Instructor: Feminism The concept of feminism is one of the most controversial concepts in society. There are many differing opinions and attitudes when it comes to the concept. To understand the issues around feminism and its evolution, it is important to understand the different definitions of the concept…
The feminists assert that there are very few inherent differences that are unchangeable between men and women. There are however many individual differences between men and women. These individual and inherent differences are however not to imply that one gender is more capable than the other. The equality that is advocated for by the movement refers to equality in accordance to the laws of the land as well as social, political, an economic equality. While most people assume that feminism is a single or unified school of thought, it can be seen that the movement has evolved in three major waves. Each wave of has had distinct features or characteristics and can be seen to have been advocating for different rights. While some have criticized the movement, it has led to some major achievement for the women. It is important for one to understand the situation that the women were living in before the rise of the feminist movement. Such an understanding will help one to understand the changes that were brought about by the feminist movement. At the beginning of the 18thcentury, women did not receive any recognition under law. They were pronounced as being civilly dead when they got married. They were therefore not allowed to sign any contracts and they could not control the wages that they received. Their wages were controlled by the men in their lives. They were not given an opportunity to get an education and their position was expected to be at home taking care of their homesteads. A comparison of this situation with the current situation in the society reveals that a lot of changes have taken place. Most of the changes and the rights that the women have been able to achieve are as a result of the feminist activities (O’Neil 32). The influence of the feminist movement is seen to be reflected in the different areas of life in the society. The movement influences the social lives of the people and their economic life as well. The impact of feminism can also be seen in the literary world. Many female writers chose to address the various feminist issues that faced them in their lives through their writing. As the different waves of feminism changed, so did the content for the writers who are considered as feminists. Because each wave addressed different social and economic issues, and this was reflected in their writing. The ‘first wave of feminism’ can be traced back to the late 18th century period. This wave targeted the injustices that were officially mandated and that were directed at women. The first wave of this movement was interconnected with other movements that sought reforms in the society. Such movements included the abolition movement and the temperance movement. The highlight of the wave was marked by the publication of Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft in 1972. The end of this wave can be seen to have been marked by the ratification of the Twentieth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This amendment gave the women voting rights and marked the beginning of the process of political empowerment for the women. The feminists during this period included Lucy Stone, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Helen Pitts among others. The movement also saw such achievements as educational opportunities for women. The first ...
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