The Many Faces of Feminism

. September 1, 2017.
feminism_splash_0917

he term feminism describes a movement (economic, cultural. educational or political) to promote equal rights and protection for women. The first feminist activity was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, followed by a second rise in activity in the 1960s and 1970s. The third wave, which began in the 1990’s, continues now in the present.

History

Feminists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries launched the women’s suffrage movement and right to vote. In the 60’s feminists campaigned for legal and social rights for women, while the third wave is largely concerned with other issues of equality, such as ending discrimination.

The majority of activity in these feminist movements have been led by middle-class white women from Western Europe and North America. This middle-class trend accelerated in the 1960’s but did not gain widespread momentum until the 1970’s. There were some notable woman who spoke out on the issues, such as Katherine Hepburn in the 1942 film, Women of the Year.

Betty Friedan, considered a pioneer of feminism due to her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique, criticized the idea that women could only find fulfillment through childrearing and homemaking. According to Friedan’s New York Times obituary, The Feminine Mystique “ignited the contemporary women’s movement in 1963 and as a result permanently transformed the social fabric of the United States and countries around the world” and “is widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.”
The Women’s Liberation movement, born in 1964, was a dominant topic in newsprint commentary at the time. A much touted activity associated with the movement was the act of bra-burning, the number of instances of that actually happening remains in question.

The 90’s until today

From 1990 until today feminism continues with the political, economic and cultural issues at the forefront of the movement. Feminists today want to deemphasize the influence of middle-class white women as defining femininity culture.
Feminism has altered perspectives, as activists today campaign for women’s educational and legal rights, a woman’s rights to her body – including access to abortion and family planning, protection of women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape; workplace rights, including maternity leave and equal pay and against other forms of gender-specific discrimination against women.

Gloria Steinem, a native Toledoan, founder of Ms. magazine and prominent national leader in the 1960’s and ‘70’s movement, came to Toledo in November 2015 to speak in support of her book My Life on the Road. Steinem commands a grasp of the challenges facing women today, as she described how the movement has changed since the 60’s and the need for continuous education and awareness to intelligently combat the inequalities women face.
Feminist issues that were huge in the 60’s and 70’s such as universities only admitting a certain number of women, the freedom of wearing pants to work, having to quit a job because of a pregnancy, males with less experience demanding equal pay based on antiquated norms and stereotypes, are no longer concerns, or concerns have been lessened, today.

Today the call for feminism tackles world issues such as poverty and disparity in educational opportunities, social concerns like domestic abuse, trafficking and harassment, women’s treatment in the workplace, LGBT struggles and taking a stand against slut shaming, all newer developments in the movement. Defending reproductive rights, combatting pay gaps and becoming more inclusive also continue to be concerns. A major dialogue continues regarding how to overcome the practice and perception of these issues as being dominated by white women and how to crusade against these obstacles that continue for all women in the world today.

What Now

Some say we now are in the post-feminism stage, an ambivalent reaction to feminism, claiming that equality has been achieved and it is now time to turn the focus to other issues. Clearly some younger women who have grown up without the disparity in treatment are uncertain as to the need for feminism and see the movement as antiquated or unrealistic. Others, instead of staunch rejection, are mindful of the movement’s history and focus on greater unity in defending women’s rights.

Feminism means working together for the betterment of woman – culturally, educationally, economically, and politically. Over the generations the movement has advanced. Perhaps not to the point of equality for women, but trending in that direction. MLiving asked several local women their thoughts about feminism.

Olivia Summons (top left), Elaine Canning (middle), Kathy Carroll (top right), Laura Williams (bottom left), Karen Lucas (bottom right).

Olivia Summons (top left), Elaine Canning (middle), Kathy Carroll (top right), Laura Williams (bottom left), Karen Lucas
(bottom right).

Olivia Summons

Women today do it all. In the home and on the job; we mother and we are professionals. Feminism is the support system that all women need to succeed.

Elaine Canning

Feminism is freedom. What works for a woman at one stage of her life might be different at another stage. We have to thank Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, considered pioneers in the movement. Because of them many of us did not have to carry the extremist banner, but all women have benefitted from their largesse.

Kathy Carroll

In the 70’s we wanted to have it all, and then we had to do it all to have it all. Now women of a certain age are tired, but the struggle for equality still continues. The mantle must be taken up by younger women who want to insure that their rights and opportunities continue to thrive.

Laura Williams (age 29)

I have traveled around the world for the last two years. I now realize how far the United States has come in the treatment of women’s issues. But I see how far we have to go in the rest of the world – the need is IMMENSE!

