The Truth about the American Feminist Movement
Ask an older American today about the Feminist Movement in America and he or she will probably tell you that it began about fifty years ago – way back around 1960, or shortly thereafter. That answer would, of course, be completely wrong. The American Feminist Movement actually can trace its roots back to the earliest years of America itself.
Called The Women’s Movement or Women’s Liberation or even Women’s Lib, the “movement” involves Feminist interest and involvement in a series of campaigns or issues, including reproductive rights … domestic violence … maternity leave … equal pay … voting rights … sexual harassment … and sexual violence. All of these “tinder box” issues – and others, as well – have motivated some women to stand up and be heard.
Of course, in the earliest days of the Feminist Movement (during Colonial Times and into the early twentieth century) middle and upper class women struggled for recognition and fair treatment. One of the primary issues motivating this first wave of Feminists was Suffrage … the right to vote.
From the very origins of America in 1776 until well over one hundred years later, women had no voting rights – none! The Suffrage Movement, along with the desire for equal treatment in all other aspects of daily life animated the movement and led directly to the passage of an amendment that gave women the right to vote.
While certain issues have motivated women in the United States, other issues have been more important to Feminists in other parts of the world, In some countries of Africa, for example (the Sudan), women are struggling to eliminate sexual mutilation from their culture. In parts of Europe or Asia or the Middle East, there are other concerns for women that rule the conversation about rights.
Whether it is in America where the Feminist Movement is, and has been, active or in other parts of the world, it is fair to say that the movement has resulted in many sweeping changes, culturally, legally and logically. These changes have created a new reality in the lives of both men and women.
Now, in the 21st Century, the Feminist Movement in America remains alive and well and concerns itself with such issues as reproductive rights and politics. Many feminists are now, and always have been, extremely liberal (currently referred to as “Progressive”) and have worked actively for liberal causes and to elect liberal (Democrat) politicians to office at the local, state and federal level.
And while they have had some success, the American Feminist Movement has far fewer adherents these days than it did when it reached the peak of its popularity way back in the 1960s and 1970s. The movement, even when it was extremely popular, never really attracted lots of females to its causes. But, as has happened with so many other movements in history, as it achieved many of its goals, there has been less need and much less passion for it to continue.
Who knows … perhaps the movement will eventually pass from the scene when its founders, now in their 70s, are no longer able to dominate it. Time will tell if that happens.