Is Feminism Dead?
To say that feminism is dead is to make a strange statement because feminism is a political movement and not an organic entity. When a living being ceasing to breathe or function, it is dead and can never come back. When an inorganic political movement evolves or changes and this evolution is not appealing to certain people, it may be pronounced “dead” in their eyes. However, to say feminism is “dead” is a matter of opinion that is shaped from the world view of the person making the statement and it is a thoroughly inaccurate statement to put forth.
Feminism has not died; it has simply become part of the fabric of society and is no longer noticeable. In order to understand this, all one needs to do is look at the depiction of women in popular culture in the 1940’s and 1950’s. For the most part, women were generally relegated to domestic services and office automaton positions.
There is more to this situation than mere economic losses as such a position in society is virtually a condemnation to second class citizen status. Consider the thoughts of Gabrielle Meagher in her essay “Is It Wrong to Pay for Housework?” where the author puts forth the notion that housework and domestic servitude can yield the unfortunate result of social isolation that impedes a woman’s ability to actively become part of the world. As more and more women began to realize the inherent dangers of being pigeonholed into such a life, a revolutionary movement began to take root.
In the 1960’s, America underwent a radical upheaval and feminism was a large part of this upheaval. This radically new feminist movement would become spotlighted on television, in film, in print etc because it was something that had never been seen before. The movement also pressed a serious agenda of equal pay for equal work, matters of reproductive choice, and so on.
The fight for women’s rights was not an easy one, but it was, ultimately, successful. The position of women in the United States greatly benefited by the feminist movement and gender discrimination could no longer exist in such an overt manner. As such, the feminist movement was successful and much of what it hoped to achieve became part of the fabric of American life. Because of this, feminism appeared to fade away and “die.”
Of course, feminism did not really die because much of what the feminist movement fought and succeeded in gaining still exists. As long as the fruits of the labor of the feminist movement continue to exist, then feminism can never truly die. However, feminism can be taken for granted.
That is to say, much of what the feminist movement provided is now taken for granted. Many young women do not realize that much of the bounty they are able to enjoy today came from the fruits of the labor of the feminist movement. As each generation passes, the feminist movement becomes part of history. While it was shocking television in 1974 to present a feminist speaker to the masses, by today’s standards it no longer shocking. Because of this, feminist thinkers and speakers do not get the airtime they once received and this result in a lessoning of the memberships of a number of feminist organizations.
However, since feminism contributions to the fabric of American civilization remain strong, it has not “died.” In fact, it perpetually existence within the framework of society shows that it has grown stronger than most would have ever imagined.
Bellafonte, Ginia“Is Feminism Dead?” Time Magazine June 25, 1998 Retrieved April
10, 2007 from http://www.time.com/time/community/
Meagher, Gabrielle. “Is It Wrong To Pay For Housework?” SOURCE UNKNOWN