Popular Definition Of Feminism Essay

While the roots of feminism are buried in ancient Greece, most recognize the movement by the three waves of feminism. The third being the movement in which we are currently residing.

The first wave (1830’s – early 1900’s):Women’s fight for equal contract and property rights

Often taken for granted, women in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, realized that they must first gain political power (including the right to vote) to bring about change was how to fuel the fire. Their political agenda expanded to issues concerning sexual, reproductive and economic matters. The seed was planted that women have the potential to contribute just as much if not more than men.

[Image from Pixabay]

The second wave (1960’s-1980’s):Broadening the debate

Coming off the heels of World War II, the second wave of feminism focused on the workplace, sexuality, family and reproductive rights. During a time when the United States was already trying to restructure itself, it was perceived that women had met their equality goals with the exception of the failure of the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (which has still yet to be passed).


This time is often dismissed as offensive, outdated and obsessed with middle class white women’s problems. Conversely, many women during the second wave were initially part of the Black Civil Rights Movement, Anti Vietnam Movement, Chicano Rights Movement, Asian-American Civil Rights Movement, Gay and Lesbian Movement and many other groups fighting for equality. Many of the women supporters of the aforementioned groups felt their voices were not being heard and felt that in order to gain respect in co-ed organizations they first needed to address gender equality concerns.

Women cared so much about these civil issues that they wanted to strengthen their voices by first fighting for gender equality to ensure they would be heard.

The third wave (1990’s – present):The “micropolitics” of gender equality

Today and unlike the former movements, the term ‘feminist’ is received less critically by the female population due to the varying feminist outlooks. There are the ego-cultural feminists, the radicals, the liberal/reforms, the electoral, academic, ecofeminists… the list goes on.

[Image from Pixabay]

The main issues we face today were prefaced by the work done by the previous waves of women. We are still working to vanquish the disparities in male and female pay and the reproductive rights of women. We are working to end violence against women in our nation as well as others.

We are still fighting for acceptance and a true understanding of the term ‘feminism,’ it should be noted that we have made tremendous progress since the first wave. It is a term that has been unfairly associated first, with ladies in hoop skirts and ringlet curls, then followed by butch, man-hating women. Due to the range of feminist issues today, it is much harder to put a label on what a feminist looks like.

Quite frankly, it all comes down to the dictionary’s very simple yet profound definition: “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” If that’s what a feminist is – who wouldn’t want to be called that?

Learn more about how Feminism is defined:  Feminism: Why Not ‘Egalitarianism’ or ‘Humanism’?

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Simple Tips For Composing A Solid Feminism Definition Essay

My first instinct here is to give you some tips on writing an essay in general. And we will definitely touch on that. But first, I feel that we should look at feminism in general. I know that may sound silly at first, but there are many misconceptions about this ideology. Before you write a definition essay on the topic, you should, obviously, know the definition! So, let’s talk about what feminism actually is…and what it’s not and then move on to some simple essay-writing tips.

  • What it isn’t:
  • So many people that I meet have such a singular image of what a feminist is. I’m not going to directly quote any of them. But I will paint a general picture that portrays the general idea: She is a chunky, rather plain woman. Not quite middle aged, but not young either. Short hair and androgynous clothes. And – now, this is the defining bit – a pure, undying hatred for men. Men are keeping her down. Men have ruined her life. Men are what is wrong with society. This is not – and I really cannot overstate this – it is most certainly NOT FEMINISM. That attitude is just pure man-hating.
  • What it is:
  • In a word: Equality. Honestly, just that one word says it all. That is all that feminism is about. Just equality. Do feminists want the same opportunities as men? Absolutely. Do feminists want comparable pay compared to men performing the same job? Yes, most definitely. Do feminists want the right to dress and act the way that they choose, even if it’s more often a behavior/style most often attributed to men? You bet. But that’s it. Just gender equality. Did you meet a woman who wants to break past the ‘glass ceiling’ and move higher up in the company she works for and earn the same as the men, holding no particular animosity toward men? Feminist. Did you meet a woman who insults men left and right, who is angry at them in general? Man-hater. Know the difference.
  • General essay advice.
  • By this point, you probably know the basics, but here are some tips in their simplest form:
    • Do your research.
    • Make an outline and follow it.
    • Be organized in your writing; make sure it flows.
    • Every essay must include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
    • Cite your sources. Always cite your sources. You may not mean to commit plagiarism, but you could commit it unintentionally through carelessness.

Once you understand the definition of feminism, you can compose a solid essay with these simple tips. All of that being said, put your heart into it. And good luck!

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