The Empowered Movement

I recently learned about women and feminist movements in the United States. I found this topic very interesting because I learned about significant events and strong female figures that contributed to several political, cultural, and social phenomena. I found the history of the movements and the different waves of feminism very informative, broadening my perspective of feminism. While the first wave of feminism started with the 19th amendment and the right to vote, the second wave of feminism was more concerned with sexual freedom and the role of women in the family. As a result of World War II, women were able to become part of the work force to assist in the war efforts. Women worked in an array of occupations ranging from the healthcare industry as nurses to clerical work in offices. Despite the seemingly slow progression of a powerful movement to come, these were pivotal steps that became the building blocks of female empowerment.

One thing I found interesting was the idea that the cult of domesticity and womanhood were foundational to the building of the U.S. The stereotypical view of both women and men were constructed during this time. While women were seen as housemakers and caretakers, men were perceived as typical "bread winners" of the family who took up majority of the responsibility to support the household. However, it was during this period that the perception of women as "housemakers and caretakers" began to change. The first two waves of feminism initiated the establishment of the position and role women would inevitably play in society. They established that men and women are equals and that both sexes can directly influence the economy by participating in the workforce. This transition is a remarkable time in the feminist movement that allowed women to achieve incredible feats despite critical views and societal backlash.

The third wave of feminism is one that started relatively recently with the Anita Hill hearings and the confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas. The circumstances surrounding the issue were shocking. After watching a clip of the hearing for a class, I was stunned by the responses of white and male senators who were asking questions in a very rude and inappropriate way. Furthermore, their lack of empathy and failure to listen and believe Anita Hill was beyond inexcusable. They were doubtful of her testimony and attempted to undermine her in every way possible. Watching that clip left me feeling uncomfortable with what happened. It makes me wonder how Justice Thomas was confirmed; the disgusting attempts to discredit Anita Hill were evidence of the need for justice and equality in our nation.

What is worse is that the mistake was not made once, but a second time in 2018 with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. I thought that we would have learned something from the Anita Hill case, but it seems like we didn’t. Again, like Anita Hill in the Justice Thomas incident, questions were targeted at Christine Ford, and she was consistently undermined. However, I am hopeful that the fourth wave of feminism will be the change that makes the difference for women everywhere. With the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, I think more women will have the opportunity to have their voices be heard as the synergy among powerful, supportive women come together to form one united coalition. Instead of standing on the sidelines, women around the nation are taking strides to contribute to combat the injustice and inquality plaguing our society. More women are already running for office and winning seats in the congressional race. This gives me hope that the first areas of change are happening and that as representation increases, there will be a better understanding and willingness for people to change.