A feminist is derived from the concept of feminism to describe an individual that supports feminism. Feminism describes a wide gamut of ideologies and movements that supports the rights of women. These rights exist in political, social, economic, cultural and personal contexts. Feminists campaign for the equality of women in the society so that they can have equal rights as men (Butler 7). This campaign has been staged in societies where men have dominated positions of influence and authority. Feminist ideologies encompass the right to participate in political processes such as contesting for political positions and voting. This has enabled women in most societies to occupy various positions of influence. A feminist also ensures that women are free to hold public offices and get equal pay as their male counterparts. Through these movements, the participation of women in various sectors has increased over the years across the world.
Women have been able to own property and acquire education as well as have equal rights and freedom in the institution of marriage. In most societies, feminist movements have ensured that women are entitled to maternity leave as well as protection from rape, harassment and violence. In western countries, feminists have brought significant changes in the rights of women, which include gender neutrality and suffrage as well as rights to carry out abortion (Butler 13). The underlying principle behind feminism is the harm that women experience when they are subjected to traditional gender responsibilities. Although various feminist movements have been accused of paying little regard to women across race and social class, the push for equality for women has gained momentum over time.
In her research on Gendered Lives, Julia Woods rights about the differences between men and women to bring about the differences in traditional gender roles. Wood acknowledges the significant variation between men and women due to the diversity in sexual orientation, heredity and experience (19). The author observes that men and women also experience diversity in class and culture. The characteristics that each individual possesses bring out the differences between members of the opposite sexes. In light of these differences, there is divided opinion on whether women should have combat duty. Although feminism advances equal rights for women in virtually all spheres of life, there is argument that women should not take part in combat duty. This argument premises on the notion that women should not kill when they are the ones who give life. Life is an essential gift. However, the failure to include women in combat duties like the army has raised concerns about male-dominated societies.
Wood gives an example of an individual that feel uncomfortable with the idea of women involvement in combat duties. The individual admits that he can’t think about his mum or sister killing other people or being assaulted. On the subject of sex, Woods observe that even though men are primarily masculine and women primarily feminine, there are cases where a man expresses himself more femininely than other men whereas as woman expresses herself in more masculine ways than other women (21). Woods buttresses this claim by introducing genetic determination of sex due to occasional variation in the chromosomes. She argues that these chromosomes determine how feminist and masculine people become.
According to Rotman, the western culture pays regard to thinness as a desirable feature in women. Such body ideals have become ways of expressing feminism particularly among Caucasian women (3). In some cultures, a person’s gender is perceived as changeable. An individual that is born male can be regarded as female whereas in other societies, high esteem is placed on people that exhibit multiple genders. This implies that people’s construction of feminism depends on their perception of an individual. If an individual is perceived as female, she is said to have feminist ideologies and vice versa.
In light of the foregoing, it is indubitable feminist ideologies have brought changes in role of women in the society. I believe that women, like their male counterparts, have a right to take part in matters of the society. In the era of globalization and modernity, the rights of women should not only be protected and promoted but also preserved. Studies have shown that women who have risen to positions that were predominantly male-dominated have performed successfully (Rotman 6). In this regard, the advocacy by feminist movements should increase to accommodate participation of women in various duties and responsibilities.
The society should recognize the strength of women and give them opportunities that befit their status, qualifications and abilities. I believe that if more women rise up to defend their rights and demand more space, they will rise to strategic positions of influence and lead the world towards peace and stability. It is discernible from the course material that despite the differences in our genetic composition, women should be accorded fairness. Division of work should be done in a way that includes women to take part in outside jobs as well. Although femininity was previously defined as nurturing, it has since been overtaken by time as advocacy groups expand the role of women.
Butler, Judith. Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. routledge, 2011.
Rotman, Deborah. Historical archaeology of gendered lives. Springer Science & Business
Wood, Julia T. "Gendered lives: Communication, gender, and culture Wadsworth." (2009).