We couldn’t think of a better time to give you a little insight on the history and background of feminism than this year. Why is that? Well, you might have noticed this vibrant and effective wave of strong, independent women who are ready to take on the job, especially as seen in the entertainment industry.
Throughout history, however, feminism has been given a bad name and many different groups have formed, all with the same aim: to define, establish and achieve political, economic and social equality of sexes. I personally find this topic very interesting, especially as a French woman. French journalist Agnes Poirier rightly claimed this week in an article in The Independent how different feminism is in France, compared to America and the UK.
Although I also think it’s important to understand how influenced the movement can be by culture, it’s urgent that people realize that feminism is about equality, not anti-male ideology or female empowerment.
History Of Feminism
The evolution of feminism is identified in three waves. The first acknowledged wave of feminism started in the 19th century in the UK, Canada, Netherlands and the US. This was the first official sign of organized feminism, where they held conferences and organized social reforms regarding guardianship of infants, property rights, professions etc. We don’t need to remind you, but after all, all the laws had been written by men.
Just like any other movement, this one took a while to kick off, but by the mid-1900s, most women around the world were able to vote. Making the first wave of feminism mainly led by suffragettes, who fought for their right to vote. Some other major events such as wars and economic crisis also helped the increasing opportunities for women to find more work, both to help the country and replace their husbands during the war. You could almost say it was a natural shift.
Once suffrage was granted to all women, the women’s rights movement saw a decline in action before the second wave of feminism, which mainly focused on sexual deliberation, family rights, and reproductive rights. There had to be a change in the cultural freedom of women, and they were successful. The early 1980s saw gradual change until the focus of the third wave shifted to a neglect of class and race in the feminist movement. We’re still in this last wave, where the definition of feminism is still struggling to find its real meaning and place in this society.
Different Types Of Feminism
Now that we’ve clearly seen the progress and amazing work of feminist groups throughout the centuries, it is also vital to understand feminism is strongly affected by cultures found worldwide. As quoted by The Independent, the main difference between types of feminism in different countries strongly depends on the attitude towards sex and towards men. This is a common topic we’re seeing lately, especially regarding recent gender gap pays and sexual harassment cases. Countries differ in the way to judge what is respectable and what isn’t, but in order to achieve equality, it seems paradoxical to protect women more than men, and vice versa.
Liberal Feminism: Sees change through political reform. They believe equality can be reached by changing laws.
Radical Feminism: Radical feminists believe that inequality exists because of sexism, which is deeply engraved into our society.
Socialist Feminism: Socialist feminists say that in order to find equality, women need to find their social and economic independence from the male society.
Cultural Feminism: Feminine behaviors need to be encouraged.
The Future Of Feminism
The future of feminism isn’t a sure fight, but the topic has certainly become increasingly fashionable due to trending celebrity feminists and various civil rights movements such as Black Lives Matter, which fights for equality for all. The only issue with feminism is that in order to truly achieve equality for all, a few things in our society have to change.
For one, although the narrative that feminism is “anti-male” is a misinterpretation intended to slander the movement, some extreme groups do put women in front of men. Secondly, in order to achieve equality, women need to work within the system they want to change. For example, ideas of power, independence and self-perception have to be worked on individually and can be personal. Work on yourself and think about what equality represents to you, live your life as an equal and inspire others to do the same!