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How Feminism Started in America and Its Goals

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Feminism, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. This definition exactly explains the meaning of feminism and holds what started as feminism within its entirety. To fully understand feminism, we first need to focus on where it started, how feminism has changed in today’s world, and thirdly where feminism is headed.

1st Wave Feminism’s uproar was started within the late 1800s and early 1900s. During this time period, the marriage age began to rise. This ultimately pushed for a number of single women, out of any relationships, to significantly increase. Once this occurred, women built friendships with each other, ultimately moving towards sustaining activism in the movement of the “first wave feminists.” One goal in mind that women had accomplished during this time was women’s rights (voting), which would be passed in 1920. During the time in which women were pushing for the right to vote, specifically, feminism simply revolved around the idea of being equal to the average man. Having the ability to vote was the first step in claiming equality, not just in America, but the world.

The Second wave of feminism gets a little bit more “shaky.”. During the second wave of feminism which revolved around the 1960s-1980s, the idea of feminism moved towards paying attention to domestic violence and marital rape, shelters for abused women, and changes in divorce laws as well as custody rights.

Passing the third wave, the 1990s introduced the idea where feminism primarily focused the attention towards more in-base physically sexual scenarios such as the pornography world. This mainly brought into play the concept of women being thrown into the sex world, and regardless of their choice to go in themselves or not, that the idea itself of a women being shown subliminally sexual on-screen was beyond normal and should be banned from society. Although some women agreed that this wasn’t such a bad message, but yet show positivity. Instead of showing the degrading nature of women being throw upon and giving into certain acts, many women simply believe that this can be an enjoyable act between two people that are doing nothing wrong, but simply doing what makes them happy.

Today’s society (2008-present) consists of what we view as the “fourth-wave of feminism.” Feminism today includes the concepts of gender equality, sex work acceptance, reproductive justice, plus-size clothing pushes, and more relatable topics that affect many people in society today. Another topic that 21st century feminism has brought to the table is social media outlets and modern protests. Protests have always been lingering around within the streets but the differences with modern and cultural are varied. With social media, this is a new development to give women the opportunity to reach others with group start ups, developmental changes, opinion reviews, without having to go door to door or hope others show up at public meetings.

Now, where does the problems consist? Well, according to Caitlyn Moran, author of “How To Be a Woman,” she exclaims that she strives for society to up-bring a “fifth-wave” of feminism. By doing this, actions must focus attention away from physical awkwardness, and believing that the feminists themselves are able to stand up for what they believe in and push for what changes they strive to see. Moran also begins to explain for no physical approach, but simply letting the problems be fixed through proper, patient action. As much as Moran may be right in saying to calm down and take feminist changes one at a time, this still does not take away the facts of what hides behind the feminist mindset in today’s society.

The sexual revolution and pro-choice movement has ideally mentally and physically all become on agenda. Part of modern feminism has pushed for the idea of self-reliance and for women having the legal ability to do whatever the would like with their own body. This is respectable, but isn’t entirely true. A pregnancy is caused from a man and women. The women is the holder of the child in every case, and she therefore then has the ability to end the pregnancy, provide nutritional growth for the child, decide how she will go about her particular habits once she is announced pregnant, etc. A women is her own person and has her own body, but so does a child within her womb. Of course most of my views extract from my religious background, but regardless, I still believe that a life starts at the moment of conception. I also feel as if women truly want equality for all, then they would want the same for the unborn that are still living and a part of society.

Overall, to fully understand feminism, we need to focus on where it started, how feminism has changed in today’s world, and thirdly where feminism is headed. With this, I am not disagreeing to feminism entirely. If feminism was continued in the path it started at, in the early 1900s, with women’s right to vote, pro-life movements, unproductive protests that become violent, equality was meant for ALL, etc. then I would entirely be focusing on working with feminism and making it my own. At this point in time, unless the above problems are resolved in which feminism has caused, I disagree with the idea of feminism and don’t believe that where it is headed is productional to today’s world.

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How Feminism Started in America and Its Goals. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from
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