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Is There Still a Need for Feminism in Modern Society?

I have read many blogs on the subject and have attempted to have conversations with my friends/family about the topic but some people have a warped image of feminism and some believe that it is irrelevant.

Yet 'slut shaming' is practically expected, the word 'girl' a common derogatory adjective. My friends and I are sexually harassed in the street and upon saying how I'd much rather a promising career and inner city flat to having children I am often met with confused looks; when expressing my desire for a PhD the phrase "that'll take up some prime baby-making years" has come up multiple times. My friends and I are scared to venture out into the streets at night for fear of being attacked. Then in this world of rape culture not being taken seriously or being insulted during the process. Misogyny is everywhere, from ignorant remarks to social expectations.

The website rookiemag.com has some brilliant articles, written first hand by young girls and some guys on feminism, I have tagged a talk given by a regular writer for the website. Also the blog whoneedsfeminism.tumblr.com had points from both genders.

I can understand where the opposing side is coming from. In Western society many restrictions set in place for women are demolished, I just want to know your thoughts on the subject.

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    May 31 2013: In our modern society we shouldn'n still talking about Feminism and bla bla bla. Because it is inevitable things realized with hardworking. So we have to stop resisting and start creating.
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    May 28 2013: Would you be against getting in a fist fight with a man? True equality is something most feminists say they want, but really do not. True equality would get rid of the "never hit a woman rule." You do not want that. I have no problem with women wanted to be independant, successful, powerful, influential or anything. Women have every right that men do. What I do have a problem with is when feminism turns into "Men are all pigs, I can hold my own door open, all men are rape machines, I am not just a baby making machine." Things like that. Now, I am not entirely sure that we live in a "rape culture", but that is still a very horrible and unfortunately common occurrence. Biologically, men are built stronger and larger than women, that's not some socially constructed idea, it's nature. That has evolved into the common "men are better" ideal because in the earlier stages of humanity, strength was the biggest part of success. If you were strong, you ate better, lived better and so on.

    As I stated before, I quite enjoy seeing women strive to become successful. It's healthy and inspires a sense of warmth. But when it gets pushed so far left that these women start aggressively tearing down anything resembling (even accidentally resembling) a stereotype just to show how independent they are, it gets annoying. I think the very existence of feminism is a bane to its cause. If women want to be treated equal, then having more women gather to shout about it doesn't help. It doesn't need a title, it doesn't need a battle cry and it doesn't need propaganda. In my mind, nothing promotes the female gender as equals more than a woman who worked hard to be successful. Without putting labels on it.
    • May 31 2013: I don't think you really understand feminism. First off, this "never hit a woman" phrase is largely ignored, just look at the stats on abuse/assault of women. So this "rule" really doesn't exist in reality. Second, feminists don't want men to hit women, but they also don't want women to hit men unprovoked. Feminists don't support physical violence against anyone. Fist fights, unless in the context of a boxing match or something of that nature, are just ridiculous and really not relevant to this topic. To sum up, men DO hit women and feminists don't approve of any unprovoked violence, whether its a woman hitting a man or a man hitting a woman. Gathering is helpful to the feminist movement, it is easier to make substantial change as a large group with numbers rather than as an individual. Part of the feminist cause is to remove blockades that historically have made it much more difficult for women to be successful in comparison to men. Peoples way of thinking needs to change before real progress is made in any movement. Without the work of previous generations of feminists, it wouldn't b as possible for women to have the opportunities to work hard and become extremely successful. the whole "I'm not a baby making machine" comes from men and some women insisting that women must stay home and raise the family, so if people didn't think in such an outdated way to begin with then no woman would be saying that. I do think we live in a rape culture where the victims are blamed for their attack based on the way they dress, what they were drinking, their number of sexual partners, all of which have nothing to do with a woman being raped. The public often sympathizes with the rapist, in a "poor him his whole life is ruined now just because of one night" sort of way
      • R Jones

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        Jun 11 2013: I don't think you really understand feminism. If you want to look at stats/figures ... take a look at any of the usual points that are brought up to disprove feminism's claims for "equality". Men die earlier/ retire later, more likely to be injured or killed, have far less money spent on health research/care, get longer prison sentences for the same crimes, commit suicide at a much higher rate ... yet feminism has done nothing to deal with any of this benevolent sexism so that women are treated like men.

        Slut walks happened around the world in protest against the comments of one police officer. Yet not one march has happened in response to any of the number of false rape accusers you see in the press these days - the fact that these women, while ruining the lives of their victims, contribute to the problem of real rape victims feeling they won't be believed just isn't worth marching or complaining about for some reason. Now why would that be?

        The best thing I've found with feminism is to ignore the rhetoric and see what they actually do. Take, for example, the campaigns/demands for quotas in positions of power, whether in government or business. I find it very odd that there is no equivalent demand for quotas across the board of employment. Why are feminists more than happy for just men to carry on doing the most disgusting, difficult and dangerous jobs around the world? Where are the female quotas in construction, sewerage, power etc? Shouldn't we be getting more girls into these jobs?

