Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a powerful leader in the modern day feminist movement, once said in a speech presented at TEDxEuston, We Should All Be Feminists, “Some people ask: ‘Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that? ’ Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.
The actions of the F1 generation of feminist women who sparked the women’s rights movement set an outline for feminism today. The women who pushed for constitutional reform gave women of every generation that followed a real leg to stand on when speaking out against the injustices and the unconstitutional treatments that they were facing daily. The Nation Women’s Suffrage Association, or the NWSA was the first organized group of people, not just women, who push for a rework of the societal norms that anchored women down to being nothing but a wife and a mother; property if you will.
These women were visionary, they saw a world where a woman wasn’t only chained to her house but would go out and start her own career where she could work alongside her male counterpart. This, however wasn’t the case and still today fully isn’t. Though the efforts of these amazing women of history, such as Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone for starting such organizations that pushed for reform, were addressed congressionally and even made such an impact as to change the Constitution by adding an amendment. However, the seeing of these women as somewhat of a property was an internalized behavior that unfortunately still exists today.
Even though these social restrictions mainly apply to the female population it really starts with how we raise our boy and girls; our children. In one of his famous quotes, Albert Einstein said, “the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting the same result. ” Women and Men are raised to follow the rules or norms of two “gender defining” concepts. Masculinity and femininity are two socially constructed words that basically define what a woman and a man is. Dictionary. com defines Masculinity as “ [a] possession of the qualities traditionally associated with men.
When you think of a man what words come to mind? In a study conducted by plannedparenthood. org, the top five words used to describe masculinity in a man were, independent, non-emotional, aggressive, tough-skinned, and competitive. Among the long list of these “manly” words and phrases, sexually aggressive was one of the phrases listed. In complete foil to masculinity, Dictionary. com defines femininity as “the quality of being female; womanliness. ” Following the study conducted by plannedparentgood. org on masculinity they also did a servay on words the general populous would use to describe women and their femininity.
The top five words that were used to describe a woman were, dependent, emotional, passive, sensitive, and quiet. These societal expectations of men and women are highly unrealistic and could be held against that of a superhero and a child. Using the words provided by Planned Parenthood, you could create an individual man or woman with any combination of these night and day words. Moreover, if we raise our boys not think that having any other emotion besides happy and angry is wrong, and we raise our girls to aspire more than a mother and wife we might could come to an even higher level of equality.
However, even today when we do have mothers who are also juggling careers and stay-at-home fathers, boys and girls are placed into specific gender roles that could model the way each side views the other. According to The World Health Organization on their web-post about sex and gender, “gender roles” are, “a set of societal norms dictating what types of behaviors are generally considered acceptable, appropriate or desirable for a person based on their actual or perceived sex. ” Traditional gender roles tell men they should be going to work; they should be fearless, emotionless and tough.
While they tell women they should be at home with the children being a mother and a homemaker. They tell women they should be prim and proper, never loud, and always be ready to serve their husbands. quoting Adichie, from her book, “We Should All Be Feminists,” “We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise you will threaten the man. ” Overall, they taught women to be subservient to men. These bars of hyperfemininity and hypermasculinity trapped men and women into these traditional ways.
However, these roles that men and women are placed under come from a traditional view of the sexes.. Present day, we have women in office and in very important positions. We also have men being stay at home fathers and taking care of their children. Infact in a study conducted by Louis Harris & Associates Inc on a woman’s contribution to her house hold income more than half the employed women (both single and married) that were surveyed said they provided at least half of their household’s income, and eighteen percent said they were their households sole provider.