Coming into this class I would definitely classify myself as a feminist, however the week’s readings quickly showed me that I had much to learn and that I think there’s a lot that many people do not understand about feminism.
In a recent encounter with one of my friends roommates, she said that she hates feminists. When we asked her why she thought that, she replied with the following idea: She blames feminism for the fact that she is expected by society to go to college and get an education so that she can work. She wished that she could just get married soon after high school and then be a housewife.
My friend and I’s counter to this was that she could still do this, however now other women also have the ability to decide their own future and that they don’t have to loose all of their rights. We also thought that if a woman is allowed to get an education and that it is accepted for her to be the bread winner of the family, then the husband gains the option to stay home and take car of the house and children.
This week’s readings solidified my opinion on this topic, and also strengthened it. The article on the history of the woman’s rights movement includes a bulleted list of specifics from the “Declaration of Sentiments”. The first one states “married women were legally dead in the eyes of the law”. It then goes into specifics on how this was. I did not realize just how true this was, and that married truly had no rights at the beginning of the women’s rights movement, they were pretty much property of their husbands. Without the women’s rights movement, my friends roommate would not be able to do many of the things she loves. For example she is very politically active, and I think that she would really miss her right to vote, should that be taken away from her.
The video on what feminism has actually accomplished then solidified the second half of my argument, that feminism is about mens rights too. Before this I did not know that men could also be granted paternity leave, which is very important due to varying household structures. Women having equal rights means that men also deserve to have the things that women allowed and that they aren’t. Men are expected to not show their emotions and be the bring winners of the family, but feminism can allow for the stereotypical family roles to be flipped as necessary so that families can do whats best for them.
Feminism does not say that my friend cannot be a housewife. It also does not say anywhere that people should look down on her for wanting to stay home and take care of her kids. It just means that she has the option to do that, but also the option to work. She has the ability to make decisions about her own life and body.
“What Has Feminism Accomplished?” Everyday Feminism. 2016. Web. 28 May 2016.
“History of the Women’s Rights Movement.” National Womens History Project. Web. 26 May 2016.