Mainstream feminism has turned into more of a brand than a movement

Radical western feminism distracts college students from real issues facing women

Strong women have been advocating for women’s rights under the title of “feminism” for centuries. The modern feminist movement is credited with meaningful accomplishments, such as giving women the right to vote, working toward equal pay between men and women and making birth control more accessible and affordable

Violence against women, social and racial inequality and an oppressive patriarchal society are important injustices to acknowledge. However, these matters are often overlooked due to mainstream feminism’s divided reputation, skewed priorities and outlandish antics

In many ways, mainstream feminism has turned into more of a brand than a movement

College students, including those at ASU, are a significant part of the feminist movement. With millennials becoming more and more progressive, it is important for feminists to shift their focus back toward women’s issues that are important and frankly, life-threatening. 

"Something that we forget here, in the bubble of the United States, is that in many places around the world, 50 percent of the population is getting stifled. Women face horrible gender-based assaults like honor violence, child marriage and rape," said Amanda Parker, a senior director at the AHA Foundation. "We are excited about women in Saudi Arabia being able to drive and gaining the right to vote, but they still need permission from their husbands to be able to leave their homes."

Some of these issues are prevalent in our own backyard. Women and girls from the U.S. and around the globe are suffering from lack of education, child marriage, genital mutilation, sexual assault, poor maternal health and much more. If the mainstream feminist movement focused more on real-world issues, college students would be more than eager to be a part of it. 

Griping about minute problems, such as the desire for a female crosswalk figure and manspreading, is not productive in the movement toward female equality. The feminist movement needs new prioritization toward more pressing issues. 

Radical feminists across the country have taken ahold of the feminist movement and made it toxic. What was once a meaningful movement is now plagued by individuals who prioritize political correctness and female superiority over progress. 

This way of thinking prevents more women from joining the movement. A 2015 poll by Vox showed that only 85 percent of people believe in the equality of sexes, a lower number than what should be acceptable. That same poll found, however, that only 18 percent of people identify themselves as feminists. 

This could be because of the increasingly hateful rhetoric that has been promoted by female leaders under the guise of “feminism." 

This new wave of feminism can be oppressive by ostracizing Republican women, stay-at-home mothers and women who do not wish to be a part of the movement. However, college students have the power to take this movement back, making it more productive for women across the globe. 

"College students have so much potential — the potential to get involved is as big as their imagination and their willpower," Parker said. "Even just starting the conversation, being interested and thinking outside of your own little circle is important. (This is) happening to our neighbors, friends, classmates. There are more than 500,000 girls in the U.S. that are at risk for genital mutilation. It’s not a problem that is just happening overseas."

Many students want to feel like they are making a difference in society. Countless ASU students identify as feminists — several groups even made an appearance at the recent Women’s March in Downtown Phoenix. 

However, if modern feminists continue to bash men and promote female superiority, the movement will be left with nothing but sexism and a tasteless reputation.

Modern feminism has seen significant progress, but often resorts to promoting an ideology that is not beneficial to the vast majority of women. If more celebrities and leaders in the feminist movement focused more on helping women from around the world rather than turning feminism into a brand, the world could finally tap into its unlocked potential.

ASU students want to make a difference in this world and fully submerge themselves into global citizenship. There are millions of women out there who are desperate for help. If the mainstream feminist movement emphasized these serious issues, it could reshape the entire world. 


Reach the columnist at amsnyde6@asu.edu or follow @AnnieSnyder718 on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the  author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its  editors. The author of this column has invested in Bitcoin, but is not a  professional investment consultant. 

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