Being a feminist activist in the twenty first century isn’t exactly celebrated. This so called fourth wave feminism is not socially acceptable; identifying as a feminist is usually frowned upon. Feminists are seen as man-haters and menopausal freaks. But, the work of feminism is still not done, even in American society, with women making 81 cents for every dollar a man makes, for doing the same work. Or, the fact that according to the New York Times, on an average day, about 19% more women than men report doing household chores (this is because of the expected gender roles). Even looking at the recent attacks by the government on reproductive health care can show the sexism that is written into the fabric of our society.
The above information doesn’t even account for women who don’t live in America. 140 million women worldwide who have experienced female genital mutilation. There are Even more don’t have access to education, or aren’t allowed to be in school after they menstruate. You also have to remember those who aren’t even allowed to leave their homes without their husband’s permission. With this kind of oppression, it is laughable to say there is no need for feminism.
Feminism is what we need to embrace to fix these societal inequalities. We must get rid of the taboo around the label feminist and instead learn to embrace it. Just because you are a feminist doesn’t mean that you want to dominate men! Quite the opposite! A feminist believe that men and women deserve equal rights; nothing more, nothing less. Feminism has opened so many doors for women already, from getting us the vote to the decriminalization of contraception to a more active presence in sports. It is because of this that we must carry on the legacy, and keep fighting for the changes that society needs to make.
Activism is at the core of feminism. Feminists have used activism as a tool to express their ideas and create social change since the beginning of feminism! Just think of the hunger strikes that the suffragists waged from prison cells or the women of the sixties hosting riots in support of birth control. Activism is key to any movement and feminism is no exception.
Learning to embrace equality is essential to ending oppression. Male privilege is real and its time that our society acknowledges and accepts that fact. Feminism is not the enemy. Women worldwide need us to use our voices to speak up against injustice. So come then, pick up your sign and join the movement; the fourth wave feminism movement.