The history of feminism Essay
The history of feminism, 493 words essay example
In the 1960s, there was a very great paradigm shift in the whole concept of feminism from the fight for equality towards welfare issues related to mothers and children. This shift was present in what was known as the second wave.
The second wave feminism was first introduced by the Women's Liberation Movement in the late 1960s but the activities of this liberation movement were rather considered very radical as compared to the first wave feminism. The standpoint of the first wave feminists was that women were portrayed by political or social settings in such a way that they end up being oppressed from the idea created by the public. For the second wave feminism the uniqueness and superiority of women depended on the distinct differences between the physical appearances of the male and female.
In the United States the protest was all about how women were portrayed in beauty contests. It was considered degrading because the appearance of women was made to look more important than their opinion (Freeman, 1975). The feminists struggle during the 19th century was a result of the growing nature of patriarchy during that particular period where marriage was used as a strategy to force women to submit to their husbands (Theborn, 2004). The rights of women ended where that of men began, for issues such as inheritance and marriage, it was almost as if those two were created for men. However in North America and some European countries, women rights were somehow held in higher esteem than in other places. Africa and Asia were the worst recognisers of women rights. With the help of time, women were now allowed to vote, own property, end marriage and travel for work and school outside their home countries (Andersen, 2006). The Miss America events in 1968 and 1969 were clear evidence of female 'oppression' and 'commercialisation' (Freeman, 1968). If women would gain any source of redemption from their own abilities or efforts, then it was in the areas of motherhood and marriage. In as much as these domains served as therapies for women to escape male domination, they were also seen as hindrances to resounding feminism by de Beauvoir.
The clearest distinction between the first and second waves of feminism is that first wave feminists operated o the principle of equality between genders in terms of social and legal private settings. In France the advocation is solely based on liberty and equality but in America there is a bit of extension towards property and nationalism. With the second wave of feminism, the attention was on how society and politics have deprived women of certain rights due to the image created for women. This image suppresses the ego of the women by amplifying reality and turning it against women. In other words women have stages in their lives where things happen naturally such as birth, menstruation, pregnancy and so on. Aside that the physical characteristics of women are being explored publicly by men through pageants, modelling contests