The Evolution of Women
By Bailey Timmers
Feminism is commonly defined as ensuring that the social and political rights of women are equal to those of men. The definition, as simple as it may sound, has brought about controversy since the late 1960’s. Some have interpreted feminism to mean that women should have the right to choose whichever lifestyle they please. Others may interpret it to mean that women and men should be considered equals in all aspects. Since the 19th century the focus of the feminist movement has broadened past just women.
In the 1960’s, the American woman was limited in almost every respect, from family life to work life. A common routine for the women of this time period was marrying young, having children soon after, living a life full of household chores and working to the every need of men. Men were superior and as time passed women grew sick of this never ending cycle. There was only so much women could do to defend themselves. Without the proper education, respect, and power they deserved, it was difficult to start a revolution for women’s rights. Brigham Young once said, “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation” (Young). Throughout historical events, such as men going away for war, women were able to play a role in the workplace and take on both a fatherly and motherly role in the household. When the men returned, women recognized the ability in themselves to be equal to men in all aspects. With this new idea of equality of the genders, the majority of men did not know how to act and could not envision such a proposal; understanding that, the commencement of feminism would create an ongoing ripple effect throughout society.
Today, feminism is a controversy that has both women and men arguing for and against its cause. On one side, women and men are collaborating to promote equal opportunities and treatment among the genders. On the other hand, men refuse to escape from society’s historical behaviors of a superior male culture. In the past, men had been raised to handle politics, not show emotion, receive the upper-hand of education and essentially dominant women. Today, women are raised to believe they are not inferior to men. However, the way men are raised has not altered much from the past. Gloria Steinem, a female American activist, once declared, “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.” By stating this, Steinem is calling for a change in the way future generations are raised. While women have made strides in equality in the past decades, more modifications are still necessary to gain the respect, power, and positions they deserve.
Because of activists’ persistence, women in America now have equal rights with men; however, more change is still occurring. No more are women expected to be obedient to men, barred from politics, education, and life outside housework. Women are now independent, politically-involved, educated, and diverse. Women are just as knowledgeable and capable as men in all areas of life. Vera Nazarian, an author, once wrote, “A woman is human. She is not better, wiser, stronger, more intelligent, more creative, or more responsible than a man. Likewise, she is never less. Equality is a given.” Since the late 1960’s, feminism is an idea that has evolved with the aid of strong women and men.
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