by Abby Nye | Columnist
As the war for gender equality rages on, it is important to reflect on the progress we have made and how much farther we have to go. As proud as I am of our accomplishments, I cannot help but feel a deep sense of anger at the ways in which the feminist movement has had to bend and contort itself in order to make these gains.
The definition of feminism clearly refers to the raising-up of women to the place where men have been socially throughout history. Despite this obvious definition, there remains an intense backlash to the movement fueled by the fear that women are working to overtake men’s societal place.
The irony of this argument shines bright, considering the fact that women have always been viciously oppressed by men. The fear that people have toward the feminist movement is merely a reflection of the anger that has fueled the feminist movement from the very beginning. While the movement is largely made up of individuals who strive for gender equality, there certainly are a few individuals who fight for the radical feminist movement.
Radical feminists are often dismissed as “misandrists,” advocating for the creation of social spaces and services that are available only to women. This group believes that male presence alone contributes to the negative influences that oppress women. While I personally do not consider myself a radical feminist, I have a great appreciation for this particular movement and what it has done for the feminist movement as a whole.
I find it infuriating that the entire history of the social climate has aimed to oppress women and to defend the idea that men must be the only leaders. In fact, this is largely the climate we still live in. Especially within a Christian context, there is a backlash to the feminist movement that goes so far as to manipulate scripture to support this oppression. And yet, only the minute group of radical feminists is still considered “radical.”
As long as there are individuals who believe that men are greater than women in any way, there will no doubt be an opposing movement. The radical feminist movement isn’t really so “radical” considering it is simply the exact opposite of the social climate right now. While there is an exciting increase in the numbers of women filling places in leadership, men still dominate the majority of these positions.
The majority of politicians, CEOs and even all of America’s presidents have been men. In fact, according to The New York Times, more Fortune 500 Executives are names James than Fortune 500 female executives. There is no argument that can accurately claim that men are losing their place in society and becoming oppressed.
The radical feminist movement works to overthrow this disgusting power dynamic that causes women to remain in their subdued position. Why is this group labeled “radical” simply because they only advocate for women when there are well-established social structures that benefit only men?
In order for the feminist movement to make itself powerful and influential, there must be a radical group. Those who do not support gender equality will refer to this miniscule group as a way to “prove” that women are trying to overtake men. Ironically, this comes largely from those who already hold a higher place in the social structure.
The feminist movement has become what it is today because powerful, passionate and courageous women choose to fight for others. God forbid a social movement exists that empowers women and doesn’t center itself around men. We have constantly bent ourselves to reassure scared men that we aren’t trying to take away their power from the lowered place in society that those same men have kept us.
It takes practice and patience to be a part of the feminist movement. The women and men who fight for equality fight for a world in which all people have the chance to grow into whatever they choose to be. This movement is not about men. It is time to refocus our vision on the goal of equality and justice for all.