The Student News Site of Putnam City North High School

The North Star

Breaking News

The North Star

The Student News Site of Putnam City North High School

The North Star

Vacuuming in Pearls


In modern America, feminism has become a term tossed around lightly. So many people use ‘feminist’ as a buzzword to belittle women online. You can easily find compilations of “FEMINIST GETS DESTROYED!!!” videos on youtube. This type of treatment makes a mockery of feminism, and in reality, it’s just pure misogyny masked with sub-par humor. But is this taunting a new thing? Well, the obvious answer is… no. Women, particularly ones that are perceived as “loud” or “stubborn” have always been laughed at and stereotyped by the media. After all, how dare a woman have an opinion? If a woman did something out of the ordinary or tried to make herself equal to a man, she would be called hysterical or her actions would be blamed on her menstrual cycle.

In the mid to late nineteen-sixties, there was an uproar of angry women protesting and fighting for their rights. The Vietnam war was just about to end, and America was flooded with anti-war and civil rights advocacy and protests. In 1963, a book called The Feminine Mystique, written by Betty Friedan, was published. Although it was not the first or most revolutionary book about uplifting women, it had the most reach and influence. The book criticized the common idea that women had to be submissive wives that cooked, cleaned, and took care of children.

This book reached many people, and eventually they started to speak up about how unfair the treatment of women really was. Multiple organizations were formed, one of the most prominent ones being called The National Organization for Women (NOW). It was established on June 30, 1966, founded by a group of women including Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, and Pauli Murray. They helped organize multiple protests and boycotts against companies like Colgate-Palmolive, which had been actively mistreating and disrespecting female workers.

In May of 1950, we saw the invention of the first birth control pill. This was revolutionary, because sex was often seen as a key component to maintaining a relationship or marriage. The birth control pill was the first step women could take themselves to prevent getting pregnant with a child they did not want. The pill was not a 100% guarantee, but it was still very liberating to women. Now women had sexual freedom just like men, and they no longer had to worry about carrying a baby.

There were many opponents to the feminist movement. Two of the largest opponents were The Mormon Church, and insurance businesses. They would often talk about feminists being “ugly” and “unattractive,” and people believed them. They would give out cookies while talking about how horrible and evil these women were, which unfortunately worked, and a lot of people started agreeing with them. They harassed feminists to no end, trying to go back to when women were silent and treated like objects with no consequences.

Many things were accomplished with the push for feminism. More people were aware of how women were treated, and that showed in the media. At the time, there were maybe one or two shows that aired on television that had a female character with a job. It just wasn’t a common thing to see until these protests. After all of these people spoke up about it, it became more commonplace to see female characters who worked, and they were portrayed in a slightly better light now, too.

Female workers were often mistreated and abused by their bosses. Women were often forced to wear uncomfortable yet “attractive” clothing. They had to be fashionable but modest, wearing heels, makeup, and garters that would dig into their skin. And if they didn’t? Well, then they could just be replaced with another young girl who the management found pretty enough. They were valued more for their looks rather than how well they could actually do that job. And even then they were still only paid about 50 to 60 cents per dollar a man made.

That brings me to my next point, modern feminism. Women are still mistreated daily, victim-blamed, and disrespected in the workplace. Overall it has improved, but there are still people who mock feminists and say they’re sensitive and “overreacting.” Women still cannot walk alone at night because if they do then they might become the next “mysterious disappearance” on the news.

Modern feminism is important. It’s crucial to not give up, but it is difficult. When you are constantly laughed at and made fun of for simply wanting equality, it is challenging to persevere. And with all of the in-fighting, where some women refuse to accept trans women into the equation, or racists who don’t think feminism should include people of color, it’s all so infuriating. Although it’s important to fight these people and criticize them for just oppressing people more, you do also need to pick your battles sometimes.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The North Star

Your donation will support the student journalists of Putnam City North High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Donate to The North Star

Comments (0)

All The North Star Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

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