You’re Probably A Feminist. You Just Don’t Know It.

Posted on October 15, 2010

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Contrary to what many believe, feminism didn’t begin at the Miss America Pagent of 1968 when a group of women burned their bras. Over 500 years before the scent of smoking undergarments, women were writing and speaking on behalf of their rights.  The modern suffragist movement began in the eighteenth century in France.  In  1920, women were given the right to vote in the United States.

 In 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in Congress.  It proposed the following: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
 The ferment of the late 1960s led to the modern women’s liberation movement, built on the feminists who came before, as well as on the civil rights movement. Feminism is the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. 


The Equal Rights Amendment passed the U.S. Senate and then the House of Representatives, and on March 22, 1972, the proposed 27th Amendment to the Constitution was sent to the states for ratification. However, in 1977, Indiana became the 35th and,so far, the last state to ratify the ERA. The Equal Rights Amendment was reintroduced in Congress on July 14, 1982 and has been before every session of Congress since that time.

                                                                                                                                                 

In spite of the fact that feminism speaks only of equal rights, huge misconceptions have arisen about the nature of feminists. Pat Robertson, talk show host and former presidential candidate, described feminism as a “socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”  Many people believe that in order to be a feminist one must be a “loud, abrasive, man-hating, lesbian,” and must “give up makeup and skirts, stop shaving, and abandon one’s religion.” Others don’t even have an opinion because they believe that since women now have equal rights in our modern society, feminism went the way of the dinosaur. For years now, one magazine or another has an article titled “Is Feminism Dead?”

 

Neither belief is true.  Feminists believe in equal rights for both genders, a notion that shouldn’t seem radical in our modern age.  And, while there are feminists who are lesbians, there are also feminists who are heterosexual.  Feminists run the same gamut of social, political, religious, and sexual orientation as does the general population.  And the belief that women have achieved equal rights already is dangerously misguided.  For example, the workplace pay gap between men and women has actuallygotten worse.

                                                                       

Democracy is government by the people. It seems a no brainer to me that a population that has equal rights will make for a stronger government. For that reason, alone, we should all be proud to label ourselves feminists.

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