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I believe that feminism is one of the best things to happen to society, and if more people began to open a dialogue about it, everyone would have a better quality of life. Unfortunately, many people I've met on the net don't believe me when I say this.
Over the years being vocal about equality, gender rights, and bodily autonomy, I've heard a bunch of lines hurled at me. Both men and women have told me that "we don't need feminism anymore," and that "feminism is a cancer."
Whether these people realize it or not, they need feminism in their lives. Here are some of the best reasons why you need feminism — even if we have the right to vote.
Every gender will have problems because of the gender they're born into — and feminism could stop that from happening.
Every gender out there will suffer because of the gender they are born into, or the gender they choose to be.
Most transpeople and non-binary individuals have lost a job or have been denied a job due to their transgender status. People who have these gender expressions are far more likely to face homelessness than cisgendered individuals.
Women are much more likely to be talked over, ignored, and not taken as seriously than men. They are more likely to be talked down to, and told that they don't "fully understand all the complex things in a situation." This has been proven by study after study — so no, it's not "all in women's heads."
In both the workplace and social situations, women are far more likely to be judged and critiqued based on their looks than any other gender. They are also more likely to face discrimination based on reproductive choices than any other gender, too.
Oh, and as far as men go? Well, they aren't walking away scot-free from the discrimination-fest known as modern society, either. Men are far more likely to be accused of sex crimes they didn't commit than women. Additionally, they are more likely to be perceived as pedophiles — and more likely to be mocked if they are the victims of rape.
Feminism's goal is not to give women extra rights. It's to make sure that everyone is on an equal playing field and that no one knows what it's like to be singled out based on gender. If you have ever been excluded due to gender, you already know the reasons why you need feminism today.
Even if we do have the same rights on paper, that doesn't necessarily mean that we have the same rights in practice.
On a technicality, abortion up until the 39th week is legal in the United States. However, in reality, you probably will not be able to find a doctor who will perform this abortion in your state — even if your life is in danger.
On paper, women and transpeople should expect that they will be treated with dignity and respect in any field they go into. The fact that people of these genders regularly drop out of STEM fields due to bullying, though, shows that expectations rarely match reality.
Men have the right to report a rape they have, but in reality, many police stations will turn them away or accuse them of lying.
One of the biggest reasons you need feminism today is, therefore, the fact that the fights that we make aren't always effective until we see a major cultural change happen...and that takes a lot more work than just a law on paper.
Much of the hatred towards feminism is also misplaced anger.
A lot of people are very angry at society. This is especially true when it comes to issues dealing with dating. Unfortunately, we live in a society where Disney movies tricked us into thinking that everyone is guaranteed a mate — and this isn't true.
People who are unsuccessful at dating, especially men, often will find fault with women's rights as a way to explain why their love life is failing. The idea behind this is that people who act this way feel like they would be much more likely to succeed and be happy if the chips were stacked against others.
Sadly, they don't realize that feminism isn't their enemy. Rather, they hate it because they feel like an individual's right to say no is an affront to them.
What they don't realize is that feminism is all about destroying the very toxic messages that made them feel like they were slighted in the first place. Feminism is not, and never was, the enemy people like this feel it is.
One of the biggest reasons you need feminism today is because this anger could be directed into a way more positive route...and shouldn't even exist in the first place.
Not having feminism in society will end up killing someone you care about.
Let's talk about women's health and sexual health — both extremely feminist issues. In the United States, government officials are stripping medical programs that support sexual health, reproductive health, and women's health.
The defunding of these programs do not just affect abortions; it affects cancer screenings, UTI clinics, STD screenings, and prenatal care. These things are vital to peoples' health, and without people being able to access them at a reasonable price, people will die.
In fact, people are already dying because they can't get access to health services — especially women's health services.
Every person out there has at least one female person they care about. It could be your mother, it could be your sister, your wife, or your friend. Without feminism bringing awareness to reproductive needs, chances are very high that the person you care about could die as a result of being unable to attain medical care.
Feminism is also about not letting the bullies win.
Anti-feminist groups are insanely hypocritical and hateful.
They hate women for having jobs and working, but they don't want women to "stay at home and be leeches." They claim they are pro-life, but enact legislation that kills thousands of women every year. Anti-feminists hate women and hate men who don't align themselves with traditionally masculine roles.
Anti-feminists regularly harass, threaten, and even kill people they see as opponents to their world view. Feminism stands against this behavior and recognizes the anti-feminist behavior as bullying.
One of the reasons you need feminism today is because bullies are more vocal than ever before — and that means that someone needs to stand up to them.
Even if feminism did have major wins, the battle is far from over.
Yes, women fought and won the right to vote. Yes, women fought for Roe vs. Wade to win, and it won. Yes, women have won the right to attend school and go to work.
You know what feminism hasn't been able to accomplish yet?
We still haven't gotten equal access to healthcare, and still don't even have doctors who take women's concerns seriously. We still don't have protocols that allow doctors to treat transpeople correctly.