Karen Lucas

Feminism stands for change and opportunity. Why should women be treated as second class citizens when women are every bit as professional and gifted. Any path a woman chooses to pursue should have as few obstacles as possible for success.

feminism-rae-glover

Rae Glover (age 16)

As a member of a dance team that competes on a state level, I am continuously made aware that we are not considered athletes and our team achievements are not as notable as that of soccer player or a football team; therefore not relevant for sports news. While this is might be a small issue -how can that inequality happen today? It shouldn’t. Feminists can be 16 or 66 – we must believe that we are relevant and can make a difference to see the change we want.

feminism-laura-glover

Laura Glover (age – 40’s)

As a daughter of a strong woman (the editor or MLiving News) who encouraged my dreams, I have seen how the feminist movement has helped my generation realize monetary gains and parity in the workplace, addressed rights issues and continues to monitor inequality. I feel that women must work harmoniously and become aware of what issues still need to be addressed around the world. While gains in this country are notable, many in the world still suffer.

ballas-toledo-feminism

Marianne Ballas

My grandmother never drove an automobile. Today, only two generations removed, I own an automobile dealership. All of this happened because women had the courage and the determination to equalize a woman’s rights economically and socially with that of men. Our obligation is to not let those courageous women down, because had it not been for them, none of my opportunities would have been possible. As modern feminists we can never stop striving to be better and to help mentor young women.

 LouAnn Brettel (back left), Marlene Lachine (back right), Keiran Menacher (bottom left), Cynthia Beekley (bottom right).

LouAnn Brettel (back left), Marlene Lachine (back right), Keiran Menacher
(bottom left), Cynthia Beekley (bottom right).

LouAnn Brettel

Marlene Lachine

The sky’s the limit and potential is limitless. We need young women who are passionate and will take charge of their life while leading the next phase of the feminist movement.

Keiran Menacher

I went to a progressive all girl Catholic high school and we were taught to explore and do different things. My advice to all younger women – do not feel that you are limited and with ambition do your best to compete in today’s world.

Cynthia Beekley

My mother was a feminist because my father was a chauvinist. She supported me, which made a difference. Every woman of every age should embrace the feminist movement and stand up to make their own decisions. How dare you allow someone else to make a decision for you? A woman must possess the knowledge and investigate, rather than assume or be grateful for a “small pay raise” or a “pittance promotion” when others with less experience receive more.

he term feminism describes a movement (economic, cultural. educational or political) to promote equal rights and protection for women. The first feminist activity was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, followed by a second rise in activity in the 1960s and 1970s. The third wave, which began in the 1990’s, continues now in the present.

History

Feminists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries launched the women’s suffrage movement and right to vote. In the 60’s feminists campaigned for legal and social rights for women, while the third wave is largely concerned with other issues of equality, such as ending discrimination.

The majority of activity in these feminist movements have been led by middle-class white women from Western Europe and North America. This middle-class trend accelerated in the 1960’s but did not gain widespread momentum until the 1970’s. There were some notable woman who spoke out on the issues, such as Katherine Hepburn in the 1942 film, Women of the Year.

Betty Friedan, considered a pioneer of feminism due to her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique, criticized the idea that women could only find fulfillment through childrearing and homemaking. According to Friedan’s New York Times obituary, The Feminine Mystique “ignited the contemporary women’s movement in 1963 and as a result permanently transformed the social fabric of the United States and countries around the world” and “is widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.”
The Women’s Liberation movement, born in 1964, was a dominant topic in newsprint commentary at the time. A much touted activity associated with the movement was the act of bra-burning, the number of instances of that actually happening remains in question.

The 90’s until today

From 1990 until today feminism continues with the political, economic and cultural issues at the forefront of the movement. Feminists today want to deemphasize the influence of middle-class white women as defining femininity culture.

Feminism has altered perspectives, as activists today campaign for women’s educational and legal rights, a woman’s rights to her body – including access to abortion and family planning, protection of women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape; workplace rights, including maternity leave and equal pay and against other forms of gender-specific discrimination against women.

Gloria Steinem, a native Toledoan, founder of Ms. magazine and prominent national leader in the 1960’s and ‘70’s movement, came to Toledo in November 2015 to speak in support of her book My Life on the Road. Steinem commands a grasp of the challenges facing women today, as she described how the movement has changed since the 60’s and the need for continuous education and awareness to intelligently combat the inequalities women face.
Feminist issues that were huge in the 60’s and 70’s such as universities only admitting a certain number of women, the freedom of wearing pants to work, having to quit a job because of a pregnancy, males with less experience demanding equal pay based on antiquated norms and stereotypes, are no longer concerns, or concerns have been lessened, today.

Today the call for feminism tackles world issues such as poverty and disparity in educational opportunities, social concerns like domestic abuse, trafficking and harassment, women’s treatment in the workplace, LGBT struggles and taking a stand against slut shaming, all newer developments in the movement. Defending reproductive rights, combatting pay gaps and becoming more inclusive also continue to be concerns. A major dialogue continues regarding how to overcome the practice and perception of these issues as being dominated by white women and how to crusade against these obstacles that continue for all women in the world today.

What Now

Some say we now are in the post-feminism stage, an ambivalent reaction to feminism, claiming that equality has been achieved and it is now time to turn the focus to other issues. Clearly some younger women who have grown up without the disparity in treatment are uncertain as to the need for feminism and see the movement as antiquated or unrealistic. Others, instead of staunch rejection, are mindful of the movement’s history and focus on greater unity in defending women’s rights.

Feminism means working together for the betterment of woman – culturally, educationally, economically, and politically. Over the generations the movement has advanced. Perhaps not to the point of equality for women, but trending in that direction. MLiving asked several local women their thoughts about feminism.

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