When asked if they are a feminist, a lot of people give the excuse that they feel it is no longer needed in today’s modern society. I however strongly disagree with this because the people who are saying this are usually from a first world country and have not been subjected to sexism themselves, meaning they are under the impression that it doesn’t exist. Although in developed countries there has been a massive improvement regarding equality in recent years, that does not mean it is not needed. And we mustn’t forget that the Western World is not an accurate representation of all other countries. In many places, feminism still has a long way to go before equality can be achieved.
Many believe feminists are those who believe in female superiority and I admit some people on the internet may seem to encourage this misconception through they’re subtly misandrist behavior. But this is a false conception that paints feminism in a bad light. Feminism by definition is equality for women and when viewed this way the idea seems a lot more simple and necessary.
In the developing world evidence of sexism can be seen in everyday life. Take my cousin, for example. An Indian women who has worked tirelessly to become a engineer, only to be encouraged to abandon her job and family to be someone’s wife half way across the country with no certainty about her own career. And what’s worse, instead of this being for a man she loves, it is for a man whom her parents regard as an appropriate husband for their daughter. This is one of the many reasons why we have to empower women. So that they have the courage to stand up for their lives and independence and walk away from prominent sexist traditions like arranged marriage. In some countries young girls are forced into becoming child brides to mostly men that are much older. Female Genital Mutilation is a procedure commonly seen is third world countries. It is estimated that 3 million girls undergo FGM each year. The health implications to this are huge And what is maybe most shocking about these acts is that they are encouraged by the girl’s own family. This shows how it is our job as educated and aware individuals to make others apparent to their wrong behaviour and encourage them to break away from the stigma surrounding their cultures.
Even in developed countries, although not apparent, sexism is still around. The US, one of the worlds biggest superpowers, currently has a president that has openly made gross misogynistic statements. The term “like a girl” still implies weak and pathetic attempts of an action. Rape victims are still being treated without the justice they should receive, for example, rapist Brock Turner, excused of raping an unconscious girl, only served 3 months instead of his alarmingly short 6-month sentence, primarily because he is a white privileged boy. Female hygiene and menstruation are viewed as an inappropriate subject and young girls learn to become shameful of their periods, even though they are completely natural and involuntary. Until last year, female sanitation products like tampons were considered a “luxury item” that justified its 5% tax and although this is not a lot of money, the idea it supports is sexist and unjustifiable. Abortion is still illegal in developed countries (e.g. Ireland) even though it supports the basic right that women should have control of their own bodies.
While there is no doubt that times are changing and that more people are becoming aware of the issues surrounding sexism, as can be seen in displays such as the recent Women’s March, females worldwide are still not treated equally to males and there is evidence for this everywhere, whether this be in Saudi Arabia where women are not allowed to drive or in places as obvious as the church not allowing women priests. This is why feminism is still needed and is not something that should be feared by those under a false impression of what it truly means to be a feminist.