Is Feminism Obsolete?

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Naomi Wolf wrote in her May 4, 2009 online Washington Post Q&A session that “the goal of feminism has always been ideally to become obsolete.” That might be the ideal, but it’s not the reality. Women will always need a feminist voice because they will always need a reminder that they are not inferior in any way, shape or form. There will always be someone trying to put women down, to keep them in their place and to control them. As long as they are seen as the weaker sex–and there are those who are heavily invested in seeing them that way (because it makes them seem stronger)–they will continue to bear the brunt of discrimination and sexism.

Even when a woman makes it in this world, she is undermined at every turn. Even television commercials remind her that she’s not good enough. Her work is under closer scrutiny than are men’s. She has to be twice as good as a man in order to (hopefully) get “equal” treatment. She is judged more harshly, not only on her job performance, but also on her looks and desirability. If she isn’t young, thin and attractive, she is relegated to a lower level of society. If she is too beautiful or particularly feminine, she won’t be taken seriously. If she displays masculine characteristics such as assertiveness and ambitiousness, she is considered a “ball-breaker” or a bitch.

Women need something to help them build up their self-esteem. A feminist philosophy can shore them up when they flounder. It can also show them how to capitalize on their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. And most of all, it gives them a blueprint for how to make this world a better place for them and their sisters.

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

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