I chose to do my research paper on women’s rights and feminism. This topic is important to me because being a girl growing up in today’s society, I have experienced and witnessed the violation of rights.
Women’s rights guarantee that women will not face discrimination on the basis of their sex. Until the second half of the 20th century, women in most societies were denied some of the legal and political rights accorded to men. Although women in much of the world have gained significant legal rights, many people believe that women still do not have complete political, economic, and social equality with men. Throughout much of the history of Western civilization, deep-seated cultural beliefs allowed women only limited roles.
What is feminism? The Merriam Webster dictionary defines feminism as the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. The definition of women’s rights is legal, political, and social rights for women equal to those of men. A common idea that is associated with being a feminist is destroying the status in the esteem of men to build up women, or being a “feminazi”.
Feminists aim for equality not for the superiority of women over men. “Feminazi” is spread across the media by people who might not know the difference. At a women’s march in Washington D.C., around the time Trump was elected, Ashley Judd gave a speech called, “I am a nasty woman”. She’s quoting a 19-year-old girl named Nina Donovan who lives in Tennessee. Ashley Judd is a very serious feminist. In her speech, she says she’s a “nasty woman” in the sense that she’s not afraid to fight for equality and women’s rights.
Did you know that women of color get paid less? This is called a gender gap, the definition of a gender gap is the discrepancy in opportunities, status, attitudes, etc., between men and women. Women still get paid 80 cents to a man’s dollar, for the same job, and the same qualifications. The gender wage gap is different for women of different levels of education and for women of color. Black and Hispanic women are paid only 65 cents and 59 cents to the white man’s dollar. Men are also more likely to get a promotion than a woman, even if she is more qualified. Not only do women get paid less, but they do not receive equal benefits. Many large companies are refusing to cover the cost of IUDs, which can be $900 Birth-control can be more than $25 a month. Intrauterine devices are used to prevent pregnancies. Birth-control can be used for the same thing, but birth control is also used regulate menstrual periods, treat endometriosis, treat primary ovarian insufficiency, and it can treat amenorrhea and even prevent acne from forming. When taking birth control, you’re also less likely to deal with anemia. These, among many other things, are many reasons why girls and women use birth control. For example, Hobby Lobby claims that they will not pay for contraceptives because it violates their religious beliefs, which might be understandable. However, they pay for vasectomies and Viagra for men. A vasectomy is a procedure done to a man to prevent the pregnancy of the woman. An IUD and a vasectomy accomplish the same goal. They are both done to stop pregnancy, so why one is supported but not the other?
Birth control is also needed for other health reasons. So, how can they claim religious beliefs if they are paying for male contraception, but not female contraception? Outside of the work environment, women pay more for items. For example, tampons and pads get taxed as a luxury item, while Viagra and Rogaine do not. I’m not sure what’s so luxurious about periods, but I do know that paying for those objects is expensive. For example, let’s say you’re buying them at Walmart, which claims to be one of the cheapest stores. If you buy one box of U by Kotex tampons and one box of pads, they are $9.27 each, assuming you buy the average box and the average items. If you buy these every other month, every year from the age you are 12 to the age 60, which is a total of $5,339.52 and that does not include tax. This is also if the price doesn’t increase, which it does.
Another issue is razors. A Gillette Mens pack of four razors cost $5.97. While a Gillette women’s pack of three razors cost $6.97. We pay more for less. Companies can do this because these are items that women need and will pay for. While it doesn’t seem like much, it adds up.
Media has spread around the word “Feminazi”, which associates people searching for gender equality, with people who want to destroy men to build women. Being a feminist is hoping and standing for the quality of everyone; people who identify as male, female, or neither.
However, media is not always bad because media has helped to give feminists a platform to work on. For example, on January 20th, there’s a woman’s walk in Seattle about media and the connection between people has spread the word to people across Washington. Media has also given women a chance to connect with others who have experienced the same things as them, when they might not have had the opportunity to do so before the Internet was widespread. For example, #MeToo is a trend that is connecting sexual assault victims in over 70 countries and is giving victims a chance to be heard. These are some things that female anti-feminists have said. Most negative things said about feminism are generally wrong, like the last would depend on the person you’re talking to, again, feminism is about gender equality and not the superiority of women.
The second one is interesting because it claims that by having freedom, a woman is no longer mysterious, thus losing her appeal, which is basically saying that women are only interesting when they have to be dependent on a man or don’t have any rights. Just like any other group or idea, feminism has people that are against it and don’t support its ideas and beliefs.
Sexual-harassment plays a big part in equality rights. People are being raped and sexually harassed, and it’s not only women as the victims. A study ran by RAINN, The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Networking, states every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted and every 8 minutes that victim is a child. Only 6 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison. RAINN also says that 9 out of every 10 victims of rape are female. These are only the reported cases; many more are happening.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, sexual harassment is defined as undivided or unwelcomed verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature especially by a person of authority toward a subordinate. It can range from being severe and repetitive in the workplace or school to being honked or yelled at while walking down the street.
I think that sometimes we don’t realize that it can be small actions that can make a person want to crawl out of their skin. I personally have met very few girls who have not experienced in some form. We don’t realize the impact it can have on a girl’s self-esteem. You might think it would make her feel good, like she is seen as attractive, but it is the exact opposite. It does not feel good and it surely isn’t wanted. I’m saying this speaking from experience. A few months ago I was at the mall with a few of my friends; I decided to wander with one other friend by ourselves for a while. We hadn’t been walking very long when we realized that a group of older men were following us around, it wasn’t long before they tried to stop us and get us to leave the mall with them. My friend and I were getting scared because we were two teenage girls and if they were to have grabbed us there wouldn’t be much that we could do. We told them no and to stop or we would tell the store managers. They continued so we went to the cashier. The only available one was a guy who looked around same age us. We told him what had happened and what he said in return was shocking to us. He told us he wasn’t going to do anything because we should appreciate the attention and we probably had lead them on and that wasn’t nice of us, so we deserved whatever we got. Luckily, another store associate heard us and help helped out. My point is that because we were girls we were cornered by these guys and then were denied help because we were girls. Things like this happen all the time and go unrecognized or unreported.
Young girls in today’s society have learned to deal with stuff like this and it shouldn’t be OK for it to be a regular procedure and that people have to do it to have gender equality. This won’t completely stop sexual-harassment but it will make us realize why it is not OK to treat others like property; people one are not meant to be old. We are people, not property. The number of men who were filing sexual harassment case is committed by both men and women have doubled up for the last 15 years that either means that more men or being harassed or they feel more comfortable admitting it feminism strives to and these issues but also make victims you’re safe with telling when these things happen to them because these problems are so serious everyone deserves to be treated equally.