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Modern problems, Modern day Feminism

"Sit like a lady!" "Come on man, men don’t cry!" "Excuse me, what gender are you? LGBTQ… ugh! I have lost count." Over time, our societies have been weighed down by stereotypes about gender, unfairly boxing people in, based on old-fashioned ideas. But in the midst of these limitations, something hopeful has emerged: the feminist movement. It's like a guiding light, pushing back against inequality and pushing forward for a world where everyone is included and treated fairly, regardless of gender.

From the very beginning when the feminist movement just started to today's time, it has gone through a great evolution. A great elevation could be seen in the journey of the feminist movement.Oftentimes, questions arise as to whether this movement is still needed. Some say it’s just a way of women’s ranting. Some call it a joke. It’s spoken in inverted commas by men, “Modern day- feminism” .

Some men argue that today's feminism is irrelevant. Some even go on to think of it as menace to their life. Their argument is that there are already so many laws for women’s protection  that they can not see this movement’s requirement anymore.


To understand the significance of feminism in the modern era, it is essential to recognize its historical context. The feminist movement has its roots in the 19th and early 20th century, when women began organizing networks and societies to demand political and social rights. The suffragette movement, for example, fought tirelessly for women's right to vote was a landmark achievement that paved the way for further progress.


Throughout the 20th century, feminism continued to evolve, addressing issues such as reproductive rights, workplace discrimination, and domestic violence. The second wave of feminism, which emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, focused on issues of equality and liberation, challenging traditional gender roles and advocating for women's autonomy and self-determination.


While laws may exist on paper, their effective implementation is often hindered by societal attitudes and biases. Women continue to face discrimination and harassment in various aspects of their lives, from the workplace to the home. Even when legal protections are in place, the pressure to conform to traditional gender roles can still exert a powerful influence, limiting individual freedom and autonomy.


Feminism, at its core, is about challenging these entrenched norms and empowering those who have been marginalized and oppressed. It is about opening doors that have long been closed to women, granting them the right to vote, access to education, and opportunities for career advancement. But feminism is not just about women—it is about dismantling the rigid gender roles that harm people of all genders.


For men, feminism offers liberation from the suffocating expectations of traditional masculinity. It encourages emotional expression and vulnerability, challenging the notion that strength is synonymous with stoicism. By advocating for men's mental health and well-being, feminism recognizes that patriarchy harms everyone, albeit in different ways.


Furthermore, feminism acknowledges and embraces the diverse experiences of individuals across the gender spectrum. It seeks to create a world where everyone feels safe and respected, regardless of their gender identity or expression. This means challenging harmful stereotypes and prejudices, whether they target women, men, or non-binary individuals.


Critics of feminism often accuse it of being "extra" or unnecessary, but the truth is that feminism's work is far from finished. In today's world, feminism encompasses not only the struggles of the past but also new challenges and responsibilities. It is about creating a more equitable society for everyone, where no one is limited by their gender.


In discussions surrounding feminism, there's often a recurring misconception that undermines the very essence of the movement. You might hear someone, typically a man, say something like “We're all equal, so can I slap a woman?”. "The question itself is baseless to begin with, since the reason we have to have a movement like feminism – even today - is that men have been abusing women for ages. So, this question is absurd because people already do. And the answer is “no, you may not.” This seemingly provocative question not only misses the point entirely but also demonstrates a profound ignorance of what feminism truly stands for. The idea that equality somehow grants permission for violence is not just nonsensical but deeply concerning. Feminism is about advocating for respect, dignity, and autonomy for all individuals, irrespective of gender. It's about challenging harmful stereotypes and behaviors, not promoting violence or discrimination. Therefore, dismissing feminism with such casual remarks not only belittles the serious issues of gender inequality but also perpetuates harmful attitudes and behaviors.

In recent decades, feminism has expanded its focus to include intersectionality, recognizing that gender inequality intersects with other forms of oppression, such as race, class, sexuality, and disability. This intersectional approach is crucial for understanding the diverse experiences of individuals and addressing the root causes of systemic inequality.


Today, feminism is more inclusive and intersectional than ever before. It recognizes that gender is not binary but exists on a spectrum, encompassing a wide range of identities and expressions. This inclusivity extends to all aspects of life, from education and healthcare to employment and politics.


One of the most significant achievements of modern feminism is its impact on laws and policies around the world. Thanks to the efforts of feminist activists and advocates, many countries have implemented legislation to protect women's rights and promote gender equality. These laws cover a wide range of issues, including equal pay, reproductive rights, and protection from gender-based violence.


But we know, as citizens, that just an on-paper protection is not enough for “protection”. For real protection, we have to remove the deep-rooted inequality, the deep rooted misogyny from the mind of our society as a whole. We sure have made the necessary laws, but now is the time to make our hearts and minds, too, more loving and inclusive. 


Another thing to think about is how feminism isn't just a thing in one place—it's a global movement. Yeah, women and gender minorities might face different challenges depending on where they live, but the fight for equality is real everywhere. Think about it: what it means to be a woman or a man can vary a lot from culture to culture. So, while feminism might have made big wins in some countries, there are still places where women are fighting just to be heard or to have basic rights. But it's not all bad news. Feminist movements around the world connect, sharing ideas, and supporting each other. It's like this big global network of people pushing for change. And that's pretty cool, right?


In conclusion, feminism in today's world is far from being a joke—it is a vital and necessary movement for social change. By challenging gender norms, advocating for equality, and promoting inclusivity, feminism has transformed the lives of millions of people around the world. As we continue to strive for a more just and equitable society, feminism will remain as relevant and essential as ever.

Photo credit:  Andres McMurtrie ,Pexels

Edited by: Jaya Jha


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