Destigmatizing the feminist movement

Read this:

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Sounds like common sense, right? Wrong.

This line about equality between the sexes is one of the provisions included in the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Virginia recently was the 38th state to ratify the ERA, and by doing so the bill is finally eligible to become a national law. However, due to a deadline set to pass the bill back in 1982, the bill is under considerable controversy.

The bill was first brought to Congress in 1972, where it passed both chambers without a hitch. There should be no dispute about the ERA. But unfortunately, this is not the case. Thus, it is more relevant than ever to talk about the importance of the feminist movement.

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite gender-based topic: the wage gap. According to the U.S Department of Labor, the median household income for full-time, year-round female employees is 79% of what their male counterparts make. This is a large gap that has not changed much over the last decade.

In addition, the Department of Labor also reported that there is a significant drop in women’s salaries after having children— something that men don’t experience. This is due to the ingrained idea that women are the ones who need to stay home with children, while the men are the breadwinners of the home.

In the political world, the gap between the sexes and their rights is not much better. While the number of women in politics has increased in recent years, the United States is still ranked 75th out of 193 countries in a study conducted by the United Nations on female political representation. To put this into perspective, Saudi Arabia, which only started letting women vote and run for governmental positions in 2015, is not far behind at 102nd.

“That’s really disappointing,” Caleigh Boswell said (12) when informed of this statistic. “The government should be doing more to improve those numbers.”

She’s right. In order to truly have equality between the sexes, we as a country must give women a fair representation within the government.

The fact of the matter is that feminists are forward thinkers: they seek to improve the world for everyone. They represent progress for the United States, and it makes perfect sense that they would be frustrated at the slow rate of improvement they have seen.

Unfortunately, feminism has been the subject of ridicule for many years and has had even more negative associations to its name recently.

In today’s age, feminists are portrayed as extremely radical individuals— women who hate men and believe they are superior to them in every way. To be a feminist is a slur, an insult— almost a branding of sorts.

Because of this, many women feel the need to disassociate themselves from the word, as well as the movement. Is this because they don’t think women should have equal rights? No. What it means is that our country has made something that should be more than reasonable into something that appears to be lunacy.

“I am hearing the word ‘radical’ used in front of the word ‘feminism’ a lot,” said Mrs. Macias, one of the teachers who hosts the Dare to Empower lunch and learns. “It makes us look like throbbing, burning progressive women who want to take over the world, except it’s just common sense.”

It is simply horrible that it has come to this. We need to stand up for feminism. And, overall, we need to stand up for anything and anyone who is being deprived of equal rights.