If you occasionally watch or read news and online publications, you already know that in today’s society, feminism is one of the most polarizing issues. Celebrities and ordinary people voice their feminist views while those who oppose feminism find dozens of arguments in their favour. Find out what feminism actually is and how to be one in modern society!
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1. History of feminism
Feminism is a very complex issue, and even though it started to get more recognition in the past decades, the history of feminism dates back to the 19th century. To date, there have been four major waves of feminism:
- First Wave, which took place around the 19th and early 20th century. It all started with women forming a suffrage movement, which was intended to give the women a right to vote. Eventually, ladies did get a right to vote, but the full equality was still a long shot.
- Second Wave, which spanned across the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. This wave of feminism covered a wider range of issues, including equal pay, criminalization of domestic violence, and various concerns about women’s sexuality.
- Third Wave, which was launched in the 1990s in an attempt to achieve everything the Second Wave couldn’t. In addition to having many wins, the Third Wave of feminism is also notable for being the first truly inclusive feminist movement.
- Fourth Wave, which is taking place right now and is believed to have begun in 2008. The beliefs of the Fourth Wave feminism are based on intersectionality – an idea that people in the marginalised groups can unite and become stronger together.
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2. How to be a feminist
Feminism is a sensitive issue that is surrounded by lots of myths. Many people who didn’t do enough research on feminism think that being a feminist is all about hating men, not wearing makeup and nice clothes, and organizing huge marches in the street.
However, true feminism has little to do with misandry, which is a hatred of men, and other negative aspects of society. If you want to behave and feel like a feminist, here are a few helpful tips:
- If you are a woman, understand your worth as a woman. The biggest issue feminism deals with is equality, and only when you accept yourself as a complete equal to men, you can expect the society to treat you like an equal.
- If you are a man, understand that you are in a privileged position. Anywhere you are, from school to work, you likely receive preferential treatment simply because of your gender. The most common way inequality is displayed in the workplace is when men are paid more for the same work and are more likely to be promoted to higher positions. Male privilege is a very real thing, and it’s up to you to change society for the better.
- Notice and combat sexism. Sexism is prevalent in every society and it has become such a common thing that we barely notice it anymore. However, it doesn’t have to be that way! Noticing and calling out sexist behaviour in your workplace and social circle is one of the most effective ways to help the issue.
- Most women are, unfortunately, prone to judging other women, and this negative behaviour doesn’t help feminist causes. Women are judged for choosing a career over motherhood or choosing to be a mother instead of building a career; for wearing no makeup and for wearing too much makeup; for being reserved around men and for being open towards new relationships. If women stop judging each other, society will eventually do the same.
- Educate everyone around you. Even from early childhood, children are taught to accept their gender roles in society. Girls are delegated to be pretty and become good wives and mothers, while boys are told they can do anything they want. The key here is to bring up children with a sense of equality. The same goes for your social circle. If someone voices ideas that are far from feminist, it is your job to educate them as well.
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