In the very course of history, women have certain roles that are quite different from men and vice versa. But as time turns and different viewpoints of humanity arise, the outlook on the existence of women in the society has also been affected. This reaches the saturation level that women begun fighting with the concern thrown to them on how they must live in the society especially in a world ruled by men. So this begun feminism, with the purpose of women empowerment; to take stand against oppression in both gender equality and other rights women must be entitled of. But what is the core goal of women in establishing feminism aside from the basic fight against oppression and what other stand a woman have with the feministic approach (Socialscience.stow.ac.uk, 2007)?
As a result of certain studies, like in the functionalist’s point of view feminism is extracted from social interaction of men and women so to point out that there is a system that will divide men and women. The same perspective was shown by the Marxist in which gender are coined for the purpose of dividing the classes present in the society. While for the interactionists, gender is determined by negotiations and not on the biological level of an individual. But in a very realistic scene, masculinity is considered as a determinant that possesses the power to control and dominate the feminine side. This makes a considerable discrepancy that makes sexuality an issue to humankind (Socialscience.stow.ac.uk, 2007).
Women Of The Ancient Culture And Today
During the time that Christianity started to flourish there are evidences pointing out that women in fact did the same role as men and not just as a provider of service. When Jesus Christ was believed to be in a company of women, he was said to value women’s worth. He was not only dealing with those ordinary women but those who were considered an outcast in the society, like Mary Magdalene. And women are believed to participate in church services that time. This is further illustrated in Paul’s letters where he called the women as co-workers. There was a strong proof to such evidence when a young woman called Thecla followed Paul to be part of the missionary voyage and became a preacher. Then in the 4th century and early 5th century, women began to formally partake in church services. Some were ordained to become heads of monasteries, named a city after them like Olympias in Constantinople. But the role of women while they were paid with due respect did not last long. When Christianity was well established, the male dominated missionary started eliminating the rule of women (Uga.edu, 2007).
Same thing is practiced in the Muslim world, women are considered to be equal to men when it comes to God. Unfortunately these days, the point of view and role of women in the society not only in the Muslim world suddenly became like that of a valuable thing that a rich man could own. Women where considered as material beings and were just treated as an object of sexual desires. But then, slowly women where exposed to the early history so to alleviate the misleading social drift of the role of women in the society and the existence of mankind. As it was believed that woman invents love, and love educates man so that man can become the motor of history (Ozturk, 2007).
Then the women of the 17th century began to take rebellious steps particularly those women who belong to the middle class family taking question on their apparent role in the society. There parents see their fate or future through their husband as the saying “heir and a spare”. Thus feminism goes up to a height because of the middle women’s determination to take part of the society and not just be a submissive individual overpowered by their husband and deprived of the things that they wanted like doing an equal participation in the society as what their husbands do (Onesto,1999).
Patriarchal supremacy. Protests were made by early feminist because women were not included in sociological researches because of some special considerations that are being attached. The norm dictates masculinity while femininity is considered a variant of the former. There are certain cases that masculinity possesses a drawback to a man, the same case as femininity may disadvantage a woman. Masculinity is often connected to vicious behavior and power over sexuality. In this way men could dominate or oppress not only women but also other men that have a weak personality, another reason why crime heighten. The masculine behavior that seems very destructive to a man is its behavioral limits hence male is often expected to become sharp and hard object and there must be less contact between the women’s world so as to maintain the being tough of a man as their weakness and emotions must not be displayed in public. This has become a reason why males usually don’t tell there illnesses or other physical failure because maleness is renowned and is an indicator to represent manhood. In the contrary, women are more open to discuss everything on its being. This has become an indicator of disapproval and of weakness of female sexuality (Socialscience.stow.ac.uk, 2007).
Women are inferior to men. It is very clear that women are considered to be inferior hence they are just treated as provider of service in the house, like housework while the man is the owner of the family and controls everything up to the spending of a woman in which she is considered to make some sacrifices. The division of labor in the house is not clearly practiced that men do not usually involved themselves in the usual routine or daily chores. In some instances that a man is unemployed he is still considered to be a bread winner and usually do not take the usual household work of his wife (Socialscience.stow.ac.uk, 2007).
