not just restricted to jobs/degrees that were traditionally thought to be "acceptable for women." Instead of only having a few options open to them in the fields of secretarial work, nursing, education, maid/nanny, or housework jobs done out of their home (i.e. doing other people's laundry or making and selling things), the whole world was open for them. If a woman wanted to become a doctor and had the means to do so, she could. She did not just have to settle for being a nurse because it was "appropriate for her gender" .

Despite all the ways that feminism has helped women, it has also not helped them in some ways.

One of the main ways that the feminist movement has not helped women is by the whole equality between the sexes platform making some women obsessive or man-crushing. The example that comes to mind here is from a Family Guy episode. In season 2, Peter gets in trouble for sexual harassment (because of a sexist joke he told at work) and is sent to a female sensitivity training and then camp. After he becomes a hardcore male feminist, he is invited to a dinner. He attends the dinner with his wife, Lois (who chooses to stay at home and be a wife/mother). Over the course of the evening, Lois and the woman who invited Peter get into a fight due to a comment that the woman who invited them made about her fighting to enable women like her (meaning Lois) to be able to do more with their lives than just be a wife and a mother.

The other way that the feminist movement really has not helped women is that sometimes women who decide to either stay home and raise their kids or quit a successful career in order to be a stay at home wife and mother, like Lois, get persecuted by women, like the woman who invited Peter to the dinner.

The last way that the feminist movement has not really been very effective is that it is not a world wide trend (for lack of better word). There are still many places that are in of and would truly benefit from a feminist movement.

Ultimately, a woman's decision on whether or not to stay at home with her children is her own choice and just because she does/does not decide to do it, does not mean she is wrong or stupid or anything other than a caring mom who is doing what she feels best for her children and family as a whole. No one, male or female, should make her feel like she's doing something wrong in whichever choice she makes. To me, the feminist movement was about women having a choice to do what she wanted; regardless of what that choice was.

The quote came from

© 2014 Beverly Hollinhead


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