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The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Feminism

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Feminism is the call for or theory of equality between the sexes in the economic, political and social arenas. The concept of feminism has been at the realm of society from time immemorial and it affects every aspect of human life. Name any aspect and feminism is applicable; education, politics, economy, social practices, religion etc all are hosts of the concept of feminism. The most important point is not the fact that the concept of feminism is widespread but how it has been received in the many a frontiers in which it exists and persists.

For instance, feminism in higher institutions of learning is seen as a hot subject especially for the antifeminists. Women’s studies are now present and active world over. Almost every academic field has benefited from the feminist thought in that more women are now entering academic fields which were reserved for men. This has received relative resistance but it has persisted and there are signs that the feminist thought is winning over friends and foes alike. Women are doing exemplary well in humanities and social sciences.

In fields like computer science, the situation is wanting because the number of women keeps on reducing (Schleiter, 1998). Feminism as a study in higher institutions of learning has been received with mixed reactions. There seems to be a divergence between what people say and what they practice concerning this issue. Some universities have offered full support to the faculties whereas others pretend to do so while in the background they undermine the progress of the faculty.

They particularly do so by downscaling budgetary provisions for faculties in a way that shows relegation of the importance of the faculty of women studies (Schleiter, 1998). Feminist pedagogy doesn’t advocate for female dominance at all. Actually, it is based on the three most important values such as an egalitarian, open, democratic or unrestricted relation in the classroom, inducing a feeling of dignity in the students and use of students experience as a teaching resource. As a teacher one has the potential and unrestricted ability to affect the way students think feel or even what they think either voluntarily or involuntarily.

It is for this reason that the ideals of feminist pedagogy prohibit the teacher from three major vices: indoctrination, humiliation and domination. These are vices that should never find their way to the classroom. Democracy is the best practice where there is equal opportunity to access, structure, question and even manufacture the knowledge one receives. As Bell Hooks puts it the classroom is both a locus of oppression and a potential location for liberation. It is a double edged sword that needs to be handled with care. Students may harass the teacher or otherwise, students tend to make mistakes when allowed too much space etc.

So it is all about moderation of feminism pedagogy that brings success in the classroom. The present world presents ‘soft oppression’ to women through rules, regulations and stand points which would otherwise pass as objective. A man of position may profess equal opportunity but wait until he starts to act. The actions will be basically a contradiction of the initial profession. Take the war on Iraq for instance, where Gil Trumps proposes that the war is meant to save 12 million Iraqi women from possible rape and forgets about the women oppression at home or Bush’ decision to withdraw birth prevention aid in third world countries.

At home, in the US women are incarcerated to the idea of bearing children even when the practice itself threatens their lives or possibility of the child lacking. Women too have abundant attachment to giving life just as men do but they should be afforded reasonable audience and chance to express their counter arguments before throwing a blanket condemnation, calling them names and using religious views as a yardstick to dictate women choices. (Hoxha, 2004). You can not expect to be empowered if you don’t do it yourself.

There is an Indian proverb that you cannot pray to God and steer straight to the rocks. God is going to amplify the efforts you have made to emancipate yourself. What is the women’s idea of feminism? Most women think that a feminist is a man hating lady who is always skeptical of anything male. Females who want to become male. If such misconceptions exist and worse enough coming from women, then the concept of feminism fighting for an egalitarian society is dead. Feminism is not about female dominance but equality.

Equal opportunities for both sexes on any front (social, political, religious, and academic etc) without restriction and without any sex harboring a feeling of being threatened. . (Therefore feminism should not be misunderstood It seeks to create awareness of oppressions directed to women and tell the world that women are human too and they do not deserve to be punished as if it is a crime to be female. Feminism also fronts for equality such that we don’t see men earning more than women in the same job group or job category.

When equality knocking, rape domestic violence against women and sexual harassment scamper for safety. This equality can only be gained if feminism stereotyping and misinterpretations are done away with. The journey towards equality is indeed far but wherever we are let us remove obstacles that threaten the next step. Ramirez, 2003). As stated in the introduction, the concept of feminism did not start yesterday or yesteryears but it has existed from time immemorial. During the 2nd wave of feminism between 1960 and 1970 attests to this fact.

Women coffeehouses were created in a bid, by women to create their separate space. They argued that the common public places were plagued by sexists and those were areas prolific with sexual harassment. These places included the ballrooms, parking lots, restaurants etc. As the women came together, they were able to understand the politics of sex, the oppressions that come with being female and how they could create their separate spaces that would enable them make political and sexual choices independently and appropriately.

This coffeehouse idea became powerful and popular prompting antifeminists to call the coffeehouse attendants as lesbians and/or radical separatists. It thus became a fact that when a woman became a lesbian, that was both a political act and a sexual choice. (Enke, 2003). One very striking feature of the coffee houses was the continued appearance of white middle class women fighting for liberation even when working class women and women of color were in attendance Also, the coffeehouses failed to manage the provision of privileges to white women.

