The feminist movement is, according to dictionary.com, “a movement to combat sexual discrimination and to gain full, legal, economic, vocational, educational, and social rights and opportunities for women, equal to those of men. Why then does the media seem to focus on celebrating women’s curves, the way her body is shaped, and the way she moves?
Notable men and women who paved the way for where we are today in terms of Women’s Rights include Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass. In an Issue of the North Star, a newspaper he edited, Frederick Douglass wrote, “In respect to political rights, we hold woman to be justly entitled to all we claim for man. We go farther, and express our conviction that all political rights which it is expedient for man to exercise, it is equally so for women. All that distinguishes man as an intelligent and accountable being, is equally true of woman; and if that government is only just which governs by the free consent of the governed, there can be no reason in the world for denying to woman the exercise of the elective franchise, or a hand in making and administering the laws of the land. Our doctrine is, that ‘Right is of no sex’.”
Other worthy feminists include Nikki Giovanni and Maya Angelou. In one of her poems, Nikki Giovanni said, “…it’s a sex object if you’re pretty / and no love / or love and no sex if you’re fat…” Her words speak to how men view women as either a sex object or someone not worthy of sex. Maya Angelou once said that, “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” These two phenomenal women embraced feminism, but what would they say if they saw what the movement has come to?
How did we deviate so far from the original goals of the Women’s Rights Movement? Women from all kinds of different cultures, whether living in America or in other parts of the world, still suffer from a lack of equal education and from a lack of equal pay for equal work. Some women are barred from leadership positions whether in religion or politics. Why is it, then, that the media seems to relate women’s curves to the feminist movement although there are more important issues at hand?
A quick Google search will reveal that Beyonce has been dubbed a feminist, which, according to dictionary.com, is a person “advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.” In fact, in January 2014 she wrote a piece titled, “Gender Equality Is a Myth!” In the piece, which you can find on shriverreport.org, she wrote, “Why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.”
Beyonce is a talented woman whose words are right on point, but the media seems to change the narrative on what the feminist movement is all about. A woman’s curves and sexiness is insignificant if she is not striving to, as Bey said, reach as high as humanly possible. In other words, while it’s all good to celebrate how many curves you have, or how about a round of applause for how good you look in those revealing clothes, but don’t change the narrative of what the feminist movement, which was called the Women’s Rights or Women’s Suffrage Movement back in the day, is all about. It’s about reaching for knowledge and leadership positions to the point where not even the sky is the limit. It’s about changing the way men view women and the way we view ourselves. It’s about helping those who have been sexually discriminated against and striving to make a difference when combating domestic violence.
Lastly, it’s about gaining opportunities for women that are equal to those of men, because in the words of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, the woman can go as high as she wants to go.
Anisah Muhammad is a 17-year-old writer based in Montgomery, AL. She is the author of the book, “Escaping the Chains” available on Amazon.com. To read more of what she writes, visit original7.wordpress.com.