Posts Tagged ‘Feminist Code’

 

“Feminism is the movement of social, political, and economic equality of men and women” (Baumgardner). This basic definition of such a strong organization of the female gender in our society has undergone years of history; filled with dilemma and triumph. Women such as Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony, and Dorothy Day were some of the great pioneers of the feminist movement. These empowered women helped create the basis of the withstanding feminist code. So when the women of our society find themselves divided by matters of opinion on life issues, especially abortion there is always controversy. Since the majority of persons who call themselves feminists are pro-choice, it is said that women who are pro-life, are not true feminists. I advocate that feminists who possess pro-life views are true feminists, and I intend to prove that based on the strong convictions many women, civilian and celebrity, have changed public policies because the basis of their acts is with regard to the equality of women and political consciousness. The best way to understand how far pro-life feminism has come, we must look into the actions taken by the founders of such a movement.

Before her life began the world was ignorant to such a revolution that would change the lives of women and men alike, this revolution began with the birth of Susan B. Anthony in 1820. Susan began her miraculous work with her fellow citizens during the temperance movement, which was one of the original feminist movements in the United States. Anthony then moved into working for the American Anti-slavery society and soon after published the New York Liberal Weekly called “The Revolution.” “Susan demanded that women be given the same civil and political rights that had been extended to black males under the 14th and 15th amendments…She led a group of women to the polls in Rochester to test the right of women to vote.” After being arrested for her efforts Anthony adopted a fire that burned to fight for the rights of all women in the United States in order to pass the federal woman suffrage amendment. With the alliance of fellow feminists around the nation who weren’t afraid to stand up to general societal beliefs set in stone by the government and what was said to be men’s better judgment, the 19th amendment was established and thereafter began the race for better and equal rights for every citizen in the United States.

     The women’s suffrage movement continued on for many years after the ratification of that amendment, and modern feminists today, pro-life or pro-choice, say that it still continues today. In 1920, because of the efforts of women striving for a better environment and society, the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor was formed. This bureau worked to collect information of all working women in America and helped to create better conditions for women.

     In furtherance to the rise of the strength and equality of women in society, the late 1960s produced the National Organization for Women (NOW). “The largest women’s rights group in the U.S., NOW seeks to end sexual discrimination, especially in the workplace, by means of legislative lobbying, litigation, and public demonstrations” (Imbornoni). 

These historical landmarks were the building blocks that allowed the everyday, independent woman to live her lives without limitations set forth by authoritative male influence. When branching off into the opinionated groups of pro-life and pro-choice feminists, there is still room to grow. It has been made aware of all persons in the U.S. that the pro-choice feminists won their first battle during the trials of Roe v. Wade in 1973. Since this legislation, pro-life feminists have relentlessly put out the stops to overturn such a devastating decision that allows our country to take lives and the matters of life and death into their own hands. Jennifer O’Neill who is now the spokesperson for the Silent No More campaign that gives real testimony from men and women who have personally dealt with abortion, as well as, nurse Jill Stanek from the Chicago suburbs who single-handedly brought forth attention to Congress of babies who were being born and left to die because they were unwanted. Stanek got Congress to pass the Born Alive Infant Protection Act in 2002. Norma McCorvey, who was the plaintiff in the Roe v. Wade landmark Supreme Court case, is now an avid pro-life feminist, alongside Congresswomen Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. and Melissa Hart, R-Pa. All these women and many more have single-handedly worked to change society based solely on their pro-life beliefs. Although pro-life advocates haven’t won the war of getting legislation passed to overturn Roe v. Wade, we have come a long way from just baking blueberry pies in the kitchen all day.

Pro-choice feminists say that the main reason women who are pro-life do not make the cut for the “true feminist code,” is that they are lobbying for a huge decision that would no longer allow women to have the choice to even consider not keeping their child. Pro-choice advocates say,” It is taken today as a truism that in order to be a feminist you must be ‘pro-choice’. The right to abortion is often deemed to be the most fundamental right of women, without which all others are said to be meaningless. Gloria Steinem, the self-appointed matriarch, holds that ‘pro-life’ feminism is “a contradiction in terms”. At ‘pro-choice’ rallies, banners have been held up stating that “a woman’s right to abortion is equivalent to her right to be”, while the US-based Fund for a Feminist Majority has defined a feminist as one who is ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-ERA’” (Hoskings).

What is hard to understand is that yes, we all have different viewpoints and opinions on each and every issue that affects our lives, but how can all women who are feminists as a whole, simply abandon the original feminist goals and teachings. Are we putting ourselves right back to where we started?

All of these events and actions opened up a whole new world for women that allowed them to explore beyond the “Pleasantville, white-picked fence” in which we would still be confined. Although I believe it is crucial for all feminists to stick together on the basic issues our foremothers worked so hard for, it is our right to stand up for what we each believe in. Since both sides of the spectrum, involving life issues, have this right, the core resolution to this argument is that pro-life feminists are still as tried and true to the “feminist code” as the pro-choice feminists.

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