This was a clear indication that equality is expensive; an organization of women fighting for equality, liberty, inclusivism became plagued with gender and racial issues. (Enke, 2003) Feminism as a movement not only sought separate space and equality but also addressed issues such as sexuality, reproductive control, child care, women’s economic autonomy, homophobia, and commercial representations of women. These were areas they thought were being used by the perpetrators to launch assault against the female fraternity.

Use of nude women in adverts and commercials and sexual harassment in the work place reduced women to objects and child bearing had to be moderated to allow women gain economic independence. In essence, the movement struggled against the popular social dictates and evaluation to dare redefine their own sexuality. Sexuality redefining took prevalence more than any other causes they were fighting for. Could then be said that sexual choice independence was more a motivation to separate space than was political and economic inequality? Did the women go to coffeehouses to gain erotic enjoyment in the erotically charged coffeehouses?

Is this why lesbianism widespread among the feminists of that time? (Enke, 2003). In conclusion, feminism today continues to experience the challenges it did in the yesteryears. The battles they wedged against inequality they haven’t won them yet. Sexual harassment in the work places, use of nude women in commercials, pay inconsistencies etc still ostensibly exist. The major question that remains is the proportionality of the age of feminism and its achievements. Why it is not able to sustain itself and pass on lessons and ideals to the forthcoming generation?

Could it be possible that feminism is no longer relevant or are feminists losing out in war? All these are questions that can be answered from a detailed analysis of feminism today. It is needless to say that feminism in the yesteryears was more vibrant than it is today (Ferrier, 2003). References Enke, Anne. “Smuggling Sex Through the Gates: Race, Sexuality, and the Politics of Space in Second Wave Feminism. ” American Quarterly, College Park: (55) (4) 2003, pg. 635 The advent of feminism is revisited while evaluating the motivations that bore feminism.

Parallels are drawn between feminism in the 2nd feminist movement i. e. 1960-1970 and feminism today. Did the cause for feminism warrant feminism itself and were the causes there in the first place or was it the imagination of power hungry women who wanted to take their cakes and have them at the same time? These questions are dealt with. The article is biased to early feminism to prepare the ground for the assessment of today’s feminism. In evaluation, ranking and grading, there is always the underlying standards against which measurements are made.

This article presents the standard s against which today’s feminism progress can be measured. Schleiter, Mary Kay. “The Status of Feminism in the Academy. ” NWSA Journal, Bloomington: (10) (2) 1998, pg. 137 Schleiter evaluates the state of the university as a highest learning institution in terms of feminist intellectual progress by citing other authors such as Liz Stanley’s “Knowing Feminisms: On Academic Borders, Territories, and Tribes” which has a multi perspective approach to the state of feminist intellectual in today’s society.

Higonnet, Katrak Clark, and Garner’s “Antifeminism in the Academy” is also cited by the author. The citation exposes the opposition that feminist thought and the opposition to the position of the feminists in academy while suggesting strategies that can water down the opposition. A copyrighted Indiana University article highlights the challenges that a feminist scholar faces. It also explores feminism pedagogy and cases of its success and failures, the perception of the students to the idea of feminism and the university’s response to Women studies faculty. Ferrier, Carole.

“Is Feminism Finished? ” Hecate, St. Lucia: (29) (2) 2003, pg. 6, 17 Is it important that feminists continue to fight the same fights over and over again when they should be winning fights and moving to others? Shouldn’t feminism be sustainable and its ideals passed on to generation after generation? These are questions posed in the article and suggestions are rendered on how to make feminism successful by avoiding the rigorous repetition. Ramirez,Clarisa. “Feminism today” views, 11/26/03 The writer dwells on the misconceptions and stereotyping of feminism by male and females alike.

Some females think that being feminist is synonymous with ‘man hating propensity” However, there are always people who call themselves feminists but see themselves superior to men and truly hate them. Males on the other hand see feminists as extremists. The definition of feminism in the article is widened to embrace political, economic, and social equality of women, a break from stereotypes that men are superior to women, confidence in individuals, independent non-conforming individuals who are not necessarily female. Males can also be feminists because feminism is not about how you look but rather on what you believe.

It is a common belief that feminist women have an orientation to lesbianism but the writer explores the fact that most feminist women date but only with men who respect them and considers them as equal. The road to an achieved and celebrated feminism is long and contrary to popular opinion that feminism is misplaced in today’s society is the fact that feminism is very much relevant today because inequality is rampant; in the work place, at home, everywhere and conformity burdens girls who copy cats dressing modes and subject themselves to strict diets simply because they need to attract men who should be equal to them.

“Feminism” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2008. Merriam-Webster Online. 11 November 2008 http://www. merriam-webster. com/dictionary/feminism Feminism is seen as the fight for equality on the political, social, economic, religious, etc. Generally, feminism fights to establish an egalitarian society. Ina, Hoxha. “Feminism Today Far From Irrelevant” April 2, 2004 The article highlights the fact of the divergence between words and practice.

Many a people will profess to be followers and subscribers of equality but when they start to act, the profession is made null and void. People who tend to think that are rather balanced in terms of treating women miss out when debates show such as abortion, childbearing and sexual choices come up. Women should be understood, from equality point of view, why they make the choices they do.

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