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Feminism in the United States

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Feminism (WP) has played an important role in the history and culture of the Wikipedia:United States. Beginning in the late 1800s, women fought for their rights to be heard and allowed to vote. In the next century the desire for women to become more socially equal was the focus of the feminist in the United States. Now in the more modern wave of feminism in this country, the emphasis has shifted to enforcing the equality of all women, no matter their ethnicity, social standing, or sexual orientation.

First wave Edit

Main article: Wikipedia:First-wave feminism

During the late 1800s, following the end of the Wikipedia:American Civil War, feminists such as Wikipedia:Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Wikipedia:Susan B. Anthony began to campaign for Wikipedia:women's suffrage in the United States. Stanton and Anthony led the Wikipedia:National Woman Suffrage Association or the NWSA when it was established in 1869. This was the same year that the Wikipedia:American Woman Suffrage Association came to be.

The Wikipedia:Seneca Falls Convention was held between July 19–20 in 1848 with Stanton and Wikipedia:Lucretia Mott where several discussions were held to debate the roles for women in society. During these meetings, Stanton devised a declaration of how women have been discriminated by men and the laws of the past known as the Wikipedia:Declaration of Sentiments. Stanton also provides a list of resolutions describing how women should be treated equal.[1]

American women were finally granted universal suffrage in 1920 with the passage of the Wikipedia:Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This prohibited any citizen being denied the right to vote based on gender.

Second Wave Edit

Main article: Wikipedia:Second-wave feminism

The Second-wave feminism began nearly as soon as Wikipedia:World War II had ended. The end of the war had proven that women were fully capable of retaining the jobs that men had abandoned when they were deployed to battle.[2] They sought to be freed from the traditional roles of housewife and caregiver, and wished to occupy a higher prevalence in the work force.[3] thumb|During the war women assumed the jobs men weren't available to do.

In the early 1960s Wikipedia:Betty Friedan wrote a controversial book entitled Wikipedia:The Feminine Mystique in which she critiqued the patterns of middle class women in the United States at the current time. Her emphasis focused on the assumption that women had no other roles in life other than wife and mother. Furthermore, Wikipedia:Betty Friedan began encouraging women to strive to find their own callings in life and seek other personal and professional roles in a society that was deemed male-dominated. [4]

During this time, women started to seek more interest in removing gender discrimination in the workplace. In 1966, roughly 30 women including Betty Friedan formed Wikipedia:National Organization for Women where they sought to bring awareness to all the limited access women have had in mainstream society. Their goal was to reach full equality with that of men. Their founding chair members were:

Third Wave Edit

Main article: Wikipedia:Third-wave feminism

The Third Wave chooses not to have a structured or specific definition of feminism because many feel it is best to challenge the universal belief of what femininity is. The Wikipedia:Third-wave feminism took form in the early 1990s when minority women such as Wikipedia:Rebecca Walker shed light on the lack of attention being drawn to women of color, non heterosexuality, and the younger generations. This is more a general term for the modern feminism and the progressions they have made since the Wikipedia:second-wave feminism [5]

The Third Wave did not have a central or specific goal that they wanted to focus all their efforts into. Instead they stood for a greater sense of equality for all; whether it be race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or social class.Template:Citation needed Some of the bigger issues that modern feminists choose to address are that of gender violence, reproductive rights, derogatory language, sexual harassment.

In recent years more groups have formed such as the Third Wave Foundation that seeks to donate their time in the development and recognition of the resilience and leadership amongst women who may be young, transgender, or gender non conforming youth. [6]

In 2013, thousands of men and women brought feminism to the social media sphere by posting pictures of themselves holding signs saying, "I need feminism because..." with messages ranging from the subject of eating disorders to rape, these individuals showed us that we do in fact ALL still need feminism, because equality has not yet been achieved and oppression is happening in plain sight every day.(Swanson)(Morris M.)In a newstatesmen article published in May of 2013, Rihannon Choslet and Holly Baxter identify the “five main issues facing modern feminism as… the division of domestic labor, the media, the glass ceiling, social inequality, and violence against women.”aside from the recent efforts to establish equal pay (which has still not been accomplished, “the reality of the workplace in numbers is that 22 out of 197 global heads of state are women; the percentage of women at the top in job sectors ranging from government to journalism to law in the UK and US levels out at 22 per cent; 18 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are female; women returning to work after having children are likely to see their careers progress downward rather than upward”(Baxter). The media places an extremely high standard for the appearance of females today; from photo shopping the skin of Beyonce, lupita nyong’o, and Gabourey Sidibe to look lighter (something you would not see in a sports magazine on an African-American football player), and the handpicked selection of extremely thin models in fashion magazines, to the unnatural and sexualized image of females in video games (Huffington Post). The media is having a vast effect on the self-esteem of women and young girls. One study even showed that 70 per cent of girls under 7 say they want to be thinner (Cosslett, Baxter). a study done among 1000 adults in the U.S. divided up by political party revealed that the majority of people believe "feminism" to be a negative term and 24 percent of republicans even went as far as to say that they do not support equality of the sexes. the reason feminism holds such negative connotations is simply a lack of education on the matter.If the world were more deeply educated on the true meaning of feminism and it’s widely differentiating forms, most people would surly find one application of the term with which they agree. For instance the “radical” and “Marxist” feminist categories believe that gender is (in one way or another) a socially constructed concept; while the “gender essentialists” and the “ecofeminists” have based their ideals on the belief that there are fundamental differences between men and women. “Liberal feminism began with the assumption that there is a common rational human nature that transcends gender differences” (Boss, 377). During the 1960’s liberal feminism moved into its second wave, also known as the women’s liberation movement during which time they focused in primarily on equality through economic independence and abortion rights. Although people seem to associate feminism and its message with the radical feminists views such as their idea that “women who want motherhood and marriage are operating under a false consciousness” (Boss, 377) they make up only a very small percentage of the movement. Most feminist’s beliefs fall in line more closely with that of the gender essentialists system which is based on the fact that “there are essential, innate differences between men and women, however… they do not see this as justifying men’s dominance over women. Instead women’s distinctive nature is to be valued and liberated” (Boss, 379). The problem that is stopping the feminist movement’s progress is the lack of education surrounding the matter. 3rd wave feminism focuses on the key issues still at hand as well as how to pave the road for women into the future. If more people understood what the modern day ‘feminist’ was trying to accomplish, maybe our generation would be less reluctant to claim the word.

See also Edit

References Edit

Wikipedia:Category:Feminism in the United States

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