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Backlash Against the Feminist Movement - Essay Example

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Backlash Against the Feminist Movement

The backlash, according to Trimble's analysis of the phenomenon (cited in Feminism and I am not a feminist, 2008, p. 12), "was born out of the rise of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism in the 1980s and 1990s." At that point in time, the popular belief was that the movement had successfully accomplished its primary objectives and that Canadian women, as a consequence, had attained a status of absolute equality with males. Women had attained the basic rights for which they had agitated and fought. As the movement had been initiated by the absence of these rights and its goal had been the attainment of these rights, their accomplishment was interpreted as a successful conclusion to the movement. As such, the backlash refers, not to the right of women to equality or their earlier struggle for the attainment of equality, but to the current, "third wave" of feminism (p. 12). The backlash, in other words, is directed against feminism as a socio-political and ideological movement.
Canadian women have not, historically, embraced feminism. According to Trimble, O'Neil and Faludi (cited in Feminism and I am not a feminist, 2008, pp. ...
This is not simply expressive of the backlash against feminism but of popular rejection of radicalism, coupled with the certitude of gender equality. Quite simply stated, gender equality is an unquestionable principle in Canada and the equality of the sexes is neither contested nor debated. The implication here is that Canadian women do not feel that they have to embrace feminism in order to attain equality and do not embrace it because they are averse to radicalism.
From a personal perspective, feminism is not something which I identify with. While I most definitely understand the roots of the movement and acknowledge that were it not for the earlier generations of feminists, I would not be enjoying the freedoms which I take for granted today, I do not understand its present-day purposes or motives. Men and women are equal and this is something which we, as women, no longer need to argue or to prove. The notion that we must constantly prove and argue our equality does not reflect positively on us as a gender and, subjectively speaking, is somewhat demeaning. It seems to say that we are not persuaded of our own equality and therefore, need to constantly remind ourselves and others of it. It is, thus, that I see myself as a human rights advocate but not a feminist. I do not question the equality of the sexes and do not assume that we are not equal. Instead, I question equality between people and whether, in fact, all people, irrespective of colour, class, religion or ethnic heritage, are treated and regarded as equal. As I believe they should, and must, be, I support human rights but not feminism.
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Summary

The feminist movement is often portrayed as inherently radical in nature. This portrayal is not entirely prejudicial as the movement has often adopted radical rhetoric in its presentation of its case for gender equality. A consequence of the said radicalism has been the so-called "backlash" against the feminist movement, culminating in the reluctance of Canadian women to identify themselves as feminists or, indeed, to openly and publicly embrace the movement (Feminism and I am not a feminist, 2008, p…
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