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The Facts on Faminism

The word feminism conjures up a variety of images for people. A lot of misunderstanding and hyperbole have surrounded feminism, but according to the dictionary, feminism is simply a movement for the social, political, and economic equality of men and women.

While feminist theories have surfaced from time to time in history, the modern feminist movement's roots are in the Age of Enlightenment with its principles of individual justice. In the United States, these ideas were put into action by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others who issued a Declaration for Women's Independence in 1848. A central demand of their nascent feminist movement, women's right to vote, was achieved in 1920 after a 72-year battle.

Feminism reached the popular consciousness in the sixtieth with the leadership of women like Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, and Angela Davis; the passage of the Civil Rights Act prohibiting employment discrimination, and a lot of media exposure. Some primary issues of this time were equal pay, equal education access, freedom from sexual harassment, and the right to safe, legal abortions.

In the eighties, many feminists claimed that there was a backlash4 against feminism in the media, popular culture, and the political right.

The nineties saw some of this media-driven backlash, as well as the appearance of a new strain of youth feminism," Riot Grrrls", who emerged from the punk movement.

While many people agree with the dictionary definition of feminism, few claim to be feminists for a number of reasons.

They may feel that feminism is only for lesbians or women who hate men. Actually, a lot of feminist quotes have been taken out of context, and there are many different branches of feminism which espouse different ideals.

Instead of hating men, most feminists believe equality between the sexes will benefit men by unshackling them from traditional expectations. They welcome men into the ranks of feminists. And although there has always been a strong presence of lesbians and bisexuals in the women's movement, most feminists are heterosexual. Many feminists claim that homophobia and ignorance are at the heart of people's refusal to label themselves as feminists, even though they agree with the tenets of feminism.

Feminism has changed and grown with time and critical examination. There are currently about 17 identity-based branches of feminism including black feminism and Marxist feminism. These different offshoots sprung out of the belief that gender does not exist in a vacuum and must be examined in the context of race and class in society.

Feminism will likely change more in the future and have a larger international presence, although its reach and impact will vary greatly in different cultures. While controversy and misunderstanding regarding feminism will continue, so will the feminist movement in its many permutations.

提起“争取女权运动”这个字眼,每个人都会产生不同的想法。对争取女权运动误解或夸大其词的人不少,但字典里, “争取女权”仅指要求两性在社会上、政治上,及经济上拥有平等权利的运动。随着历史的变迁,女权的理论也随 之变化,而现代女权运动则是产生于注重个人公正的启蒙时代。在美国,这些理念是由伊丽莎白·卡迪·斯坦顿等人付诸实施的,他们于1848年发表女性《独立宣言》。在争取女权运动发展的初期,其核心要求是争取女性投票权,经过72年的奋战,终于在1920年得到了这一权利。


80年代,许多女权主义者称,争取女权运动在媒体、大众文化,和政治权力上遭到了强烈抵触。90年代,由媒体主 导的反对声浪犹存,同时期也出现了被称为“Riot Grrrls”的争取女权运动的新思潮,这是自朋克运动孕育而生的。





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