        Let me guess - you support things like the posters which say "teach men not to rape". Try this - there are mothers around the world who have killed their children - let's plaster everywhere with posters saying "teach women not to kill babies". No? It's unfair to judge the majority due to the actions of a minority? Really?

        As for feminists and physical violence - you really need to review feminist history - violence is celebrated .. as long as men are the victims.
  • May 12 2013: I think women and men are like the yin and yang. Each is unique in its own way and only appears to be of a conflicting nature only when the polarities have been isolated and one is emphasized more than the other. I know that may sound abstract but what im trying to get at is that both the feminine and masculine principle are necassary and need to be valued for their uniqueness. I believe the femminist movement did a lot to re enforce the dominance of the male principal. what i mean, aside from equals rights which are an obvious necessity, the femminist movement tries in my eyes to forge women under the masculine principle and male role instead of empowering the feminine principle and empowering the female role. Instead of trying to indentify with the male role women should offer their uniqueness to the world. That doesnt mean women shouldnt attempt to be CEOs and Presidents, it means when taking on those positions they shouldnt put on the male persona but pursue those roles in a feminine way.
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    May 12 2013: i believe men & women should stand up for women, i hesitate to call it feminism because it goes deeper than that, it should be so much in our bones that we don't even have to call it a special word.
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    May 12 2013: Where do you live? I expect the situation is different in different countries.

    I am female, living in the United States, and have two daughters in their twenties. I have never heard the word "slut-shaming," not in forever heard "girl" used in a derogatory way, and never heard the reaction to academic plans "that'll take up some prime baby-making years." Most people who seriously pursue a PhD would finish within six years, I would guess, which sounds for most people like before age thirty. Lots of women have babies in their thirties and some have children while in PhD programs. I haven't personally noticed misogyny everywhere.

    I am not denying your experience but must wonder where you live. Wherever you live, you might want to choose a different peer group. I wonder if some of your friends are goading you because they perceive you to be sensitive on this issue.

    That said, if by feminism you mean the position that men and women should both be judged in accordance with their character, qualifications, and so forth, without regarding for gender, of course they should.

    I personally don't care whether people call me Ma'am, Miss, Mrs., Ms. or Dr and don't care if someone holds a door open if he got there first or if I hold a door open because I got there first. I am fine about someone asking me if I could use help lifting something heavy. It's because I am smaller (and not young).

    I believe in people respecting each other for who they are. I don't think of that as any -ism.
    • May 12 2013: "I believe in people respecting each other for who they are. I don't think of that as any -ism."

      I would like to call it humanism, but that term is taken. Perhaps respectivism? While women are still enduring harm just because they are women, men are also enduring harm because they are men. Feminism should be reshaped into a movement for all of us. In addition to pointing out and reducing specific harms, this movement should enlighten us about the gross and subtle expectations that society places on us because of our gender, age, etc. It should lead us toward a society where roles are not imposed on us, but freely chosen by us.
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    May 14 2013: The world sees you as you see yourself... if you feel weak the world will take you for granted ... if you feel strong within - the world will take you seriously.....
    Let me take you to our world of Hindu mythology where the supreme power is "Lord Shiva". for details check the link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva

    For him his wife "Goddess Parvati" is his power and she is called as "SHAKTI" which translates in English to mean "POWER".
    We have always believed man is powerless without a woman. A man and woman are complementary to each other and has very distinct roles to play in this world.... see the animal world..while the male animals take care of the hunting, the female counterpart takes care of the kids... humans are also animals.....just that we have evolved..we learn, educate, think and question.....
    Don't feel let down or frustrated ... get up get going... you have all the power you need to achieve whatever you want.... forget what the world says to you...believe in yourself..set your priorities and set out to achieve your goals!!!
    • May 14 2013: Vaneesh, your vision of yourself comes in large part from the people you encounter starting at birth. They respond to you, say things to you that you internalize. MALES=FEMALES, now and always. Life will be good for everyone as soon as we all acknowledge that and live accordingly. When people, e.g., men, try to control other people, e.g., women, that is evidence of their own feelings of powerlessness. Let each person control only themselves and be who they truly are. The female/male inequality structure has caused lies to prevail in human relationships. For true relationships, males and females must acknowledge their equality.
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    May 12 2013: Do we share the same definition of "Feminism"? Your question implies there once was a "need" for Feminism. That is debatable. The remarks you get from those around you indicate you are hanging with the wrong crowd. Denigrating a person's expressed desire for higher education is not a behavior best remedied by Feminism. If your peers view "girl" as a derogatory word you definitely need different peers, increased application of the tenets of feminism won't help. I have never heard the term, "slut shaming". There are social groups other than the visigoths you are apparently running with. Shop around. As for unsafe streets, that, again, is not a problem to be solved by feminism. Misogyny is everywhere because cruel, ignorant, sinful people are everywhere. Feminism will not solve the species-wide trait of cruelty, ignorance, and sin. I agree rape is a difficult crime to administer in the justice system. Rape should be treated more as assault and battery than as a sexual incident. Overpowering another person by physical force, or threat of force, and imposing one's desire upon them against their will easier to prosecute than determining whether a sex act was consensual, or not. Keep standing for Truth and Justice for all!
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    R H 20+