In some areas of Turkey there are this group called the Islamist women and they practice contradictory grounds. The contradiction was cited as the woman’s fear in its sexuality because being complimentary of the sexes is an acceptable matter but women are usually not given a chance to enjoy or speak up. This was based on how Islam was practice this days dwelling mainly in male supremacy practices (Ozturk, 2007).
It seems very sad to think that most of the Christian religion now is still attaching their insinuation to women as an inferior or slaves that must be under the control of the men. The thing that the Christian’s did not realize is that this subjects the woman to any lowliness of their worth. They religion might have forgotten that women are their greatest follower, a devotee of the church especially God. Religions could have played a very critical part in the lives of people how they influenced the role of women and how they put mysterious hierarchy so that patriarchal practice will be put into dominion. The church forgets the situation wherein most of those who provide service in many missionary tasks, church services or even sacrifices in the altars are women. The manly acts shatter a woman’s heart, how painful it is for a mother to let her son be involved in a war. Those people that are of great value to her will give her loneliness and disparity, yet women are faithful and she continues to partake in war, give her all out support even if in the end she will be exalted. It is because of a woman that the love of conquest and power were taught to the children. It is the woman who spun the tale of victories, who tends the sleeping children under her care even to the outraged of war. But in the end it was the woman who suffers everything and the traumas and sacrifices that she bravely fought, she gets no return (Dwardmac.pitzer.edu, 2007).
Her role in the house is like that of a prisoner, that her efforts are left unnoticed, when she woke up in the middle of the night to tend her baby while her husband is snoring to sleep. The only price she gets is the essence of a mother, but up to what extent. She continually enslaved by being the perfect wife, mother or housekeeper and if unlucky, she would be beaten by her husband until she is helpless to make any vengeance. But she seems to stay inferior in terms of binding herself to the power of her husband, a faithful real slave (Dwardmac.pitzer.edu, 2007).
But putting woman to the lowly grounds is believed to be in a Christian way that will turn her faithful servant of God and her husband and or be a good citizen of the country. The suffrage is meant for a woman because that will set her free. What a contradicting concept the Church had attached to the women. Therefore by suffrage, women are better attached to God. This is how women are supposed to live in the eyes of the church. Until now same practice put the woman in jail of sorrow that she cannot get grip of those things that she do have aright to acquire (Dwardmac.pitzer.edu, 2007).
Rise of Feminism
Feminism had begun when women did no longer tolerate the patriarchal role of the men. Actions and protests were pioneered by Abigail Adams the wife of John Adams in 1776 when she tried telling the former president to “remember the ladies” in the new code of laws, Adams just said that there will be “despotism of the petticoat”. Then in 1789 women were given a chance to vote but states like New Jersey did not cast the vote their, after was the first Women’s rights convention held in April in Salem, Ohio in the year 1850. Then in Philadelphia Susan B. Anthony read The Declaration for the Rights of Women at Liberty Bell. In 1920 the Susan B. Anthony Amendment was made into law (Dpsinfo.com, 2007).
In the modern movements, feminism is conceptualized by its association with Enlightenment in the 17th century and 18th century in which the economic situation radically changed the women’s viewpoint most especially the women belonging to the middle class. These middle class women have access to review their status as a simple follower of men based on traditions, deprived by the rights that they are supposed to experience (Members.aol.com, 2007).
Mary Wollstonecraft is an example of middle-class women who make a radical movement to get the attention of people about the roles a woman in the society. She could no longer bear to become an inferior forever because she believes that what a man can do, a woman can also do. Her goal is to end up the class that divides the man and woman because women were considered to belong to the second class. The belief of classes was derived in an Aristotelian science, and was adapted for economic purposes (Onesto, 1999).
Protest against oppression. In the earlier visions of women they are just seen to stay home, take good care of the kids or the considerations that they are just inferior to the men. But this changed rapidly when women begun to lift heighten their voices against oppression whether in perspective of their weakness in physical or other stature. That woman can enter the workforce or can have a right to have an education. What the women rebelled upon is their traditional role that goes with sex discrimination, and or the sexiest idea or practice, their role as plain wives or mother of fighting men and not as part of radical movement further turn the coalition into a heavy one. The women turn to be militant fighting for their liberation and debated in issues like “men were the enemy” and or if the domination was caused by patriarchy. In 1968, there was an announcement of a female liberation front, asking for liberation in terms of free abortion and even birth control. Because of the sufferings that women get through incomplete septic abortion just to cope with the demand of the society, or the norms. Then there was an issue for raising children in a communal way and not in a traditional nuclear family and refused to take the surname of their husband and retain their fathers name. Having kids or not were also one of the liberating ideas that women tried to fight (Onesto, 1999).
