Lifestyle Uncategorized

Why We Need Feminism

One of my big pet peeves is when someone, especially a woman, says that they don’t need feminism, feminism isn’t needed any more, or some variety of that message. Some people say that women are equal with men now and that there is no point in going on and on about feminism any more. I respectfully disagree because while women might be equally valued in one situation, there are so many more across the world where they are not.

Take, for example, Iran. (Before anyone says anything, yes, I do think it is important to discuss women’s issues across the world and not just focus on feminism and women’s rights in our own backyards.) Two bills were recently introduced, both of which will damage women if they become law, and both are aimed at increasing the birthrate.

Why We Need Feminism - Kate the (Almost) Great

The first bill limits contraceptives and information on contraceptives, outlaws voluntary sterilizations for all, and ends the state-funded family planning organizations. What stands out the most to me is that this addresses information. It isn’t enough to limit contraceptives; oh no, it has to also impact citizens’ knowledge and their understanding of contraception. And I’m also interested in its effect on state-funded family planning. Those programs were originally started for population control and to stabilize the economy, but the Iranian lawmakers recently realized that eventually there will be a problem with an aging population. How will the older population be supported if there are not as many younger citizens?

I understand that concern. But is this really the best way to go about it? Sure, there will be more people, but what about children born into poverty or into families that can’t support them? Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution, but this doesn’t seem like the right way to go about it.

Also, while this bill certainly affects all citizens, it reduces women down to their ability to bear children. Oh, you’re a woman? You want a job and to work and to save up money before you have children? Too bad because you’re not getting contraceptives or even information about them. (Maybe this just seems a little out there, but I feel like environments like this leads to urban legends about certain ways to avoid getting pregnant that aren’t true.) And don’t say that you’re interested in having children. That’s not an option.

Why We Need Feminism - Kate the (Almost) Great

I’m even more troubled by the second bill. Its goal is to encourage women to get married and have children, but it also allows discrimination against single, childless job applicants; makes it difficult for anyone to file for divorce regardless of the reason; and limits police intervention in family disputes. That includes violence. In the best case, a couple grows apart and don’t want to be married to each other any more and they struggle to get divorced because of the law. In the worst case, a women has to stay with an abusive husband and the police can’t get involved if he is beating her. Ignoring the entire problem with a law that tries to make women get married and have kids if they don’t want to, this bill could be deadly for women.

Luckily, there isn’t a ton of support for this legislation. So maybe it won’t come to be and everything will be fine. But if the lawmakers don’t hear international anger over it, let alone domestic anger, they might go ahead and make it a law in order to increase the population. And this goes for other countries and other laws that are problematic or flat out dangerous for women. Staying silent doesn’t help anyone, and it can in fact hurt some, so just because you think that something like this isn’t a big deal or doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t speak up against it.

What are your thoughts on this bill and how it affects women?

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  • Reply Elizabeth @Something Saturdays

    Wow. I hadn't heard of these bills. That's such a step backwards.

    And in general, people don't understand the need for feminism in their own backyards. In the news yesterday, in Canada, it was reported that 8.5% of senior management in the top 100 companies are women, and this is up from 4.6% in 2006. So it's a big step in the right direction but considering that 50% of the population is female, it's still way lower than it should be!

    March 20, 2015 at 3:14 pm
  • Reply Loyal RUN

    I believe feminism is important too!! Sadly, I think the main reason people shy away from it, is because the radicals have made such a deep imprint, causing a distortion of what feminism really means. For example, I have never participated in a feminist act or movement because I was once verbally attacked for being a homemaker and stay at home mother. I simply reminded the person that there is no point in fighting for women's equality and the ability to make their own choices and then bash another woman for making her choice. But as you hear things like this, sometimes you just have to move past the hard feelings and stand firm for what you believe. Both of these bills are very scary, and I agree with you that when they are combined they become deadly for women. Something needs to be done to make sure these bills are not passed.

    March 20, 2015 at 9:57 pm
  • Reply Kati Rose @ Constantly Seeking Wonder

    Here, here on this post. That was me giving you applause. I couldn't have said it better myself. These bills are a huge step back for women and I am glad that when you spoke about feminism it wasn't a single sided one nationality version like we so often hear about. Women of ALL the world matter.

    March 21, 2015 at 9:39 pm
  • Reply Erica Ligenza

    Feminism is just SO oftentimes misunderstood. It's so sad. Half the population is women…we've gotta get respect! I wrote about how I think I'm a feminist, too here:

    March 22, 2015 at 7:45 pm
  • Reply Marla Rogers

    Ew to those bills…I think ESPECIALLY the one that seeks to keep people uninformed about contraceptives (although they're both horrifying!). Lack of education is incredibly crippling and controlling. I really hope they don't pass! Also I agree it's exceedingly irritating when people say feminism isn't needed anymore. Even if we don't have an Iran-like situation here in the US, I still definitely feel that women face many inequalities ranging from bodily harm to lack of representation in politics. I'm for feminism 150%.

    March 24, 2015 at 5:58 am
  • Reply eHa

    I really think most people don't understand what feminism means anymore! And, I like what you said about not ignoring what's happening here in the States. The same thing is happening here with abstinence only education! Sometimes I think people forget that we're not done facing challenges and fighting for equality here.

    April 12, 2015 at 8:48 pm
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