Sample Argumentative Essay On Definition Argument – Feminist
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I was recently in an argument regarding “equal pay” on the internet and the conversation drifted towards modern feminism, its goals, practices, proponents, and methods. I had to dig deep in to the articles regarding feminism and I was disappointed to see that the definitions provided by many of the articles were different from one and another. One of the definitions claimed that feminism is a struggle explicitly for women and it does not stand to fight for gender discrimination faced by men, as this was not the original purpose of the movement while the other claimed that men benefit from the struggle too and it addresses the gender discrimination faced by men, too. So, in my humble opinion, there is a great need to define what exactly feminism stands for and what its goals, methods, proponents, and practices are in modern society. Progress in the struggle for achieving gender equality is subdued due to our inability to clearly define what feminism is actually about. Many a times, when the word feminism is mentioned in an article, it gets referred as to be universally understood, but the meaning of the term ‘feminism’ varies from the time period you are referring to. The difference between the meanings of feminism in between different waves of feminism is obvious. The first wave feminism was not inclusive of different racial backgrounds, unlike the second and third waves. The second wave, however, lacked the international scope of third wave. Also, analysing what people say about feminism, it is evident that many people, while believing in gender equality, refuse to be called a feminist because the term is still associated with stereotypical bra-burning (Houvouras and Scott Carter). Presently, many arguments making claims about feminism are considered to lack substance when they do not define the term. Their assumption, that readers know what feminism is, is wrong. However, numerous meanings and definitions of the word exist; it falls upon the feminists to explicitly define what feminism means.
Feminism, in the modern culture, is seen as a bad word. It has a taboo of bra burning and man hating. Many people who claim to believe in gender equality in society, they don’t want to be labelled as feminists. A recent survey from Huffing Post and YouGov suggests that as many as 82% of the respondents believe that “men and women should be social, political, and economical equals” (Swanson). The reason that many people don’t want to be labelled as feminists, despite seemingly believing in feminist values, is that due to some reasons, (either majority of feminists’ action or propaganda against feminism – this being an altogether different debate) people tend to believe that feminism refers to radical and extremist women who fight over “non-issues” and don’t have a sense of humor. This is not only the thought coming from the people who do not consider themselves a feminist, but some feminists also believe that the way, the word ‘feminism’ is portrayed and interpreted makes it hard to argue for the core values that the movement stands to project into the society (Rine). Some even suggest abandoning the label of feminism, altogether, so that it is easier to argue about the current issues regarding gender equality. The people who do not label themselves as feminists either believe that the feminist movement is not for gender equality, or they consider themselves as “post-feminists”. Post feminism is a viewpoint that the gender equality has been achieved and the current feminist movement is redundant and anti-constructive. They believe that the second wave feminism goals have been achieved while they are also critical of the goals of third wave feminism, so they think that there is no need of feminism and we are living in a post-feminism age. However, apart from the people who are over-critical of feminism, there are also many who are appreciative of the term and proudly label themselves as feminists. There have been many examples where public figures have owned the term “feminism” and proudly announced themselves as feminists.
If a definite definition were to be devised for feminism, one would have to take into account the previous struggles of the movement, the current objectives of the movement, and the methods used by the movement to pursue those objectives. Taking into context, the previous achievements by the feminist movement – both the first and second wave – it can be said that eliminating the institutionalized gender inequality from the society. However, taking into view the direction of third wave feminism, especially from recent times, it can be said that third wave feminism aims to eliminate the inequality instilled in the minds of common people and project work on ground to make a difference. So, on the whole, feminism stands to fight the gender inequality, both on an individual and institutional level, by making the masses aware about the casual sexism. However, the movement does need to work on its branding strategies and address the issue of it being a bad work in the current scenario. There can be research done on how to improve the movement’s image in the society in the universities offering degrees in the subject. It is important for the movement to address why it is considered as anti-progressive today so that it can spend more time to combat the substantive issues, instead of just arguing about the labels and identities.
Bargad, Adena, and Janet Shibley Hyde. 'WOMEN's STUDIES.'. Psychology of Women Quarterly 15.2 (1991): 181-201. Web. 9 Feb. 2015.
Houvouras, Shannon, and J. Scott Carter. 'The F Word: College Studentsâ€™ Definitions Of A Feminist'. Sociological Forum 23.2 (2008): 234-256. Web. 9 Feb. 2015.
Rine, Abigail. 'The Pros And Cons Of Abandoning The Word 'Feminist''. The Atlantic. N.p., 2013. Web. 9 Feb. 2015.
Swanson, Emily. 'Poll: Don't Call Me This (Even If It's True)'. The Huffington Post. N.p., 2013. Web. 9 Feb. 2015.
Young, Cathy. “A Better Feminism for 2015.” Time. 31 Dec. 2014. Web. 31 Jan. 2015. <http://time.com>.
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