The Definition of Feminism

Feminism, noun – the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.

Imagine being a person that has to face a field of injustices daily. You wake up every morning and go to a job that doesn’t pay you the same amount as your co-workers…who perform the exact same tasks.

While at work, you are subjected to unsettling and uncomfortable conversations with your co-workers, or those in charge — conversation topics that aren’t appropriate in the workplace.

Suddenly a hand placed on your lower back. And it stays there longer than you want.

Following all of that, you leave work — only to travel far and wide for adequate healthcare. On the way, you are subjected to whistles and catcalls, and are at a statistically higher risk of being physically assaulted.

You finally get to the doctor, only to be greeted by protesters, shaming you for getting treatment. In fact, you have to be escorted by security to ensure your safety.

You get home, only to have to wake up and face something similar in the morning.

For many women, this imagination is their reality. They are expected to be subjected to this actuality, and stay silent about it.

For as long as women can remember, there is a long road of inequality between the sexes. Women did not always have the right to an adequate education, the right to vote, or even access to equal paying jobs. Among these inequities between genders come societal pressures placed upon women that leave them with fewer opportunities, making it harder for women to rise above them.

Now, in 2018, women have a different variety of setbacks than those who came before them. Some will take these differences and proclaim that being a woman in the 21st century is easy – nothing worthy of discussion.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Struggles that today’s women face are simply different than earlier endeavors. However, this does not mean that the inequalities between men and women were fixed completely.

Societal pressures upon the female population are more prevalent than ever – pressures to look, and act, in a manner that is pleasant to men around them, yet not to speak out against injustices they face in daily lives.

Women still earn an estimated 83-percent of what their male counterparts earn. Women of color earn statistically less than white women, too. This can still be seen today. Despite the Equal Pay Act, a law that demands equal pay without gender discrimination, E! News anchor Catt Sadler was making less than half of what her male co-host made.

Sadler, an Indiana native, grew up in a city very similar to ours. Our mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends face these blatant gender biases even today. Despite laws being passed to prevent them, these biases still run rampant in a woman’s life.

The definition of feminism has changed between the time of suffragettes. Then, female activists fought for the right to vote. Now, women are able to be a candidate for the United States presidency.

Women no longer have to fight for equal rights, but instead for equal opportunities. Today’s feminism is also more inclusive when it comes to race, sexuality, and gender identity.

But for some, the word “feminism” is the only thing noticed in a society full of wrongdoings and inequality. Those who speak down to women, and claim that “it’s what men do” claim that the movement is about the superiority of women, or putting men down. As there are extremists in most ideals – predominantly religion – there, too, are those who take the idea of feminism, and twist it into something of their own.

In today’s social climate, more and more stories of sexual assault and abuse are coming to light, exposing some of the world’s most trusted household names as perpetrators.

As a society, we have created the environment that holds half of the population back from their full potential, and lets the wrongdoers hide behind the notion that women overreact or were asking for it. Why?

As a society, we must right our wrongs and do better to allow everyone in our country the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In this issue of the Hyphen, we explore the topics of feminism, and what it’s like to be a woman in today’s society – struggles, inequalities, empowerment – all tales that are connotated with womanhood.

As a staff, we believe in the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. We hope that by reading this issue, we can encourage you to empower everyone around you – no matter their gender.


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