We still haven't gotten equalized body autonomy. We still haven't seen most rapists get put in jail, despite rape being a violent crime. Many parts of the country still do not recognize non-binary genders, or even allow transpeople to use the bathroom they feel comfortable with.
We still have people who are afraid of actually showing their gender to the world, and in many parts of the US, gay marriage is illegal. More alarmingly, CHILD MARRIAGE is still legal in the United States as well.
If you're against any of these things, then you have reasons you need feminism today, tomorrow, and the day after that.
Feminism is the only cure to the toxic masculinity mindset that hurts men, women, and transpeople.
Part of the reason why feminism is so stigmatized is because American culture has a very deep seated issue with toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity, if you haven't heard the term before, is a set of unhealthy and unrealistic beliefs that with masculinity and gender roles.
Common examples of toxic masculinity at work include...
- Men who insult, berate, and cheat on women as a way to show that they're real men. Similarly, beliefs that involve women being lesser to men and therefore deserving of abuse and control are also part of the toxic masculinity problem.
- Women who judge other women for not having kids. Toxic masculinity isn't just a man's problem. Women can be affected by social pressures, too — and might even pressure other women as a way to make sure they "fall into line."
- Judging someone on the number of partners they have. A lot of toxic masculinity beliefs involve double standards and sexual purity issues. This isn't healthy and has long been a belief linked to domestic violence.
- People who berate LGBTQ individuals as "unnatural." Homophobia goes hand-in-hand with toxic masculinity, primarily because being LGBTQ flies in the face of "traditional" values.
- Men who believe that it's "unmanly" to cry. Humans have emotions. Unfortunately, toxic masculinity makes a lot of men feel like they have to be stoic 24/7.
Toxic masculinity is a leading cause of domestic violence and has been linked to mental illness in men. Everyone suffers because these attitudes are so pervasive in our society.
It's worth pointing out that what works for you won't work for others — especially in terms of relationships and lifestyles.
When I read up on why female anti-feminists felt they "didn't need" feminism, it usually boiled down to the idea that they trusted the men they were around and that they didn't understand why any woman might want to be independent.
To me, this shows how myopic peoples' views really can be — and it's horrifying to me. People who think they don't need feminism often don't realize that they are one personal tragedy away from praising those very concepts.
If any of the girls who claimed they "didn't need feminism" were to find themselves in a domestic abuse situation, it'd be their right to a divorce, their right to have a job, and their right to not be killed by their husbands that would save them. All of those rights are feminism-borne rights.
If any of the girls were raped, feminist groups like Planned Parenthood would be the ones who give them healthcare afterward and screen them for STDs. Laws that protect victims rather than punish them ensure that they wouldn't be jailed for being raped would be the ones that protect them — and those laws are there thanks to feminism.
If any of the girls had a life-threatening pregnancy issue in their third trimester, they better count their lucky stars that feminists actually kept abortion legal in some states. Otherwise, they would have zero chance of surviving their pregnancy.
The tragedy doesn't always have to come in the form of male partners or male attackers, either. Let's say that the men who protect and provide for these girls died. It's the rewards of feminism that would allow them to work and own property.
In other words, people really leave too much up to assumption. Even if you don't think you need feminism, the "what if's" of life are reasons you need feminism today.
Studies have also shown that feminism is great for the economy.
Let's say that you really, truly hate the idea of feminism. Let's assume that you really hate feminists, believe that egalitarian societies lower your quality of life, and also make women and men hate each other. Some of these issues are legitimately debatable — to a point.
However, what isn't debatable is that egalitarian societies actually help economic growth and give families a chance to find more stability than patriarchal societies.
Study after study show that countries that have female leaders, women's rights laws, and high levels of gender equality regularly have better economies and political stability than patriarchy-based countries.
The same can also be said about countries that are progressive about LGBTQ rights. Even states that have legalized gay marriage have noticed that their economies are doing better — particularly in the wedding industry.
Additionally, people who live in "feminist" countries also have higher life spans, better living standards, and more social mobility. This is true for people who are male, female, or non-binary in most cases.
So, even if you hate women, there are still financial reasons you need feminism to consider.
Lastly, the biggest of all the reasons you need feminism is because not keeping up the fight will eventually erode the rights that were won.
Feminism isn't just something that is a one-time battle. It's something that legitimately needs to be continued and kept up. Otherwise, people who are power-hungry will take away every right we've fought for.
To fully illustrate this, we're going to look at the country of Iran.
The above video clip was taken in 1958, in Iran. This was a major politician who actually laughed at the idea that women would ever be forced to wear a hijab in public. Women were allowed to drive, held positions of power, and also were, for the most part, equal to men.
In 2017, Iran now requires women to wear headscarves, and women can receive the death penalty if they are caught in "inappropriate attire." Iran is now considered to be one of the most oppressive countries in the world.
That only took 60 years to happen.
If it can happen in Iran, it can happen in America, too. When you realize how quickly everything you take for granted can change, you quickly see all the reasons you need feminism in your life, too.