Welcome back! This is post number two of an introduction to feminism, or Feminism 101. If you’re wondering about the other posts, you can check them out here:
Now let’s get cracking.
Why does feminism matter?
Put simply, feminism matters because it’s fighting for equal rights for all genders.
Yes, feminism is very much about fighting for women’s rights. But equality benefits everyone.
That means no matter who you are, feminism is helping you.
“But there are more important things to worry about!”
Sure, feminism might seem like it’s talking about trivial things in comparison to other global issues — if you’re only thinking of white feminism. The feminism that is for white people and deals primarily with issues that white women face, though many women of colour also face the same issues.
But stop and think about what feminism means for the rest of the rest of the entire world for a second.
1. In India, it is LEGAL for women to be raped by their husbands… as long as they are older than fifteen. Only as recently as late last year did the Indian government agree to criminalize marital rape.
(And according to the same source above, “marital rape became illegal in the UK in 1991 and was criminalised in all 50 US states by 1993.” That’s pretty freaking recent.)
2. Over 200 million girls and women have had their genitals mutilated for non-medical reasons in 30 countries located in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
3. In China and India, infanticide might be illegal, but it is a result of cultural values — values that leave women inferior to men — that thousands if not millions of girls go “missing” within their first year of life, due to murder, neglect, or other inhumane treatment.
These countries don’t even know how many female infants have gone missing.
And these are only a handful of places with these issues.
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Feminism matters around the world — not just here in North America.
Women are fighting every single day to be treated like the humans that they are, and whether that means fighting for their rights to live, or their rights to have control over their own body, or for equal pay — all of it matters.
It’s not “just” about closing the wage gap, stopping objectification of women, and changing gender roles.
It’s about changing how women are seen and treated — in every way.
It’s true that where I live in Canada, I’m not in the same sort of danger as a woman in Africa, the Middle East, or Asia.
But that does not mean my struggle is pointless.
It does not make what I fight for pointless.
The fact that people even try to tell women in the Western world that what we fight for is futile compared to other parts of the world — just that fact — is part of why we need feminism.
Because it’s telling us that one form of sexist discrimination is somehow justifiable.
For some reason, it’s okay that both the US House of Representatives and the Senate is composed of 81% and 80% men, respectively.
In fact, this is the first time in history that there is a balanced cabinet in Canada. The first time.
But that’s fine, right?
It’s also fine that the media over-sexualizes women. (I mean, merely two years ago, 97% of creative directors in advertising were male. Probably straight too, by the looks of the advertising we all see everyday. But that’s fine, too.)
It’s fine that 1 in 2 women have experienced sexual violence victimization besides rape at some point in their lives, because since 1 in 5 men do, it’s irrelevant. (Instead of realizing that we could help everyone, we just shut women out. It’s fine.)
It’s no big deal that our very language discriminates, too.*
If you want to do something about these inequalities, download my mini ebook and learn how you can!
Even in a society where women don’t have the same fears as women on the opposite side of the world, they still are seen as less.
They are still being told that they should settle for less.
Their voices still don’t matter.
And it’s not going to stop unless we fight it.
That is why feminism matters.
Why do you think feminism matters?
* I would question the last point in the referenced Bust article, but I believe that the other points are strong.