OPINION: Why feminism still matters

In honor of Women’s History Month coming to a close, I have been reflecting on my and other women’s experiences in today’s society.

Of course, being a woman now is better than it was in the past. We can be more independent by having careers and lives of our own, and are encouraged to do whatever we set our minds to. However, there are still many obstacles women face in 2023 due to the patriarchal society we live in.

It’s no secret: the world, particularly the South, is skewed in favor of men. I want to preface this by saying that I in no way want to “kill all men” or believe in other misandrist mindsets. That being said, you can’t dissect the country we live in and not notice how it gives men the advantage. 

Women are still expected to do what women before us have done before: take care of the house, have kids, cook dinner, look their best at all times – the list goes on. My generation may be more progressive, but we are still being taught traditional gender roles by mothers and grandmothers who themselves were brought up to be the “perfect” wife, mother and overall woman. You know, the June Cleaver type.

While they were exposed to the same feminist principles that we are today, the world they lived in was not yet prepared for the strong, independent woman, and many are now trapped on an ill-fated hamster wheel: attempting to be Wonder Woman, even though that’s actually impossible. One TikToker has deemed this as feminism’s “lost generation.”

And, by the way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting such a way of life. The image of the ideal woman becomes problematic when it is either forced upon or expected of people. 

Another new but maybe not so surprising discovery on how the patriarchy dominates the life of women is how it affects their workday – and I’m not talking about the toxic “locker room” culture rampant in the workplace. It has been found due to our biology women on average need more rest than men.

According to Dr. Carmel Harrington, a sleep scientist, “Rising levels of the sex hormone progesterone that occur in the last two weeks of women’s monthly cycle have a soporific effect and that means women require more sleep.”

Along with sleep being affected during their cycle, women’s sleep can be deteriorated by other hormonal changes like pregnancy and menopause. Some experts have even suggested women need at least 20 more minutes of sleep on average compared to men. 

What does this have to do with the workday? Well, the typical nine to five (or seven to five) is heavily based on men’s biology: not women’s. So from the get-go, we are already given a disadvantage based on who we are. 

Along with our workdays, the government feels they should have an immense amount of control over our bodies with the Roe v. Wade overturn. While the ruling leaves the question of abortion up to the states, women have largely been cut out of the decision making process.

I feel like after the overturn, we are starting to see and probably will continue to see more legislation meant to make women’s lives harder. Already there have been some such as Florida’s bill to ban talking about periods in school or Idaho’s attempt at having free menstrual products in schools being blocked.

The depressing part about the Idaho bill was the fact there are videos of women representatives being against it, as if this wouldn’t help their daughters, nieces or grandchildren in the school system. 

And to top it all off, while these things are going on in the government some people identify as TERFS, feminists against trans women, which goes against everything feminism is about. Then there are listeners of misogynists like Andrew Tate and justpearlythings on TikTok who garner too much support and fuel this despise of anyone identifying as female. 

Overall, the world is tough for women of all races, ages, and cis-gendered and non-cisgendered alike. So rather than being against each other, let’s all be girls’ girls together and stand against patriarchy.