This is an allegory that women have a right to speak up when she was beaten, or raped, or when she was considered as a thing. The 60’s was the time that women’s oppression had started to be resolved. That makes clear and releases sexual morality into a broader approach. With that people were informed about what sex discrimination, oppression is and how women should be treated. Struggles against the male chauvinist are an incredible act, and it slowly replaced machismo with equality. But the 60’s was a threat for Judeo Christian tradition because feminism allegedly challenges patriarchy (Onesto, 1999).
There are many forms on how women get into successfully getting their goal of liberation by means of launching “consciousness raising” by exposing the problems that women are involved of, political participation, thus “Speak-outs” rise and became a popular women’s movement and in 1969, there were this radical group called the Redstockings discussing the legalization of abortion. Protests were also made against the sexy portrayal of women in the media, and the treatment of women as thing or part of merchandise. The theme “Free Our Sisters! Free Ourselves” was used in 1969 during the Women’s Liberation march. The march was conducted to make a gripe asking for the liberation of the Black Panther women who were said to be pregnant prisoners that was not given appropriate medical care. In January 1971, a rally against rape was attended by 300 women (Onesto, 1999).
Gender equality. It could have been unbelievable today that Muslim women have also their equality rights and their right was compared to the men. By the Islam belief men and women are complimentary being equal in any sexual desires and right to involve in a dynamic sex life and right of women to attain pleasure hence they have a critical function called reproduction. In fact Islam is considered a liberating religion because it makes the man and woman equal in the eyes of God and this put emphasis their value in bearing the future generation. It was being emphasized also on how a Muslim woman could become a good mother, good believer and or good warrior mudjahide. And education was pointed out that woman could acquire general knowledge. Today Muslim Women wears hijab to show the difference of the sexes (Ozturk, 2007).
But what makes the disparity is that women and men are considered different, mainly because they have a different biology. And their difference if put into one will make a complimentary action that is very forthright. Men are considered to be strong in physicality and possesses aggression but infantile. That is why they must do some trade off because a woman could provide affection while the man protects. If this practice is being suppressed in a society, and the biological and social difference of the two is ignored, oppression becomes dominant and these destroy the essence of a woman and convert her to function like a thing (Ozturk, 2007).
In the most wholesome status of Islam, the sexes are expected to practice equal exchange while maintaining high self respect, but then, Islam put some limitation in women’s rights to consider the benefit of the society. Women are not to partake in any civil acts or be engaged in government positions due to the belief that women are less rational in terms of judgment compared to men and it is forbidden for a woman to take over the role of a man because doing so is considered to cause any disadvantageous outcome but for equality, women are given spacious rooms (Ozturk, 2007).
Women’s rights. Going to the early world of Muslim, women’s rights and liberalization was already a part and was exercised. This was unknown to the new world and such practice had slowly eroded in the Muslim culture and tradition. In fact in the present situation Muslim men are the one considered to do sever abuse and oppression to women in any form that the act is exercised. This was dramatically captured in the Latin proverb when the best is corrupted, it becomes the worst and an statement from Qur’ân saying we created man in the best pattern, and later reduced him to the lowest of the low. Without considering the influence of the West there was already an Islamic feminism. In which Islam originated carrying the feminist ideals. In fact Women’s rights were included in the Qur’ân and the prophets which included Jesus Christ were known to respect and loved the women. However there was alleged additional information telling anti-woman ideologies. Feminism as of this days were considered to be a radical movement of women going against the society of male dominance, but to the earlier Islamic accord, it is an attachment to womanhood and the God-given rights and freedom to woman for everybody’s advantage. Until these days, women were locked up in a belief that does not favor self growth and advancement towards improvement of everybody’s lives. Things go flaccidly against the true essence of Islam as if the religion was barricaded with wrong philosophies seeing Muslim girls that were deprived of education and or medical treatments. While there are those women in Pakistan that was raped then jailed but the rapist was set free and the beating and confinement of women in Taliban. But in contrast to wrong practices, a prophet once said when he was asked if who deserves honor and good treatment his answer was first your mother, second your mother, third your mother and fourth your father (Members.aol.com, 2007).
