Is feminism a positive or a negative concept- Part 1

Contributor III

Recently, I've started looking through YouTube shorts or browsing Instagram shorts, and one of the things that stood out to me is the concept of modern-day feminism. At one time or another, as females, we considered ourselves feminists. But what did we ever mean by the term 'feminist’ as mere teenagers, and how did the concept of feminism change as we got older?

As a teenager, when I first heard the terms feminism and feminist, I envisioned

  1.   A woman who was strong
  2.   A woman who could manage a family and get a career at the same time
  3.   A woman who never takes no for an answer
  4.   A woman who respects herself and knows her worth
  5.   A woman who is a protector
  6.   A woman who was never afraid to say when she needed help
  7.   A woman who desires to be everything, a mother, a wife and a CEO
  8.   A woman who leads by example
  9.   A woman who knew her principles and stood on those very principles
  10.            A woman with character and integrity

I wanted to be that woman, however, as I got older, I realized that my idea of feminism was so wrong. The concept and meaning of feminism have never fully enlightened me.

So what is feminism?

This is a word today that has so many different meanings because the concepts of gender have rapidly changed over the years. My definition of feminism was equality between males and females, the simple concept that a woman is just as capable of performing a job as a man.

Traditionally, when women were fighting for equality, it was simply for them to have a voice and be heard. Today the definition of a small word speaks about equality but another question arises;

What is equality?

In today's world, we have people who consider themselves traditional feminists or modern feminists. Both terms focus on equality but differ in so many different aspects.

Let’s look at both areas

  1. According to what we were informed, the concept of equality was always a crucial concern for women. However, the first significant political event in Western history occurred in the 19th century, following the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft's ground-breaking Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792. It would be astonishing to learn that only 200 women, out of the millions that live in this nation, have gathered to fight for this freedom. It led me to wonder what happened to the other 100,000 people. However, these 200 people requested the right to vote, which was eventually granted in 1920, though theoretically, this occurred 30 years after New Zealand.  However, I suppose staying at home and taking care of your family was considered a crime at the time. These women wanted to be regarded as humans and not as things. I do not disagree with the desire of women to vote and to change the world and 200 women did make a difference for all women 100 years later, but was this impact a negative or a positive? Let's now consider where feminists led next. 
  2. Women later were not satisfied with just the ability to vote or be heard, no, it was not enough. In the  1960s and 1970s, women began to challenge they role in society, this was going, the idea of traditional gender and family roles was in question and the queer theory was established. During that time, women had great victories ( according to them), with the ability for Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Roe V Wade in 1973 ( a case that brought about great debate 50 years later) In my view, the things that should have been victories begin to turn into abuse of rights. It was during that time we started to see different types of feminism; liberal, radical, cultural, This was truly the road of women being divided in what they considered to be right but a group of women with dividing principles. Let's look at these types
    1. Liberal feminists: the main focus was institutional reformation, they wanted a reduction in gender discrimination and for women to be able to have access to male-dominated spaces while having equality. In all true, this is evident today. While speaking to a gentleman in his 60s, I was informed that during his time working in the shipping industry, male-dominated, there would be a total of 2 women doing administrative work, but over time this began to change and the office moved from 2 women to women taking leading roles. Today he said that the ratio between males and females is 3:2, but women are in the leading roles. I asked him why he thought women were not dominating previously male-dominated spaces; his reply, males today have a lack of ambition and when you are constantly pushed down you give up. In Barbados, you would realise that the three major leaders of the country are all female. Does that make female domination better or are we creating the same issues where lack of balance is non-existent?
    2.  Radical Feminists: These feminists wanted to reshape society entirely because as still evident today they saw the systems as patriarchal because they believed men and women were different. But it's so funny, we want to remove the male system but still need the males for areas that females would consider too difficult or areas where we don’t have the physical makeup to accomplish. The fight against the so-called patriarchal system is real and the result, we have males today who are becoming more and more immaculate and women taking over the very thing we apparently hated about the male-dominated society, Where are the changes we made but taking up the very things we claimed to despise.
    3. And then we have the cultural feminists, with the same view as their counterparts however, they wanted to still be distinct from men. 

Here we see that feminism has evolved and so has the growing desire for equality ( equal pay, rights to their bodies and the list of rights goes on). But what seems to amaze me is that feminist wants all the gold but do not want to face the consequence of abusing that very gold. Give them the cake and allow them to eat it too. As feminists get their way, our sons and brothers are not able to understand what it means to be a man; what it means to protect, and what it means to provide. As we fight to be feminist our males are lost. 



Contributor III

I believe that true feminism is a positive concept. I believe to truly be feminist, we must define what feminism is before being dissuaded by radical feminism/ terf-ism and liberal feminism/ White feminism. Only when we understand what feminism is feminist movements can we progress.