Thursday, August 13, 2009

Generation Y and the Status of Feminism

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard “Feminism is dead.” This strikes me as odd considering there are indications of feminism and the need for feminism everywhere. Third wave feminism, for example, is basically defined as the activities of the movement from 1990-present (Generation Y). “Third Wave envisions a world in which young women and transgender youth have the skills, power, and opportunity to engage in and lead efforts for social justice,” reports the Third Wave Foundation. This video indicates what the third wave is all about. A diverse range of young persons are getting involved with the third wave through a variety of ways. Julie Zeilinger is a mere 16 years old, but nevertheless identifies with the ideologies of feminism so much that she started her own blog, fbomb. Ruby, possibly the youngest feminist I’ve ever encountered, is only 7.

But isn’t feminism unnecessary? Women have equality, after all. Well, not exactly. Women occupy only 17% of the total seats within Congress, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. On the state level, percentages are a bit higher with women occupying approximately 23.6% of the 314 available positions. Add this to other inequalities including, but not limited to: the wage gap, domestic and sexual assault and violence, limited reproductive rights, and not to mention, the pervasive and ever-powerful institution of patriarchy. Feminism, after all, is about equality and until such equality does exist for ALL members of society, isn’t it still indeed necessary?

Before accepting the popularized stereotypes about what it means to be a feminist consider conducting your own research by utilizing a variety of sources (start with a few feminist magazines such as Ms., Bitch, or Bust and check out a few blogs like, or even more article-based sites like Books such as Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti or Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future by Jennifer Baumgardner illustrate the importance of feminism and why you should get involved. Feminism isn’t just for hairy, lesbian, man-haters; believe me…though they are certainly welcome. I have faith in Generation Y to wake up and smell the inequality and recognize the importance of feminism. In fact, in many ways, they already have.

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