It is altogether ironic that the feminist campaign, through all its forms over the course of all these years, would end up betraying itself. If Susan B. Anthony had predicted the state of feminism as it exists today, she would likely have given up the fight. Modern feminism is wrought with excess, sexual objectification, self-sabotage and backwards values which stand in stark contrast with the goals of the early feminists. The sad, ironic examples of modern feminism’s betrayal of women are easily enumerated.

For instance, one example of the modern feminist movement acting to betray women is observed in athletics. Feminists demanded that women be given the right to compete in athletics on the basis that women should stop being sex symbols who cheer men on, but rather, start being strong competitors who display their athletic prowess.

This goal has been achieved, but to what end? Modern female athletes are, often by virtue of their own participation, highlighted not for their skill, but for their bodies. Case in point – Anna Kournikova is not as talented as most of her tennis competitors, yet she is allowed in many top tennis tournaments. Further, she is highlighted as a sex symbol rather than as a skilled tennis player.

The message that this sends to women – objectifying yourself will help you to overcome your lack of talent in your field, and it is preferable to be a sex symbol than an effective worker. Is this what early feminists had in mind?

In addition, women’s liberation was meant to give women freedom of choice in their social habits, so long as it was not detrimental to the character of women as a whole. Women have been granted such freedom, and have abused it. Modern feminists note that it is accepted for men to be sexually promiscuous – players – but women are looked down on for the same behavior – sluts.

This is a double standard that could be corrected in two different ways – women as a whole could discourage male promiscuity and refuse to be a part of it, thereby forcing the men to change, or women could reduce themselves to the male standard, encouraging women to be whores at the expense of their health and their morals, just so that both genders will be equally promiscuous.

Women, with their newfound freedom of choice, have too often selected the latter, betraying the goal of early feminists who worked their whole lives to end the sexual objectification of women.

Indeed, it is delightfully ironic that it is the women who are objectifying themselves, doing so based on freedoms that were made possible by early feminists, who worked to prevent such a demoralizing outcome from occurring.

Early feminists dedicated their lives to granting women freedom of choice regarding fashions and customs. Women have abused this as well. What would Susan B. Anthony think about the revealing clothing that women have taken it upon themselves to wear?

Further, a stated goal of certain modern feminists groups is to increase acceptance of public toplessness, based on the fact that men are often allowed to be shirtless in areas where women are not. Is this what the early feminists had in mind? Thus, modern feminism has evolved into an entity that is diametrically opposed to the values of the early feminists. Susan B. Anthony is turning in her grave and all of history’s chauvinists are laughing it up.

The warnings of the early feminists have fallen on deaf ears, as women have voluntarily put themselves under burdens nearly identical to those which male-dominated societies have forced on them in years past. The only question left to answer is whether the fate of the women’s movement is comical or tragic.

Mack can be reached at jmack@campustimes.org.



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