Written by Julia Cancilla
Feminism is regarded as extreme and often has a bad connotation to it. This is something heard many times: “This is America. Feminism isn’t needed today.”
First of all, saying that feminism is not needed in America is disregarding the many strong women that fought for women’s rights in the past, such as the right to vote, the right to work and make money, the right to own property, and much more; the list goes on and on.
Second of all, contrary to popular belief, there are currently many unseen and belittled issues in America that feminists fight for.
Rape culture in America: Nearly 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in America have experienced rape and/or stalking by a partner and report related impact on their functioning. 51.1% of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance. Over 70% of workplaces in America do not have a formal program or policy that addresses workplace violence or sexual assault/harassment. A huge issue in rape culture is victim blaming. It is NEVER the victim’s fault. The sad truth is that, we live in a society that teaches women not to get raped, instead of teaching men not to rape. Most times, when a rape victim reports being raped, the first thing asked is, “Well what were you wearing? What were you doing?” Eye contact, tight shirts, short skirts, flirting, smiles, unconsciousness, and alcohol do not cause rape. The only thing that causes rape is rapists.
Planned Parenthood being defunded: Lately, many people have been speaking out against Planned Parenthood, hoping to defund it. Here are some facts about the program: “No one at Planned Parenthood responds to a regular unintended pregnancy with, “you should get an abortion.” Out of all the services Planned Parenthood offers, only 3% is abortion related. No abortion performances at Planned Parenthood are publicly funded. Planned Parenthood provides screening for breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer, HIV and STDs, and basic pregnancy. It also provides birth control pills, condoms, emergency contraception, and sex education for those in need. Planned Parenthood provides basic health care to both men and women who could not afford it otherwise.” If Planned Parenthood was defunded, many people would go without the healthcare they need.
Misogyny: Misogyny is the dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women. The most common type of misogyny is internalized, especially in other girls. Examples of internalized misogyny are “I hate girls! They are such bitches.” “I hang out with boys because girls are too much drama.” “I’m not like other girls.” and “You look like a slut.” Misogyny is a huge problem throughout not only America, but the whole world and only supports the patriarchy.
LGBTQ+ Youth: 48% of LGBTQ+ students experienced verbal harassment because of their sexual orientation. 15% have been physically harassed or assaulted based on their identity. It is 13% more likely for black LGBTQ+ youth to be sent to detention or be suspended than non-black LGBTQ+ youth. 79% of LGBTQ+ youth of color reported that they had interactions with security or law enforcement compared to the 63% of white LGBTQ+ youth. 20-40% of all homeless youth are LGBTQ+ and among them, 26% identify as Latino and 44% identify as black. 81% of anti LGBTQ+ murder victims in 2011 were POC. 45% of reported hate murders were trans women.
Disabled abuse victims: These victims are 1.5 times more likely to be victims of relationship violence including sexual harassment, sexual assault, psychological abuse and physical abuse. Their abusive partners may take away their communication devices and may give false information to the victim to make them believe they have fewer options. According to DeafHope, examples of what victims face and the tactics abusive partners use to abuse the deaf include: signing very close to a victim’s face when angry, intimidation through gestures, facial expressions, floor stamping, and pounding on the table or door, criticizing victim’s speech/English skills, excluding victim from important conversations, and not informing the victim when people try to call on the phone or try to catch their attention.
Women of color: 1 in 3 African American women are abused by a husband/partner. 48% of Latinas reported an increase in domestic violence after immigrating to America. Asian women make up half of all victims on porn sites that depict rape. For every African/black woman that reports rape, at least 15 don’t report theirs. 60% of black girls have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 18. 60% of immigrant Korean women have been battered by their husbands. These are just a few of the MANY issues women of color face in America on the daily.
As you can see, we have a lot of work to do, but every day feminists keep fighting against the patriarchy, we keep fighting for people of color, we keep fighting for the LGBTQ+ community, for disabled abuse victims, for rape victims, and just women in general. Feminism is so important today around the world, including America. Before you say we don’t need feminism, think again.