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    May 12 2013: You can understand where 'the other side' is coming from?! Brutal derogatory misogynistic discrimination is still understandable? Is this where we 'love the person but hate the deed' as some other conversations have discussed, or 'men are men' and we must 'understand' them? I'm a man. This is not 'feminism'. This is humanism. This is where it all begins, where it ends. This is the end of the line. Women as slaves and to be treated as such is done. It's despicable. It's embarrassing to a real man. Only weak, inadequate, mentally deformed, probably abused, psychopathic, children that are too old to be still considered such treat women in such a way. The aggressive strength of males is an honor and gift to be used as a definition of manhood, not license for for the poor, obvious failure demonstrated by domineering post-pubescent brutality to females. What kind of decrepit, spineless, maniac would consider such a thing? Only depressive pathetic fools that have great inner depravities would. Are men and women the same? No. Are men and women equal in value? Yes. Do men and women have the same needs, wants, and desires? No. Do men and women have the same right to seek their needs, wants, and desires? Yes. Women can no longer tolerate such behavior! Men, why are we worthy of the title? Why, because we have 'parts'? Because we are 'stronger'? Idiot! You're a scourge that doesn't have a clue who he is. We as humans, men and women, can no longer tolerate such misapplied attributes and disrespectful brutality to each other. We're all we've got.
  • Jun 4 2013: Women without her man is incomplete. It is a question where you want to add the ",". Women, without her, man is incomplete or women, without her man, is incomplete. Women adds fragrance and colour to life. The choice is whether one wants a black n white fragrance less life or otherwise. Whether one wants to place the flower at the altar or wreathe? The choice is left open!
  • May 14 2013: Only until males equal females in all societal institutions, human relationships, money power, ....like that.
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    May 14 2013: G'day Meghan

    Feminism is in response to chauvinism & chauvinism or sexism is still quite rampant so yes it's still needed in my view to give some sort of balance.

    Love
    Mathew
  • May 13 2013: I just think feminists need to change focus. I feel like it's swung too far over onto the other side now in some aspects. I think feminists need to fight the objectification of women in the media. It seems like any product geared towards men presents women as a sex object (AXE, action movies, porn, a lot of popular music out there). This is starting to have a profound influence on how men and boys develop and view women. It's started to damage the family as well. I think feminists actually need to fight for equal treatment inside of families and the right to have a partner in raising kids, instead of inactive husbands and boyfriends who just leave. It's all part of the same prejudice that kept women in the home unable to have a job. Women will not be equal until marriage/relationships are an equal partnership.
    • May 23 2013: While it is necessary for partners to be equal in a relationship, I don't think a feminist has to shift their focus completely to relationship equality. Assuming that women will be equal in society when they are equal in a relationship connotes that women are not women until they're in a relationship. And that's kind of sexist. Women will be equal in society when men realize that we are not taking power from them when we have power of our own.
      • May 23 2013: I see what you mean there. Go fight win!
  • May 12 2013: The question here is, what is feminism now in the western world? Its not what it was say 40 years ago when the movement really started having a profound effect on society. However, just because women get equal pay and can pretty much do any kind of job without being belittled as in the past does not mean that they receive the respect they deserve in today's world. There is still prejudice and there is much inequality still, for example women's sports are still not watched or possess the same remuneration as does men's. Maybe, only in music can women say they dominate the market at least to some degree. Who has not heard of Beyonce or Shakira and their phenomenal success. One of the worst aspects of society is how little the caring for children is valued, afterall noone pays anyone to do it, and men still take a minimal role in it. Women do not deserve to be hindered or their job value demeaned because they want to spend time rearing children. Will this change in the future, I don't know but it should. In this sense feminism is necessary and should be something practised by everyone.
  • May 12 2013: As an independent woman, I totally get what you're saying, Meghan!
    As a Mom, I understand what people are saying to you about 'baby-making years' (although I don't necessarily agree!) I do know that having babies has expanded my view of human beings in general, and has taught me more than any career ever could.

    People are animals. Some men are perhaps only able to see women in a biological way, the instinct arises, lust takes over. Respect for women as individuals is the farthest thing from their minds, it seems.

    My children are 5 and 6 years old. They have an equal amount of male friends as female friends. It seems to me, the answer lies in early education, where a mutual respect can be built and maintained throughout our lives.