As more and more women find the courage to make their voices heard in movements like #MeToo and push back against the patriarchy, the concept of feminism is adapting to become more inclusive and nuanced. Instead of demanding blanket equality for women, new age feminists are recognizing the differences between men and women, and they ask for these differences to be recognized and accounted for.
However, what does this mean for the average person and how they can support and raise up women? Here are some tips for you to better advocate for the women in your life and their rights.
One of the pillars of new age feminism is the power of choice and the validity of a woman’s decision in how she wants to live her life. This does not mean all women need to enter the workforce and earn their own living wage in order to be valid feminists and move against patriarchal society. A woman should not be shamed or seen as lesser for simply being a mother and caring for her children without working an outside job, just like a woman should not be looked down upon for having a career while having children. What is important is that the woman had the opportunity to make her own choice and that choice was voluntary and informed. Thus, it is your job to support that woman and not enforce sexist stereotypes by degrading and shaming her choice, whether it be conventional or unconventional.
As much as perfect equality is yearned for when comparing men and women, the reality of it is that there are differences between men and women that will always hinder this idealism. Thus, as a supporter, it is your job to advocate for the rights of women that will go overlooked if they are not promoted. For instance, women are the sole bearers of children which means they will need time off from work for maternity leave to recover, and they should not have to fear for their job security because of this biological necessity. This is something a man would never have to face simply because he is a man, but women are refused jobs or threatened termination simply for wanting to start a family.
Equality means that this difference is recognized, acknowledged, and accounted for in our society. Support the women in your life by supporting their efforts to ensure maternity leave and job security.
Additionally, this is only one example of the many ways you can support women’s endeavors in equality and rights protections, so talk to the women in your life about how you can better support their individual efforts! They know best.
And simply enough, if you are a woman, make sure your daily actions are in support and love for your fellow women. Being a woman is hard enough on its own, and the stereotype that all women hate other women is outrageous and untrue. The world can be competitive and ruthless, but do not let its negativity seep into how you treat your sisters. Thus, raise up your female peers so that their voices may be better heard and everyone may better know the power of a woman.
Written by Sydney Fay, August 2019