The year is 2017, our President bragged about sexually assaulting women.

This statement should be enough of a catalyst to spark unapologetic, unpersuaded feminism in women, not to mention the all-encompassing hateful comments our president said along the campaign trail. The overtly anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican, anti-Black, anti-LGBTQIA+, anti-disabled people, anti-undocumented, anti-science, anti-fact, etc comments impact a multitude of females. However, the country still retains evident barriers to convince women to righteously identify with feminism, and its future in the United States.


Your grandmothers didn’t work this hard to remove barriers in your life for you to disintegrate the label of a feminist. Whether your reasons include that feminism isn’t necessary in the 21st century or boys won’t like me, this rhetoric is unproductive.

Below are some of the caveats of feminism, especially for fourth-wave feminists to recognize while moving forward.

White privilege

White women still found a way to overlook the existence of other females for their own perceived personal gain, something which still haunts me. 

Women must recognize that 53% of white women still voted for a man who has grabbed women by their genitals, who has called women ugly, fat pigs, who has made unparalleled attacks on immigrant women, who has disregarded the pure existence of hard-working Mexicans… and the list could go on and on to attack every microcosm of diverse Americans. It is futile to reduce and dismiss the struggles of marginalized women when paving a path forward for gender equality.

 

Women and men should no longer acknowledge the endurance of others through our relation to others. You shouldn’t need a sister to want every woman to be paid equally. Passive empathy to the injustices that Black Americans face shouldn’t be a consequence of you witnessing an act of police brutality.

Defining existence through relationships makes the pain of others not appear pressung, and allows for people with privilege to not seek out a solution for intersectional justice. By viewing women as solely classmates and disabled Americans as neighbors, people often force them to fight their own battles. It shouldn’t require a heart-wrenching story to incite activism.

 


Paid Maternity Leave

US is the only developed nation without paid leave. We force women to return to their job quickly after childbirth, unable to raise children and retain a career (Lesbian mothers will both be required to go back to work, creating a larger strain on motherhood). Furthermore, low-income families cannot sufficiently recieve two incomes without paid maternity leave. This is not an unnecessary privilege for women, but a staple human right for a productive economy, and positive child rearing.

 

If a woman make more money, her household does better financially. This means we need men to become caregivers. The cost of living without gender equality causes a strIn in middle-class families. Society needs to stop promotion of the unequal connotations of mother, as we all have grown up to expect more out of our mothers. Getting both parties involved is crucial to promoting stability in developed and especially developing nations.

Paid maternity leave not only encourages women to be both mothers and earners, but redefines the parameters of a father. Fathers should be held accountable to the same standards we expect of mothers. This lacking male figure in young children’s lives makes men not confront their emotional, care giving capabilities as well as simply allowing our children to grow up without the presence of men.

 By requiring both men and women to take maternity leave, young boys and girls are learning that qualities that men possess are not bad. Both men and women need to expose their characteristics to view that there is place for emotion in men and discipline in women while parenting.

 

Reproductive Autonomy

Less women will get pregnant if they have access and information to preventative services, less will be forced into the cycle of poverty. Reproductive issues become political when abortion is conflated for the only service of Planned Parenthood.


Regardless of your politics, Planned Parenthood’s services keep women alive when healthcare is unfortunately not affordable, leaving Medicaid as the only option. No federal funding is legally permitted to abortion services, and most of Planned Parenthood’s services go to low-income women.

!!! 79% of people who use PP’s services lived at around $18,500 a year for a single adult, making it is purely unsympathetic to force women to raise children if it is not their choice.

 

The cost of raising a child is around $200,000, and the intersection between women’s healthcare and economic stability should be recognized before stripping Planned Parenthood from federal funding.

 

Representation

Women have been historically betrayed by men. For example, in the French Revolution, as soon as women joined the revolution, the protestors reached their collective goals. Demanding bread, as we all famously know, but the (women’s) March on Versailles wasn’t rewarding for those involved. Women were betrayed by men who quickly took power as they created new institutions in France without females in political positions.

 

Women make up 51% of the population, yet receive insufficient representation of their gender. 20 women work in the Senate, and 82 work in the House of Representatives. 
Men decide the future of women. We’ve learned that most male politicians do not respect rights of women, such as equal pay, parental leave, right to choose, etc. Men were raised by women, many are married to women, many raise women, yet, still are blind to protect women from injustices and human rights abuses. Or, quite frankly, male politicians view women’s issues as secondary.


In a Gallup poll published Monday, 63 percent of respondents said the U.S. would be governed better if there were more women in political office. If you believe that women are systematically too emotionally unstable to be commander-in-chief, remember that all wars have been initiated by men.

 

Fourth-Wave Feminism

 

Many young feminists, myself included, forget strenuous triumphs that existed in a world prior to our existence.

First-wave feminists were the suffragettes, and second-wave feminists improved women’s socioeconomic and educational opportunities.

We aren’t consciously reminded that we weren’t allowed to vote, or get divorced, or get custody over children, or get contraceptives, or go to college, etc. 
Maybe it’s a problem of our generation’s preoccupation with technology, but, I believe it’s a systematic struggle to forget about the seemingly fictional battles before your time.

There are still political fights that women need to unite for, and unite behind feminism to make progressive changes. Third and fourth wave feminism still have work to do, but are unconscious to the fights before them. Most of us haven’t systematically been told, you can’t, * however, I acknowledge the intersections such as race, class, sexuality, gender etc. Many woman have been told you can’t. Therefore, WOC, low-income women, trans-women cannot separate being a woman from, for example, being a Muslim woman.

 

The Future

More generally, the sheer apathy towards the duality of women’s abilities is what I hope to change in my future. There are intersections between academic fields such as art and business, fashion and marketing, etc. that women can yield better than men.

Organizations such as Teen Vogue have been promoting this intersectional activism as many of their writers discuss pop culture trends and well as Donald Trump’s Destabilization of AmericaIt will be a difficult culture shift for the average American to recognize that teenage girls can care about politics and seemingly flighty things like fashion.

Women need to capitalize on their duality of abilities in order to shatter glass ceilings in every field, making their voice heard as computer scientists, artists, writers, lawyers, engineers, stylists, etc.

Some of the difficulties with reclaiming a woman’s sexuality is that capitalism sells sex, and the movement needs to include non-binary women. Men have perpetuated females as sexual objects in advertising to sell products with sex.

Regardless of who is the producer of such advertisements, there is a blurred line between objectification and sexual liberation.

Many campaigns that are crafted by women show women “taking back their bodies” in advertisements where women are sexual. It is difficult to  Though women are controlling these images, is sex not the surging force that sells? Even is the meaning is to liberate women, consumers can still buy products without understanding the messaging.

 

Furthermore, mini skirt protests in the 1960s and more current “Free the Nipple” protests do not include marginalized women. The sexualized image of white, able-bodied, skinny, cis, feminine, women portrays that sex sells when you look a certain way. Any woman over size 2 isn’t able to liberate and sell her own body. The difficulty of the future herein lies between liberation and unintended sexualization. I agree that women’s bodies shouldn’t be a threat when viewed in the media. However, the narrative is difficult to shift in consumers who’ve been indoctrinated to the manipulation of women in advertisements.

 

We need more women directly involved in politics and activism. Feminism has a seemingly impossible path forward within this administration, but if women expand the diversity of issues that are included in the movement, all women will be included in the strides towards equality.

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