In this day and age, feminism is becoming a thing of the past. More and more often, women have come to believe that we have achieved political, social, and cultural liberation, and yet they continue to feel the constraints of sexism. Unfortunately, this post-feminist viewpoint pervades in society and conflicts with the reality of the situation. With the aid of feminist language and informed discussion, words can change easily change misconstrued perceptions. However, without the knowledge and ideas of feminism, both men and women would lack the language to describe the sexism that persists in everyday life. The question is have we achieved this liberation in a socioeconomic setting?
The answer is a plain and simple: no.
Today, in what people call a “progressive society,” women still experience relentless objectification, make 77 cents to the man’s dollar (and keep in mind that this is based on white women’s wages vs. white men’s wages), are blamed for others’ acts of violence against her own body, and lack the right to make choices for herself. It is astounding that in this day and age, equality has yet to be achieved. In a culture with an undercurrent of misogyny and patriarchy, it would seem like common sense to identify as a feminist. However, as Jenna Goudreau points out, “In its winding history and constant evolution, feminism has taken on so many political, cultural and deeply personal meanings that now, by identifying myself as a feminist in the dawn of 2012, I am also subjecting myself to everyone else’s definitions.”
Associating as a feminist can imply numerous things, the most common being an angry woman who actively hates men. Pomerantz, the author of “Girls Run the World? Caught between Sexism and Postfeminism in the School,” also points out that identifying as a feminist implies that women are victimized and “are asking for special treatment rather than dealing with their own problems.” While this is not the case, post-feminism moves away from this notion, regardless, which leads to post feminism’s popularity. Post-feminism takes the general responsibility and blame off of society and takes a more individual approach to social injustices. As post-feminism becomes more widespread, girls tend to dissociate themselves from feminism because of the negative qualities associated with this word. In Pomerantz’s study, she found that “the fear of being perceived in this negative light may cause girls to strategically refuse language that may be connected to feminist politics.”
So why is it important to change the impractical post feminist viewpoint? While post-feminist theory is strong right now, it won’t be able to influence the current social injustices and inequalities, such as pervading sexism and wage gaps, because of its more passive role in resolving conflicts. While it’s important to realize that being polite and individualistic is great, feminism brings together those who understand that social inequalities have become so commonplace and are in dire need of change.