In recent decades, feminism is making an impact in many facets of society. A common misconception is that feminism is only advantageous to women, but in reality, it campaigns for the equality of all sexes. The road to achieving equality is going to be slow, but everyone has a key role in seeking that change. Achieving gender equality will help reduce retrogressive practices such a rape, sex trafficking, women’s sexual violence, and forced marriages. A central subject that presents itself in the paper is whether feminism has altered the modern family.
Summarizing Relevant Concepts of Feminism
Feminist theory aims to analyze the nature of gender inequality and examine men and women’s roles in various facets of life. The theory explores the themes of oppression, patriarchy, discrimination, and sexual objectification. It supports the political, social, and economic equity of all genders. Therefore, feminist theory shifts assumptions and topical focus away from men’s perspective to that of women (Thompson, 2018). In doing so, its shines light on social issues that are overlooked by the traditional male-based society.
Traditionally, women have been dehumanized in a male-dominated society by the patriarchal system. Patriarchy is a system whereby society is organized around male authority figures. This implies that male rule is dependent on female subordination. It is the primary obstacle to women’s development and advancement (Illouz, 2012). These patriarchal societies promote female subordination and sexual violence. It incorporates the view that prioritizes men and women are treated unjustly within the society.
Despite patriarchy, women have been able to stand up each time and express their problems. Feminism has impacted society by campaigning for greater access to education for women, equitable pay with men, the right to divorce, and the right to access contraceptives and abortion. They seek to remove all the barriers to equal opportunities for women. The efforts to achieve equality include fighting gender stereotypes and establishing opportunities for women.
Impact of Feminism on the Modern Contemporary Family
Feminists have contributed to improving the status of women in families. Their campaigns have made women aware of their rights and improved their lives. Feminism challenges gender-equitable societies which are healthy for families to thrive. They also challenge restrictive gender norms, reproductive rights, and protection from violence, which impacts the well-being of any modern family. Feminists fought for changes in families and made sure that having a family was optional for every woman (Overall, 2013). They lobbied for guaranteed incomes for mothers who care for their children.
Around the globe, most families are still based on the unequal division of labor. Women are still doing most household chores, and feminists have attacked this traditional approach that limits equality. In the contemporary family, the role of women in society has been revolutionized. Unlike in the past, where women were housewives, and their roles were to obey men and only take care of children, women’s positions have been revolutionized, and they are now allowed to study, write and vote (Corso, 1960). Feminism has transformed gender roles in the family by campaigning for equal housework with men.
Gender differences have been argued to cause the sexual division of labor in families. This has been the reason why women and men experience society differently (Budig, 2014). These traditional dynamics exclude women from full participation in several activities. Gender oppression theories argue that women are actively subordinated and oppressed by men. Feminists assume that gender roles are not determined by biology but are rather learned. Additionally, feminists have championed for expanded employment of women in the workplaces, thus affecting gender roles within households. Employed mothers have had an opportunity to reinvest their income back into their families.
Also, they have been central in criticizing roles associated with nuclear families. They argue that traditional families have performed key roles in oppressing women. The nuclear family makes girls accept the discriminated roles while encouraging boys to believe that they are superior. Moreover, feminists have criticized the male contribution to household chores, terming it as unfair. The likes of Ann Oakley argue that traditional families preserve and support patriarchy (Thompson, 2018). Their view that the nuclear family has bred patriarchal values, thus creating a patriarchal society.
Feminists have argued that practices such as surrogacy, single parenting, or gendered marriages are solely based on the choice of women. They argue that liberty, choice, and privacy are dependent on women’s opinions. The movement has helped campaign for social issues, such as intimate partner violence, reproductive rights, maternity leave, and sexual harassment. The movement seeks to cross boundaries based on class, race, ethnicity, and sexuality to ensure equality (Edin & Kefalas, 2011). They have fought for women’s rights, including equal pay as men, and the freedom to choose when to plan their families
The movement is also centered on fighting for reproductive rights for women to choose whether to terminate or carry a pregnancy. With the advent of feminism, it can be noted that women in relationships with non-feminist men are reported to be unhappy, unlike feminist partners. They have championed equality so that women can become economically independent of their male partners (Illouz, 2012). This will lower the rate at which women are subject to physical, psychological, and sexual abuse by their husbands.
The Benefits Feminism Has Brought to the Family
Educating women has a pivotal role in the social and economic growth in all countries. With feminism, women in families are now allowed to access education, which has encouraged them to assume leadership roles. When women are educated, they are empowered, and they will raise the standards of living for their families and the entire community (Budig, 2014). Offering education to women is one effective way of increasing the productivity of mothers and thus enhancing the well-being of children and families. Also, educated mothers face fewer risks to maternal health complications because they are more informed about preventive measures and healthcare access. These mothers are better positioned to provide better nutrition to their children and make better choices for their children’s future.
Feminist theory has brought gender equality in homes and families. It has deconstructed gender roles that have been around for ages and allowed individuals to live free and empowered lives without traditional restrictions (Budig, 2014). The movement has broken down gender stereotypes and promoted sharing of household chores between men and women. By doing so, women and girls do not miss out on equal educational opportunities or work.
In conclusion, feminism works against traditional systems that oppressed certain groups and strive for equality for everyone. The primary goal of feminism is to give women freedom and equal opportunities in society. Feminism has helped challenge restrictive gender norms and acknowledges race, sexual orientation, and class to facilitate equality. Gender equality is vital for realizing human rights and ensuring that women and men enjoy equal opportunities in all facets of life.
Budig, M. J. (2014). The fatherhood bonus and the motherhood penalty: Parenthood and the gender gap in pay. [PDF File].
Corso, G. (1960). Should I get married? New Directions Publishing.
Edin, K., & Kefalas, M. (2011). Promises I can keep: Why poor women put motherhood before marriage. University of California Press.
Illouz, E. (2012). Why love hurts: A sociological explanation. Polity.
Overall, C. (2013). Think before you breed. Think About It, 252.
Thompson, E. H. (2018). Men, masculinities, and aging: The gendered lives of older men. Rowman & Littlefield.