Why Embrace Feminism?
Sarah SchaeferVictoria University in Melbourne, Australia
In the modern day, some think that feminism is redundant. This thought is misleading, and in my opinion it is to a certain extent unfortunate, as those persons who actually understand feminism and its platforms realize the truths behind feminism’s necessary presence in society. The unfortunate aspect of why feminism is seen as morally threatening or redundant represents the lack of understanding about what feminism truly is and has always been about: equality.
The unfortunate representation of ‘stereotypical feminists’ is commonly portrayed by mainstream media as radical feminism; radical feminism can give feminism as a whole a stigma that is hard to shake. The stigma exists that all feminists are angry, hateful toward men, oppressed, spiteful women that want to banish the domination of patriarchy by any means, be that with violent protests or slander; radicalism has been known to overlook factors of race and class and solely focus on the gender divide.
A more relatable and approachable way to look at feminism is to view feminism issues as secular; race, class, ethnicity, location, etc., all contribute to the oppression of women and in turn the need for feminism. Oppression is not only caused by gender but also a combination of factors. It is also important to note that depending on region or country, the necessities of feminism vary. For example, in developed nations feminists argue to close the gap in salary divides between men and women. They call for flexible working hours, subsidized child care or the right to breastfeed in public. Whereas, in developing nations, feminists fight to defend basic human rights -the injustices on child labour laws, lack of formal education for children , lack of access to clean water, forced marriages, child marriage, ramped sexual abuse and rape, illegal sex trade/slavery, stonings, severly unreported domestic violence, lack of women’s suffrage, and social norms that oppress women daily. Despite reasoning or location, the principles of feminism aim to bring equality and fairness amongst genders.
Embracing feminism is not difficult or limited to women, as Bell Hooks suggests, men should also embrace the fight for equality, as they too can suffer from gender oppression and stigmatization. The reason why I am a feminist is basic; I believe being born a woman does not automatically limit your capabilities or control the outcomes of your life. I teach my daughter the same principles.
Gender equality is a human right, that should not be restricted or determined by a society that was established by western men to benefit western male ideologies of past times, which were imposed on the world. Patriarchal dominance should be over.
Women deserve to be treated as equals. The defining factors that limit, discriminate, oppress, divide, and label one gender as superior to another are redundant. Being a woman, mother, daughter, and/or wife does not make females property to utilize, or a pawn to move in a societal game dominated by a male visualization of who in the world should act in which pre-determined gender roles. Gender binaries are oppressive and because of this the need for feminism and the fight to achieve equality amongst sexes continues to hold valid importance that needs to be embraced and empowered to this day.
Sarah Schaefer is the mother to one daughter - Ana Sofia who turns 7 year in July. Sarah is a Bachelor student at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. Her university focus is International Community Development. This focus leads to much research in areas such as; Human Rights, Sociology & Women’s Rights (Gender & Feminism Studies). On top of dedicating time to studies and motherhood, Sarah is the Vice President of the Victoria University Arts Society and also the Women’s Officer for the Victoria University Student Union (VUSU). Sarah is employed by the University and manages a Student Promotion Team, with the objectives of improving campus life and student engagement/retention.