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“Women’s rights are a human right”, Hillary Clinton spoke to the United Nations in 1995. After that speech, she will be always be known as a hero for women and girls. Feminism has been fighting time over time from the past until now in lots of country in the world for women can be equal with men. And it does. Someone may ask: What is Feminism? According to Merriam- Webster dictionary, feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” It is a belief that men and women deserve equality in all opportunities, treatment, respect, and social rights. It points out throughout history men have received more opportunities than women. In the past women is under control of men. Now because of feminism, women become an independent so that they can go to work and have the right to vote or even become a leader of a country. They have been started from the beginning of the twentieth century when women had a very stereotypical role in society to an independent woman almost equally with men like now. How? Why? That is a lot of questions about woman affect the society and it changes the whole world.
Starting in the Roman days, women had to be reliant on the men and only them. Though the past when they start at Hunting and Gathering Societies men usually go out for hunting and women take care of their children. In Vietnam and another country, especially China, Japan, the husband was in control of wife and what they did and if they were not married, they were under their father’s control. If women married but their husband died, they had to under their son, if not have the son, either they lived alone forever or they would suicide for “going with their husband”. Women did not have the opportunity to go to school, Or they could study at home with their father without higher education. Women did not have the voice on anything, their father and husband was the one who decides all the problems in family and society. Not only women don’t have the right to choose her husband, but they also have to share her husband with other women. As men had all the power, women could not do anything besides listen to men.
In some culture, women also have the really less human right. In India, when a husband died for any reason than in his pyre, the wife immolates herself into it, it called Suttee. Even the wife doesn’t want to jump, the society and her family still put her to do it. In China, the women need to have food binding. The tiny feet had been wrapped in gauze and placed inside specially shaped “lotus shoes.” This makes women very difficult for a walk or even broken bone. Small feet indicated that a woman’s husband did not need his wife’s labor. In Africa, female have circumcision which is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. This surgery was done without anesthesia. They cut it to reduce female sexual desire, making a woman be a virgin at marriage and remain faithful to her husband. Women have also faced honor killings which are acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members to the female family member when she brings a shame upon the family. Women can be killed for some reasons, such as deny an arranged marriage, divorce, rape, lesbian, abusive husband, or committing adultery. this issue happened in the Americas, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Women were really in the circle that they could not get out. After all the inequality they began fighting back to get the human right.
In the nineteenth century that men were able to go to work and had a social life, while women stayed at home by taking care of the children and doing household. Throughout the 19th to the 20th century, women as a group have been fought for equality and the right to vote. The history of the modern western feminist movement is divided into three periods. Each period dealt with different aspects of the same feminist issues. They called these periods as a “wave” why? Let’s look at the definition of it. According to dictionary.com, wave as a verb means to move freely and gently back and forth or up and down. That means the movement to get the freedom of the women during the Feminism happen.
First-wave feminism began in the context of industrial society and liberal politics but is connected to both the liberal women’s rights movement and early socialist feminism in the late 19th and early 20th century in the United States and Europe. According to the wiki.dickinson.edu in the article Three Wave of Feminism, the first wave started strongly after Seneca Falls Convention which was held to discuss the ways that women were restricted while men were not, and hopefully make a difference in the law saying that it is illegal for women to vote. From Jim Fritz in the article “Feminism and its Effects on Society” said the first wave of Feminism also focused on the promotion of equal contract, marriage, parenting, and property rights for women. Thus, although women of color continued to contribute and representatives such as Ida B. Wells (1862–1931) and Mary Church Terrell (1868–1954) also struggled to show how the connection of sexism and racism behaved as the main means of White male dominance, the first wave of feminism involved largely of White, middle-class, well-educated women.
The argue is talk about women have equal respect for men and if women did not have the opportunity to vote then they had not been had a full citizenship. This concept is often called “equal-opportunities feminism” or “equity feminism.” It is characterized by the lack of distinction between sex and gender. Sex refers to biological differences; genes, hormonal profiles, internal and external sex organs. Gender defines the characteristics that a society or culture describes as masculine or feminine. So while your sex as male or female is a biological fact that is the same in any culture, what that sex means in terms of your gender role as a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’ in society can be quite a different cross-culturally. These ‘gender roles’ have an influence on the health of the individual.
In sociological terms ‘gender role’ refers to the personalities and behaviors that different cultures aspect to the sexes. What it means to be a ‘real man’ in any culture needs male sex plus what our cultures define as masculine characteristics and behaviors, likewise a ‘real woman’ needs female sex and feminine personalities. Even though biological differences were understood to form the basis of social gender roles, they were not considered a threat to the ideal of human equity, and biological differences were therefore not accepted as theoretically or politically valid reasons for discrimination. And it has ended by the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920, granting women the right to vote in all states.
