Saturday, June 26, 2010

First Wave Feminism

One of the strategies Mill highlighted in the First Wave Era was that the feminine ways of women are so ingrained in themselves because of how they were raised. Therefore, it is difficult to change them and the only way to do it would be to experiment. Mill thought that there would be benefits in this to both human development and the emotional happiness of women. More people would be at work and being productive in society if women were equal and women would be feel more confident and fulfilled in life not tied down to the home. He also highlighted the positive for men; competition will make both men and women work harder in society and women will be able to better communicate intellectually with their husbands. Mill argued that women are half of the population and they should be able to vote and be equal because political decisions affect them as well.

I think that the more traditional ideas of womanhood are fading in society now. More couples are raising girls to be ambitious, successful, and dominating women who are encouraged to compete with men. We no longer need to experiment with women’s equality; most people will agree it is a positive thing. On the surface, we have achieved equality between man and women, but people must look closer. Yes, women are starting to dominate the workforce. But, we still get paid less than man for the same job. Also, though women are usually not bound to the home, men today still feel awful if their wife happens to be the breadwinner and often judge a woman as gay if she is a tomboy.

Successful First Wave activists were both men and women. However, they all had to be very strong-willed, tough, and ambitious to get the movement to where it is today. Women activists undoubtedly faced severe criticism for behaving in “unladylike” ways but it was worth it. However, I think that because young people didn’t grow up with repression of inequality, we just don’t appreciate the opportunity when it comes to voting. It is more common for people middle-aged and up to vote probably because they knew a world where they had to struggle to be where they want to be.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with your point about voter apathy. The lull in feminism and the idea that we are post-feministic can be partially blamed on women themselves. Women, and men as well, need to become more active in our country's politics. The most basic thing that we can do as individuals is to vote. Unfortunately, many people no longer see voting as the awesome right it is.