Gender inequality has been a subject of debate ever since the ancient days when women accused the society of gender biases. During the traditional days, women were subjected and limited to being caregivers for their families. Women were strictly required to behave in a specific manner with the intent of serving the men. Since women had no voice to raise vital issues and concerns, they continued to endure sufferings and oppression from the male-dominated society. Most women were thereby subjected to the subjugation of the men who were considered as being more superior to the women. It is for this profound reason that the term ‘feminism’ was coined in a bid to alleviate women from male oppression. The term ‘feminism’ came into existence long after women began questioning their inferior status whilst demanding an amelioration in their social position (Arlt 143). However, the advent of civilization era marked a new beginning of a new era where the society began viewing women through other lenses. This period revolutionized the society’s general perception of women thereby restating the roles of women in the society. Civilization also allowed White feminists to empower their fellow women who had been subjected to oppression and traditional misconceptions.
White feminists main agenda was to liberate white women from being discriminated against by the male-dominated society. Wollstonecraft is one of the renowned White feminists who fought for women’s right to proper education. Wollstonecraft argued that women would be as worthy as men if they are also entitled to the same rights that men had (Arlt 158). However, Wollstonecraft also emphasized that women’s right to education would not limit them to perform their domestic responsibilities. Instead, education would promote women’s capacity to perform their domestic role as wives and mothers.
It was also uncommon for women to be employed as they were subjugated to serve as housewives. On the other hand, the men exercised their rights to freely acquire white collar jobs and fend for their families. Women were strictly required to perform house chores whilst fully depending on their husbands to provide all the essentials. However, the commencement of the civilization era motivated Betty Freidan to address the plight of the American women as housewives (Arlt 148). Freidan also initiated the need for women to pursue their own career without being solely imposed to house chores. To add to this, the civilization era marked the beginning of democracy where women were also allowed to exercise their rights to vote. Additionally, women are today among the active participants in the political sphere as they seek to serve as leaders in the society (Hannam 17). The strategy used by the white feminists was a success as the civilization period allowed people to seek freedom, democracy, and equality.
White feminists delved only on liberating the White women from oppression and constant discrimination. The disadvantage of this movement is that not all women enjoyed the benefit of gender equality. The white feminism was by no means free from the same prejudices that characterized the patriarchal Western society (Arlt 159). The White feminists also utilized the radical form of feminism to address the plights that women faced. Radical feminists gave women the right to opt out of the institution of marriage and motherhood (Hannam 19). These radical feminists fought for the legalization of abortion and the accessibility of contraceptive devices. Through radical feminism, women began evading motherly responsibilities just by aborting the conceived being. Abortion which is viewed as a vice resulted to not only the death of the fetus but also of many women who succumbed from the operation. Even though civilization was the hallmark of women liberation from oppression, there were several limitations brought about by radical feminism. Nonetheless, the liberal and socialist form of feminism allowed women to enjoy their right to receive the proper education, right to employment and their right to vie and vote in a democratic state.
Arlt, Herbert. “Culture, Civilization, and Human Society.” Comparative Literature: Sharing Knowledges for Preserving Cultural Diversity-Volume III (2009): 78.
Hannam, June. Feminism. Place of publication not identified: Taylor & Francis, 2016. Print.
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