The role of women in the Muslim country is stormed with controversy. But that looks like a sad story to tell because women were given importance in the Qur’an while the prophet Muhammad spreads the good news. There was something that changed the course of right belief when some misconceptions where introduced in the religion. The result women living in Muslim counties began to suffer pervert norms after Muhammad’s death. Then the revival of feminism exploded in the West during the twentieth century. Muslim feminists also followed and patterned their movement in the West. But those who were involved were upper class women. Although in the end, one thing that turns every sides into one is freedom of every woman, that makes the common ground to any women living in different face of the world to fight and stand up for their right (Uga.edu, 2007). In countries like Turkey, stress has been put into individuals who support the women’s rights and the Islamists. Women showed sense of duty over the war between Kernalist and Islamist during the 80’s. They swarm in the camps thus the feminist movement was born. They have been fighting for changes in gender relations. The Kernalist women were the ones who fight for equality of rights, work, education and many more. They formed into groups with different functions but the same objectives. There were movements conducted like the campaign against wife battering, sexual harassment, virginity controls (Ozturk, 2007).
Political affiliation. In Iran there was a success in political revolution of women to involve in politics, with this success other Muslim countries begun to evaluate their policies regarding the women’s rights to cast votes. Cases of gender predicament were visible in Turkey. The women activist tried to invade the public with their concepts of female mobilization, and forcing the public to have changes in their old concepts of women. This is similar to the western movement that tried to bring the oppression, violence, inequalities and women’s right into law. The Islamist women have their groups known as the Round tables whose aim is to held debates conference, and discussion of feminism (Ozturk, 2007).
Roles in labor. Woman was considered to suffer from disadvantage when it comes to the labor market not only in the discrimination issue that would possibly rise but most likely in an equality that was socially structured. This was observed in the dual labor market theory conducted in UK on how women were barred off the market’s primary sector. In 1990 there was this study conducted for the crucial role of women in putting the family above the poverty line thus the myth that women is just working for a pin money was revealed. When women are engaged in a job or an occupation their performance is not usually considered a work. Women are mostly perceived as the one who is obliged to do the housework, care for disabled, dependants at hoe and prostitutes (Socialscience.stow.ac.uk, 2007).
The Issues In Feminism In the modern world issues in feminism spread out to a bolder concept from simple rational engagement like rally and other publicly laid comments, women now engaged themselves to the art world that became a very important tool to say their message towards the oppressing side. Movies like snow wqhite were used to convey meaning not only against the patriarchal system but to the eradication of black American discrimination. Any forms of nudity was viewed by the American as a form of pornography but this was used by women who protest against the British poll tax in Eastern Nigeria in 1929. In Indonesia there is this one female artist Arahmaiani, 40 who used also nudity to relay violence that women are suffering not only in Indonesia but around the world. This raised a tension to the Islamic leader and political leaders and she was treated like an outcast by her people. Then in 1983 she drew pictures of tanks in the street but she was extorted into jail. In 1999 while in her performance in Dayang Sumbi Refuses Status Quo she started to undress so the audience could write something about women, the government and other social issue, but the people put her back on her clothes. The artist then describes the society that she lives and the suppressed roles of women and the weak. There are many obstacles in using the art world as a medium of spreading the message against patriarchy, abuse, suppression, and other dominating acts of the male. Religion has been among the greatest obstruction (Onisto, 1999).
Feminism has been also associated to Marxist belief and the issues about oppression in the modern society. When feminism where defined as a social movement with accompanied ideologies, thus what the women are trying to voice out are freedom from oppression since men and women are not equal to each other because of their differences. During the time that slavery flourished in America, a story of a peasant woman who works all the labor in the farm but she was treated only as a servant and she is not advised to eat in the table with her husband and children, but all the farm loads were her to carry. This was a very opposing story of a woman in the earlier part of the history because woman were given due respect because she posses great authority in the house (Members.aol.com, 2007).