The Second Wave of Feminism began in the early 1960s. Second-wave feminism is largely concerned with issues of equality beyond suffrage, such as ending gender discrimination. The human right of the women needed to be protected. In this wave, it was not focused just on the White Women anymore, they have the right for color-women also. After the two world wars, it showed that women could take men’s place in factories, that they could work outside the house as well as within it, and they could contribute to the economy. When men came back from the war and retook their old jobs from women who were doing them during the war also were given higher salaries which had made women more angry about this inequality. Therefore, the second wave started. Simone de Beauvoir wrote the book name “The Second Sex” which talked about the women’s roles in society and how it raised the idea of what women do and act, where gender roles had learned and forced upon women. The book had raised the question about why should women’s roles that forced them to be behind the men in workplace and home.
In 1969, the other significant feminist groups joined the protest to show how women in pageant competitions which were paraded like cattle. In this year, Katy Millett wrote: “Sexual Politics” which was about the patriarchal structure of society which controls sex, sexual expression, and ultimately politics and the narrative of political discourse. Millett also points out the first oppressed people based on sex and gender to oppression the society then extending later is race and class. In 1970, the movement expanded and continued to gain momentum. As the result, the “second wave’’ feminist movement proved to be a major social evolution for Western countries and the United States from the 1960s and later. Their major social change, such as women’s participation in the labor force, and increased success forced a major social awareness movement that questioned the roles of gender in society. The writers began to question apparent traditional gender roles and exposed social problems created by such roles on women.
The third wave of feminism began in 1990’s with the intent to change the ideas which were not fixed during the second wave. It focused criticism of the values that dominate work and society and the removal of impediments to women’s love and sexual pleasure. Influenced by the postmodernist movement in the academy, third-wave feminists sought to question, reclaim, and redefine the ideas, words, and media that have transmitted ideas about womanhood, gender, beauty, sexuality, femininity, and masculinity, among other things. This sexuality, challenging female heterosexuality and praising sexuality is a means of female authorization. It was an evaluation of women’s feelings about sexuality that included vagina-centered topics as diverse as orgasm, birth, and rape.
For third-wave feminists, “sexual liberation” was extended to mean a process of first becoming conscious of the ways one’s gender identity and sexuality have been shaped by society and then become free to express one’s faithful gender identity, such as lesbian or bi-sexual. The third wave was much more inclusive of women and girls of color than the first or second waves had been. In reaction and opposition to stereotypical images of women as passive, weak, virginal, and faithful, or alternatively as domineering, demanding, slutty, and emasculating. The third wave redefined women and girls as assertive, powerful, and in control of their own sexuality. Women were getting more independence after the authorization of working equally with men on the “second wave.” Media programming for children increasingly depicted smart, independent girls and women in lead roles, including Disney heroines such as Mulan (1998) and Helen Parr and her daughter, Violet (The Incredibles, 2006), and television characters such as Dora (Dora the Explorer, 1999–2006), and Sesame Street’s first female lead, Abby Cadabby, who debuted in 2006. After the third-wave of feminist women have more right to express their sexuality and more laws for women right was accepted.
Even Feminism have to make the women have more opportunity to work, education, marriage, role, and sexuality. There is some bad influence on the society with it. When women have more power nowadays, they tend to divorce more with their husband. They delay marriage and not taking it as a big part of their life. The abortion rate also goes up when they are easier to have sex with a man like in Vietnam. According to the VnExpress, “The hospital carried out approximately 29,000 abortions in 2015, and in the first six months of 2016 over 14,000 pregnancies were terminated.” Women tend to not have the children when they can work more to be dependence. Even if they have a child and both of parent go to work then the child can have childhood obesity without the take care of the women when they are too busy. When Feminism focuses too much on the victim, it forgets about the society. The understanding between women and men is needed to follow their faith and live happiness.
In conclusion, the feminist revolution in three waves had been changing the women role. Women today in our society do have a choice about how they want to be, marry who they love and how they spend their time. Women can live a happy life with more law protecting them and have the right to abortion, vote, and divorce. They can have a divorce with an unhappy marriage and have more opportunity to be a leader and dedicate to the society. Women have more power after three waves; however, they still have violence on women, such as poor representations of women in the media, of the lack of women in the sciences and politics, of street harassment, of sexual harassment, and of rape. Therefore, some feminist scholars argue that with the Internet and Social media, the fourth wave of feminism has started. When the internet provides us a quicker way to get and stay connected with people all around the world so spreading the feminist ideals and movements is just as easy as the click of a mouse. They bring to the discussion important perspectives taught by third wave feminism. Even feminism also have some negative effect on the society. After all, women have the opportunity to work, education, voice, social life, leader and the Feminism still continuous.
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