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Kimberly Shulterbrandt

Maslonka
English 101 Section 18
18 March 2015
Why We Need Feminism
Feminists have always been deemed as angry women who cannot get a man to be with
her, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote a book for which critics called her a feminist, and a
journalist advised her she should not call herself a feminist, since feminists are women who are
unhappy because they cannot find husbands (Adichie 9). In reality, feminists are women
fighting for gender equality and well deserved respect, for many years now women have been
fighting for the same thing. If it seems as if modern day feminists are angry it may be because
generations of women have been fighting for the same thing over and over again, with little to no
progress. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says about an essay she wrote, Gender today is a
grave injustice. I am angry. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about
positive change (Adichie 21). So, it may be a good thing that modern day feminists seem angry.
Today there is more than just gay and straight, there are hundreds of sexualities modern
day people identify with, and often those people are also oppressed. In fact, tumblr.com lists over
one hundred sexual orientations, and now more than ever society needs feminism. It plays a
crucial role for the protection of these individuals not just women. In Sharon Jaysons USA
TODAY article This is not your grandmothers kind of feminism she spoke to a few feminists,
both men and women, one of whom said feminism today is much more than a gender issue
focus [is] on oppression of all sorts, not just womens rights. Feminism is not a group of angry
women protesting, it is women and men coming together for a greater cause, it is to help those
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oppressed by societys standards feel protected. From a young age women are taught not to dress
a certain way, not to be out too late alone, women are taught to be afraid. Men arent being
taught that no means no, they are not being taught that a girls outfit may be revealing but that it
is not an invitation to disrespect her. Men do not grow up afraid to go out alone at night, and they
are not made uncomfortable by the opposite sex just because of what they are wearing.
Women are brought up to become mothers and wives they are taught to cook, they are
taught to sew, and are often in charge of caring for younger siblings or cousins just because they
are female. Boys are free to do as they please, they are taught how to fix cars and how to fix
things around the house, and they are taught that they need to be tough. Children are growing up
with very narrow ideas of what gender roles should be. Girls are being taught to aspire to
success, success being limited to finding a good husband, a nice house and having children, a
womans success outside of the home life is seen as a threat. As Adichie puts it in her essay girls
are taught to have ambition but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too
successfulIf you are the breadwinner in your relationship with a man pretend that you are not,
especially not in public, otherwise you will emasculate him (Adichie 27). Men are being raised
to be so egotistical that they are threatened by a womans success outside of the home life.
Rather than only teaching boys certain skills and only teaching girls certain skills children should
grow up to learn to do both, yes for the most part men are physically stronger than women and
are taught these skills because of that, it still does not meant that a woman could not do the same
job in her own way. The gender that should be the most praised receives the most oppression.
The woman brings life into the world, yet, women are (for the most part) only seen as objects,
constantly having to prove themselves to gain respect. Young girls are sent home from school
every day because wearing leggings or spaghetti strapped shirts can be too distracting for their

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male classmates to be around. They are punished and time is taken away from their education,
yet nothing is said to their male counterparts to fix the issue.
Men are not taught to value women in the same way anymore, they are not taught to
respect women. We use the word respect for something a woman shows a man, but not often for
something a man shows a woman (Adichie 31), school dress codes are only one example of the
daily disrespect women face. Men feel like just because they are men they are somehow entitled
to act as they please without regarding the feelings of others. Men expect women to idolize them
and put them on a pedestal while women are still fighting for respect and equality. Women are
afraid to be successful because they do not want to intimidate men, I know a Nigerian woman
who decided to sell her house because she didnt want to intimidate a man who might want to
marry her (Adichie 29), women are sacrificing their own success and holding themselves back
just because they feel the need to cater to the fragile egos of men. Many people are still bothered
by women fighting for their rights, in fact, Time Magazine has run a poll asking its readers if the
word feminist should be removed from the English language. One would think, it has to be a
relatively bothersome word for it to be completely abolished from a language, yet that is not the
case, So that's the problem: famous women finally proclaiming their membership of a
movement that demands equality between the sexes. Why don't they just stick to who made their
dress, or how that director or music producer is a genius? God forbid they might mention the
empowerment of half the human race (Urwin). Famous women are starting to voice their
opinions and it seems to bother some people that a woman, let alone a famous woman, should
speak up about the problems the female sex faces on a day to day basis.
Famous women and even men, have openly said they are feminists, drawing more
attention to the feminist movement. In fact, some young men have thought it upon themselves to

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start the Menist movement, which mostly mocks feminism, there will always be vitamin Ddeficient women-haters (Urwin) who attempt to somehow slow down or hinder the feminist
movement. Feminism has been around for centuries and women will not give up the fight for
equality. As Adichie describes her definition of a feminist a man or a woman who says Yes,
there is a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us,
women and men, must do better (Adichie 48), this is a time where society can come together as
a whole and do better. Generations to come now have the opportunity to grow up outside of the
gender roles that have been instilled into the heads of todays generations.

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Works Cited
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. We Should All Be Feminists. New York: Anchor Books, 2012.
Rosamund, Urwin. "'Feminist' is the last word for the bin." Evening Standard 13 Nov. 2014:
15. Newspaper Source. Web. 3 Mar. 2015.
Sharon, Jayson, and TODAY USA. "This is not your grandmother's kind of feminism." USA
Today n.d.: Newspaper Source. Web. 3 Mar. 2015.

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