Feminism is defined as “a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic and social equality of the sexes”🔍
⚠️TW: mention of sexual harrassment and rape
Why is feminism still necessary in 2021?
The feminist movement is still fighting against the patriarchy in western society. The patriarchy is the unjust social system in which men hold primary power. This is present in social, political and economic mechanisms and reinforces male dominance over women.
People hold the idea that feminism is exclusively for women, when in fact the patriarchy is harmful to all genders…
Feminism is a movement for everyone affected by the patriarchy, to dissolve negative gender stereotypes that are still held against us today. The idea that men can’t cry or show emotion; that blue is a “boy” colour and pink is a “girl” colour; that women are simply assets for reproduction and housework.
Thankfully, due to first, second and third-wave feminism, we have come a long way in combating many restrictive rules against women. Things such as gaining the right to vote, go to university, access to contraceptives, and combating harmful social restrictions against men like mental health stigma and toxic masculinity.
However, as far as we have come, there is still a long way to go. Here are 5 ways in which our society is being impacted by institutionalised patriarchal values.
1. The role of male-dominated media👨🏻⚖️
With the media being male-dominated, we see women scrutinised for being sexual, for not being sexual enough; women are objectified by the media almost as if we are just items to be scored by how appealing we are to men. Female politicians are scrutinised by male journalists through suggestions that they are “too emotional” or “unqualified” to lead simply because they are women, therefore reinforcing sexist paradigms. Toxic masculinity in the male-dominated media also sees men be dissected for being “too feminine” or “too sensitive”.
2. “Boys will be boys”…👦
On a similar note, another factor to the maintenance of the patriarchy is the idea that “boys will be boys”. Men/boys are not held accountable for their actions, usually excused by this ridiculous statement. If a man participates in abuse against women, we should not excuse this behaviour, nor allow the media to excuse it. By condoning these actions we perpetuate the patriarchal paradigms of male violence against women and we become indirect participants of it.
3. Rape culture and consent💬
Another clear example of the patriarchal effects on our society is the promotion of rape culture and the conversation on consent. Victim blaming is at an alarming high, with the factor of what a person is wearing is used as an excuse for rape. Clothes are not consent. The popular comment “no means no” has been criticised for leaving a blank space which fails to mention that the absence of a no, does not mean yes. We should be promoting that “Yes means Yes”, erasing that grey area for the patriarchy to take advantage of us through victim-blaming.
“Most women and girls live in fear of rape. Men, in general, do not. That’s how rape functions as a powerful means by which the female population is held in a subordinate position to the male population, even though many men don’t rape, and many women are never victims of rape. This cycle of fear is the legacy of Rape Culture.”Women’s center, Marshall University
4. Normalised misogynistic language😔
Ever noticed how female anatomy-originated swear/insult words are used to imply weakness? Or how phrases such as “you ____ like a girl” are used as insults?
Stats from UK Feminista show that 29% of teachers in mixed-sex secondary schools say they hear sexist language in school daily.
Casual use of language that diminishes girls/women and their attributes creates a likely environment for sexist attitudes and sexual harassment.
5. Internalised misogyny💪
Although the majority of patriarchal paradigms in society are promoted by men, some are promoted by women, such as internalised misogyny. Internalised misogyny is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls. Women who experience internalised misogyny may express it by minimising the value of women, mistrusting women, and believing gender bias in favour of men. Internalised misogyny has reproduced a toxic culture that pits women against each other, teaching us that we must compete for either male attention or to simply be better than one another. As women who face oppression from the same oppressors, we should be helping bring each other up and working together to dethrone the patriarchy. We are all in the same boat.
Help to smash the patriarchy, educate others and raise these points. One day we will have equality, so let’s work together for a better tomorrow
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