who are feminists and what did they fight for?

In the modern world, there is an ambivalent attitude towards feminism: if in Western countries it is considered something familiar and normal, a synonym for progress and equality, in Russia and other states of the post-Soviet space, they are wary and sometimes negative about women’s struggle for their rights.

Some believe that this is an absolutely unnecessary, useless phenomenon that has no real consequences and goals, while others believe that feminism is an evil that destroys the foundations of society and morality.

One can argue for a long time about who is right on this issue, but let’s turn to the facts and find out what feminists actually changed, what was the life of women before their appearance and why they continue their activities today.

suffragettes
Photo @sanatatak

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The history of feminism

The first glimpses of feminism in society appeared in the 1830s in the United States during the mass movements of workers demanding better labor and an increase in the cost of living. Then women took part in them, who spoke out for the opportunity to speak out on an equal basis with men.

The most significant figures in the women’s movement at that time were Sojourner Trout, Angelina and Sarah Grimke.

After the Civil War of 1861-1865. women were able to defend the right to own and dispose of their own property. In the middle of the XIX century, the movement of suffragettes embraces the Western countries, who demand the right to higher education, the right to vote and other things. This was the so-called “first wave” of feminism.

In the 60s of the last century, a “second wave” of feminism emerged, which was already aimed at overcoming gender stereotypes and overthrowing patriarchal foundations in society.

Women wanted to be not just obedient housewives and keepers of the hearth, they began to fight for real independence.

feminists
Photo @caitcalhoun

To date, there are only four waves of feminism, and you and I live in the era of the latter.

What feminism is fighting for

It is difficult to make historical predictions, but in order to understand how significant the contribution of feminists to the development of society was and how we would live now without this phenomenon, it is enough just to look around.

Are you reading this article, writing comments under it, then heading to work or university? All this is the merit of the first feminists!

Once upon a time, women did not have the right to receive higher education, and a true lady was not supposed to “know too much” and be interested in anything. There was even a theory that “knowledge harms childbirth ”!

The circle of interests and worldview of the ladies of the past centuries was limited to the ability to read, play musical instruments and conduct small talk.

Are you going to the gym or watching a women’s competition? Once upon a time, sports and participation in the Olympic Games were closed to women. The ladies even swam in special suits that can hardly be called bathing suits.

Are you about to make a purchase or get a credit card? If it were not for the feminist movement, it would be difficult for you to do this: the finances in families, as a rule, were in charge of men, and getting a regular credit card for women was a real problem until the 80s.

Feminism in simple words: what brave women fought for and is feminism needed today
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There would be no liberties in family matters: the right to divorce, termination of pregnancy, contraception is also a merit of feminists.

Imagine a society where a woman is forced to endure her cheating spouse and cannot simply divorce him! A sad picture, isn’t it? Add to this the bias against the woman and her constant shame for:

  • pregnancy;
  • “Women’s days”;
  • completeness;
  • thinness;
  • freckles;
  • pleasure;
  • emotions;
  • knowledge.

Colossal emotional pressure, coupled with a complete denial of rights and opportunities, including the ability to control your body – this is how we would have lived if the movement for women’s rights had not once started.

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Why is feminism needed in Russia today?

violence
Photo @yasamicingida

But if so many changes have already taken place in the world and feminists have achieved a lot, then why do they continue their activities today? What are their goals now?

Good question. Yes, a lot has been done and changed in many countries, but not everything and not everywhere. For example, even in the most developed countries today there is such a problem as harassment.

At work, on the street, in a club – anywhere a girl can run into a person who believes that it is permissible to let go. Or sexism is more common than it seems.

When you hear that “The woman behind the wheel is a monkey with a grenade”, you see in front of you not just a boor, but a typical sexist who is used to belittling women on the basis of gender.

Until now, there is occasional talk about a ban on termination of pregnancy, domestic violence is legalized in some countries, and women’s de facto rights are violated.

And in order for every woman to feel protected and can freely exercise her rights, feminists continue their activities.

The spread of feminism in the territory of the post-Soviet space is especially important. This is due primarily to the still very strong gender stereotypes and patriarchal foundations.

Feminism in simple words: what brave women fought for and is feminism needed today
Photo Unsplash

Installations

  • “A woman must bear children”;
  • “Must obey her husband”;
  • “Cook borscht”;
  • “Wash socks.”

or

  • “You’re a girl, so don’t play dinosaurs”;
  • “Don’t laugh out loud”;
  • “Don’t run with the boys” are still common.

And they not only impede progress, but also make many, many girls, girls and women unhappy, who feel guilty for not justifying the needs of society.

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