However the church made an alternative on how those women that do not want to marry may contribute to the society. There rise the erections of monasteries for nuns. In which cases like the fame of Hildegard occurred. In Mary Wollstonecraft’s argument, virtues and notions were given emphasis. Like treating a woman indifferently is illogically, immorally and socially irrational. Same as how Locke and Hobbes perceive the change in society so that there is a modern notion that is both equally treating right the two sexes. In 1963 one of the major concern that rose up is that of the work of Betty Friedan The Feminine Mystique. This was being followed the feminist’s action towards having the right to have economic fairness in the market place, gender-free language policies, maternity leave, wage parity and other benefits. As what Wollstonecraft aspired is for women to get a chance to vote, education profession (Members.aol.com, 2007).
Liberation is the preeminent key for gaining identity of each individual. Unfortunately in this modern world, almost everybody rely only on the effect of quantity in improving the lives of the people and any practice aside from that is not given prior attention. Feminism has something to do with the behavior in the world of men. Thus in the other side; men responds to feminism by covering or protecting its pride, to seize again the sympathy or power that they have over the women to survive in almost a millennium. This however is a poor perception that such thinking will just extend the argument and boundary of the world of men and women, thus resolution is dangerously unattainable. This will just push the hunger for power of who will control the world instead of attaining the transition of every individual into a more conscious and existence. As what the earlier prophets had said that if only the liberating spirit will control again the cultural depression that men and women suffered right now, in which he claim that it was the ancient Greeks or Romans who made the influence, to treat women with no other like a property, cannot exercise her right and owned by the male predecessor. That Ism has a separate belief and considers the equality of the two sexes in the early part of the history (Socialscience.stow.ac.uk, 2007).
Why focus on the women only hence it is the core goal of feminism, had received so many awful questions especially if it was to a Muslim Women. But the very reason of putting on the side of the women in the Muslim counties it is because they are the ones who suffered extreme particular concern, when they are being extorted to experience very unjust acts of the men. Another form of hoax that was attached to the oppression part is that when women get injured, it is being claimed that was because of the Islamic belief. It is a very ironic scene if Islam in its very noble intention sees women and honors them equal to men (Members.aol.com, 2007). Thus women’s rights are badly needed to be heard. It must be given the highest most value. It has been said by Malcolm X a nation’s destiny depends on how the women are treated. Islamic feminism is a truthful movement and is against the connotation on the treatment of human beings in a quantized form, hence spirituality is highly valued. In the Islam belief men and women are equal in God, because Allah made a command that everyone is obliged to do good and practice justice. It is stated in the Qur’ân, the life that people must live in a beautiful way and the effects of too much machismo lodge evil events like war. Muslim men are indeed required to treat the women at its best because they have been doing it the wrong way after all. Unfortunately crimes and oppression has never changed, in fact it further increases this days especially in the woman-beating Taliban (Onesto, 1999). As to this days, it can be considered a big flaws if feminism will be mistreated regarding its main purpose and ignoring it because it shouts for h freedom of the women whom the see as inferior to them. There have been so many debates about how feminism really affects the present and future culture. Often the argument ended up harshly and the issue is again labeled like it is unimportant or the movement will not make a good mark in the history. Whatever future holds the fate of feminism, whether it will still flourish in the next generation or will it be part of the main concern of the people in the future, as the fight toughly goes along and there is always a constant call by the oppressing men to return to the olds they know, it is worth it to continue fighting, strengthening the arguments to achieve justice in once and for all (Onesto, 1999).
Dpsinfo.com, 2007. Timeline of Women’s Suffrage in the United States.
Dwardmac.pitzer.edu. 2007. Woman Suffrage
Members.aol.com, 2007. Women’s Rights and Equality in Islam.
Onesto, Li. 1999. The Sexual Revolution and Dreams of a New World.
Ozturk, Sedes, 1992. The Islamic movement and women in Turkey. http://waf.gn.apc.org/j4p26.htm
Socialscience.stow.ac.uk, 2007. HND Social Science. Gender.
Uga.edu, 2007. Women in Islam: Muslim Women.
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