Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Feminism should not be about the “results”

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon when I was flipping through one of the old copies of TIME magazine we keep at home. I stopped to read a viewpoint article as its headline captured my eye. Author Ruth Whippman wrote a short piece called “Women’s ‘empowerment’ is not real power,’” and she had an interesting point to make.
Whippman has observed a disillusionment with feminism in the 21st century. She explains that feminism has adopted the word “empowerment” and has thus succumbed to being little more than a battle cry. Whippman warns, “If we buy into this story—in which feminism is a feel-good anthem and women are to blame for their own oppression—the genuinely powerful woman will remain an exception.” Though Whippman makes a lot of thought provoking points, there are key parts of her argument I cannot agree with.
Take for example a woman slaving away in her cubicle. She is qualified to be in a higher position, but she can’t seem to get there. Many people hear of situations like these and respond with Tweets or Facebook posts about women’s empowerment and why we need feminism. These posts cause very little physical change in the situation. So, yes, women’s empowerment has become (to a certain degree) a battle cry that gets very few results. But, my question is, should feminism be solely defined by its results?
There is more to feminism than just getting women “powerful roles.” Feminism should not only be about gender equality but also about how women feel about themselves. Women’s empowerment is not a silly cheer about girl power; it shows women that at the end of the day, regardless of where they are in their careers, regardless of how happy or sad they are, they deserve a choice.
Whippman claims that feminism has gotten to the point where “women are to blame for their own oppression” because the entire concept of feminism and empowerment has not gotten physical results. This is not true. Women do not wake up thinking they want to be oppressed. A woman should decide for herself whether or not she is being oppressed. This all goes back to the importance of choice.
If looking after children or doing housework or taking on those so-called “women’s roles” is something a woman chooses to do, she is not being oppressed. She is making a choice. And as a woman—no, as a human being—she deserves to choose what she does and does not want to do. This idea of a woman’s right to choose how to live and what to believe is not a radical notion.
To consider oneself to be a feminist and decide for a woman when she does and does not feel oppressed seems terribly backwards to me. To put limits on feminism based on “material gains” while arguing the limits put on women seems terribly backwards to me. Women’s empowerment is real power. It is the power of choice, and that is a power that all women deserve.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Augustana Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Feminism should not be about the “results”