It protesting against the Victorian image ofIt protesting against the Victorian image of

It sounds simple enough, but what does equality mean? What is political equality? How do we measure the social equality of women? It all depends on who you ask. The mainstream version of feminism sets a list of rules and excludes everyone who doesn’t follow them. It isn’t progressive, it’s regressive. You can’t be pro-life. You can’t be a Republican. You can’t follow female stereotypes. It’s always something you can’t be. Instead of saying what women can be, it segregates them into categories. It does exactly the opposite of what it claims to stand for. But how did we get to this point and what is feminism? The definition of feminism and what it means to be a woman has changed throughout history. Feminism can be simplified into four main waves. The first wave focused on the legal rights of women, the right to control and own land, and the right to vote. This wave was sparked by the increase of women activists protesting against the Victorian image of women that was the only accepted view of females in modern society. It dictated that women and men have specific spheres of life, men were responsible for earning money and politics, women were responsible for taking care of the home and kids. The second wave of feminism started in the early 1960s and broadened the spectrum of issues from suffrage to domestic violence. It also expanded the areas that feminism was present in like in the workplace, and the legal sphere. This wave was thought to have started from a variety of factors. One such factor is the book titled The Feminine Mystique which was written by Betty Friedan and talks about how mainstream media portrayed a false image of women. During this time, the perfect wife shown in media stayed at home and took care of the children. However, this book contests that concept. The author of the novel conducted surveys and found that women who were involved in the workforce and the home were more fulfilled and satisfied with their lives than women who stayed at home. After that, the third wave of feminism began to focus more on individuality and embracing diversity. This wave lasted from the 1990s to around 2012. Unlike its predecessors, the third wave of feminism was very freeform and undefined. While in the second wave, women, in general, agreed about certain issues like how sex work was degrading, in the third wave, responses was more ambiguous. There was no real yes or no answer to similar questions. The fourth wave of feminism is the one we are currently in and is a movement defined by technology. The current movement uses social media like Instagram, Twitter, etc. to condemn and call out sexual harassment is all spheres of life such as the recent #MeToo movement. However, the mainstream definition of feminism is completely different from what seems to be the core idea of the feminist movement. Feminism is a word with many sides, and a feminist is a word with many faces. There is no “right” definition of feminism. To me, feminism is a collection of values geared toward a positive shift in empowering women. It doesn’t matter what gender you are or what you want to do in your life. It’s about the core belief that everyone is equal, and it’s about the fight to achieve that equality. Feminism isn’t about politics, or religion, or whether you are pro-life or pro-choice. It isn’t about whether women want to be housewives or if they follow feminine stereotypes. It is the right of equality, choice, and respect. That is my definition of feminism.