Note: This is the second article in a series about gender and equality. The first one is called What’s the Problem with Masculinity? In it, I discuss a lot of the unhealthy cultural forces that lead men to oppress women (as well as damage themselves). In this piece, I look at the feminist movement and question some of its strategies for implementing greater equality in society. Obviously, I’m a straight white male and don’t deal with the shit women deal with on the regular. But please take this as a critical look at the methods of feminism, rather than the cause of equality itself.
I n 1919, thousands of women stood outside the White House and demanded that they be allowed to vote. In the next presidential election, they would. And this massive demographic shift paved the way to laws in the 1920s that would promote women’s health and education (as well as prohibition, but we’ll just pretend that never happened).
In the 1960s and 70s, feminist protests resulted in a series of laws that guaranteed, under the law, equal rights in the workplace, in universities and colleges, in health care, and in the home.
The feminist movement is usually broken up into three “waves.” The first wave in the late 19th and early 20th centuries pushed for political equality. The second wave, in the 1960s and 70s, pushed for legal and professional equality. And the third wave, in the past couple of decades, has pushed for social equality.
But whereas legal and political equality are clearly defined and measurable, social equality is murky and complicated. The current feminist movement is not a protest against unjust laws or sexist institutions as much as it is the protest against people’s unconscious biases as well as centuries’ worth of cultural norms and heritage that disadvantage women.
Women still get screwed over in myriad ways. It’s just that whereas before it was an open and accepted part of society, today much of it is non-obvious and even…