Here comes a topic to which I have devoted a great many words, both here on Meerkat Musings, and on the Coalition of the Brave site. The links are to two of several posts that discuss feminism, and there are plenty of posts that feature feminism as an overlapping subject. However, thus far, there is no writing prompt that’s exclusive to the subject, and it’s time to correct that.
One of the most prominent definitions of feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. The idea is basically that men and women are treated the same by society. Historically, there were some vast differences in how men and women were treated. For example, it was not until 1928 (yes, it is relatively recent) that all women were afforded the same voting rights as men in the UK (up until then, some women could vote, but not all).
Historically, women have been expected to be homemakers, and have often been treated as property to be married off. Even as it became acceptable for women to enter the workplace, job opportunities were initially limited, and where women did the same jobs as men, they were paid less. Even as recently as 2019, there exists a gender pay gap, standing at 17.8%.
Feminism exists to challenge the stereotypical ideas about what women should be, and to see to it that women have the same rights as men. As with any ideological movement, there are nuances (opponents of feminism see misandry, but that’s largely because they go looking for it, in a sort of confirmation bias), and there have been ‘waves’ of feminism throughout history. There are self-styled radical feminists, and liberal feminists, among others, and these groups do not always see eye-to-eye.
For example, in a previous prompt, I mused over where the power lies, and where it should lie, in sex-based entertainment. Some women find such work empowering, and believe they can own their sexuality, whereas others believe sex work is nothing but demeaning, and that it panders to the desires and power of men. Some feminists passionately believe men should be included in conversations about feminism, to educate them, and help them understand that women are more than assistants to men. Other feminists want nothing to do with men whatsoever, preferring to avoid discussions or conversations with them.
Sometimes comments from feminists get interpreted by certain quarters (such as the radicalised MGTOWs and MRAs of this world) as misandry. It’s certainly true that misandry exists, but to the extent that it has helped shape society and culture throughout history? You’ll find that’s misogyny.
A lot of the push against feminism occurs for the same reasons there have been pushes against racial equality and LGBT rights. ‘Traditional’ values (often merely code for ‘old-fashioned’) are rooted on a rigid structure, intended to hold power within certain groups. To those groups, equality for others feels like a loss of power for them, so they fight, tooth and nail, against equality. In the case of feminism, one of the ultimate displays of misogyny and anti-feminist ideology is the fight against abortion.
Anti-choice activists may claim to be pro-life, but in reality, they want control of women. They are not interested in doing any other than reducing women to the role of incubator and mother. Forcing women to have children against their will would be a step towards forcing women back into stereotypical gender roles, which do neither women or men any favours.
The most fundamental right anyone can have is the right to determine what happens to their own body.