Essay on Feminism. Does it Stay With Us Forever?

Feminism is more prevalent in pop culture than ever.  On the radio, TV, podcasts, magazines--one can find feminist ideas on almost any platform. 

The internet looms large over the twenty-first century, so rather than listening to a traditional radio program, Americans are tuning into podcasts instead. Feminist podcasts are not a rarity, and the content of feminist podcasts is about as varied as snowflakes. One such podcast, Divided States of Women, by Liz Plank, and co-hosted with Hitha Herzog, aims to delve deep into controversial topics and their influence on women. Plank and Herzog want listeners to understand that each woman is a prized individual, and it would be a disservice not to appreciate women’s diverse backgrounds, and instead lump all women into a single pile. Divided States of Women also encourages thoughtful discussion on hot button issues. Comedienne Deborah Frances-White hosts The Guilty Feminist, which addresses modern women’s issues, and her personal shortcomings as a feminist, and invites guests to approach serious topics in an amusing way.

In-print newspapers and magazines are falling by the wayside due to the ubiquity of the  internet, which can provide free news at any time. Two feminist pop culture magazines, Ms. and Bitch, are still in the game after forty-seven and twenty-three years respectively. Both outlets also post articles online. Ms. journalists write serious and scholarly pieces such as “How Trump’s 2020 Budget Hurts Hungry Women and Families,” and “Slut-Shamed at 56: Confronting the Backlash of the Current Political Movement,” as well as lighter, conversational pieces like “A Feminist Defense of ‘Captain Marvel’.” Ms. releases print and digital magazines quarterly, for approximately $30 for a one-year subscription. Bitch, on the other hand, is more modern and appeals to a younger audience. In Bitch’s statement, the magazine describes itself as “a fresh, revitalizing voice in contemporary feminism, one that welcomes complex arguments and refuses to ignore the contradictory and often uncomfortable realities of life in an unequivocally gendered world” (“About Us” Bitch Media). 

Feminism is so ingrained into today’s society that it has even been proven to be marketable. In trendy clothing stores, one wouldn’t have to search for five minutes before finding a shirt that says “Feminist AF.” Even celebrities show their support with feminism centered clothes. At the Panorama Music Festival in 2017, Frank Ocean made waves when he wore a graphic tee reading Why be racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic when you can just be quiet? Ocean purchased the shirt from Green Box Shop, an online store that sells exclusively clothing with social justice messages. “Be a slut do whatever you want” and “Deport racists” are two other shirts (of many!) that Green Box Shop carries. Frank Ocean’s shirt became so popular, that a few knock-off companies made their own to sell on Amazon. Independent entrepreneurs can create their own custom feminist merchandise to sell on sites like Etsy.

Feminist issues are talked about more openly than they have been in the past. Previously, talking about sexual harassment and assault has been a taboo, but the Me Too movement has made room for conversation. Me Too has inspired many people, including celebrities, to share their experiences on social media. Originally created by Tarana Burke in 2006, the Me Too Movement was revived by Alyssa Milano in October 2017, after Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations had been released by The New York Times. Weinstein reportedly had inappropriate contact with actresses, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o, Ashley Judd, and Salma Hayek. Since then, Bill Cosby, a rapist, was carted off to jail with widespread public support, and Bill O’Reilly, a former news anchor, was removed from Fox News after the details of his settlements with women he had sexually harassed were unearthed. Similarly, Matt Lauer of NBC lost his place on the Today show for accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior. On Twitter, sexual assault survivors can share their stories and discuss topics under #MeToo. Twitter user @see_kel wrote, “A few nights ago, I was sexually assaulted during a date. Rather than hearing me out, my own friends went ‘well why did you wear a dress?’ So the fact that women, who I considered friends, say it is still the woman’s fault proves how far we have to come. #metoo”.

January 21, 2017 was the day after Trump’s inauguration as president, and also the day of the Women’s March on Washington. An astounding amount of people showed up to the march, with as many as 500,000 in Washington, D.C., 750,000 in Los Angeles, and 400,000 in New York City. “The protesters who took part in the various Women’s March events voiced their support for various causes, including women’s and reproductive rights, criminal justice, defense of the environment and the rights of immigrants, Muslims, gay and transgender people and the disabled—all of whom were seen as particularly vulnerable under the new administration” (“Women’s March” Protesters also wore “pussy hats,” pink knitted caps with pointed ears as a reference to a comment Trump made about being able to “grab [women] by the pussy”. The mass protest started with a FaceBook user named Teresa Shook, and only in this day and age, through social media, can one person make an incredible difference so quickly. While the leaps and bounds women’s rights have made since the turn of the century have been remarkable, but America still has a long way to go. Until further notice, it looks like feminism is here to stay.



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