It was some type of a social compact since the very early days of mankind that males and females were not equal. In the old days, men were hunting for mammoths and women were maintaining fire in caves and bringing up children. In the course of the time, mammoths got extinct but the primeval distribution of the roles between men and women still existed thus making women’s life less interesting as compared with men’s. The men’s world has undergone many major transformations since that time, let us take the technological progress or new state systems for example. At the same time, the women’s world with their care about children and the house, with financial dependence upon husbands remained in the form it existed centuries ago. And finally, women felt that they were no longer satisfied with the role males thrust upon them.
The resentment gave rise to feminism worldwide. The importance of the movement was really great in women’s life because it opened new opportunities for them. For instance, feminism gave suffrage to women which meant they could vote together with men. Also, girls got a chance to undergo the same course of school studies that boys had which in its turn allowed girls to further get higher education. Good education meant that women could apply themselves to any sphere of professional activities and earn money. It is also important that feminism made women and men equal as concerning the right of property.
The suffrage movement in Europe and America in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries was the early stage of feminism. In the framework of the movement, women demanded they must not only have the right to vote but also the right to divorce and get education. And the fight was a success. The significant period of feminism was followed by two major bursts that took place in the 1920s and early 1960s. The latter, which still continues, is the most debatable one in the history of feminism. It seems that women have already got everything they were fighting for. What else? The war of sexes has transformed into behind the scene stage when women face implicit discrimination in employment, in career promotion; suffer from violence at home and in the office. And the situation is no joke today when in some countries even a mere compliment can be interpreted as sexual harassment.
In other words, it turns out that the entire of culture and society was built by men and none of women’s interests was taken into account at that. So, feminists think it is necessary to add much feminine aspects to the social order.
Methods that feminists suggested for ‘fighting the men’s world’ help us see the history of the feminism movement in a few words.
Radical feminism appeared in the late 1960s as a large-scale and diversified feminism trend. It was supported by the biggest number of feminism theorists. The main idea that radical feminists developed was that for many centuries women had been oppressed in all spheres of social life. And that was the main problem they were fighting against.
The Amazon feminism consisted in the idea that women were oppressed because of their weakness. Followers of the idea believed that women’s world would be able to resist the men’s world when they were physically strong.
When the radical feminism died the cultural feminism appeared. Cultural feminism is a variety of feminism which emphasizes essential differences between men and women, based on biological differences in reproductive capacity. Cultural feminism attributes to those differences distinctive and superior virtues in women.
Next went separatism when women wanted to separate from men, for some time or forever, with the purpose of building their wonderful world. Lesbianism, the attempt to ignore men as species, belongs to this feminism trend.
There is also pop-feminism which in fact stands apart from the feminism movement in general. This is rather the desire of authoritative women to have men under their thumbs and to make them feel they are absolutely wrong. Majority of middle age women who were young under the Soviet regime behave to men so that they can be ranked among pop-feminists. However, this ranking would sound really surprising to them.
When talking about feminists, common people are inclined to confuse three different phenomena with each other. These are the feminism ideas, the methods for realization of the ideas, the looks and biographies of well-known feminists.
It is generally believed that all feminists are ugly and neglect their looks. So, being absolutely neglected by men, these women actively fight for women’s rights. But in fact this opinion is erroneous. At least half of every ten feminists are very pretty.
Some people also think that feminists are lesbians. In fact, only those who belong to the separatist trend are lesbians who ignore men in sex.
Another mistake is to think that feminists are aggressive towards all men because their private lives are a bad luck. To tell the truth, like any other women feminists may have problems with their private lives. However, this does not mean that feminists are biased against men in general.
Translated by Maria Gousseva
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