The Feminist Movement is a movement that began in the 19th century, women tired of not having the same rights as men and being treated as inferior to their male counterparts. The first stage of the Feminist Movement focused mainly on helping women get the right to vote, known as Women’s Suffrage. The infamous Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 was a rally of 300 men and women who protested that women need to be able to vote. Women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth were two prominent feminists who encouraged other women to fight for their rights. Many women were imprisoned and beaten over their fight to get women voting rights. Eventually, women did get the right to vote.
The second stage of the Feminist Movement focused, from 1960 to the 1990’s focused on helping women to get rights such as having abortions, the case of Roe vs. Wade in 1973 becoming a major court case regarding abortion. At a time when the Vietnam war, feminist women also wanted to have control over their own sexuality and body, contraception such as birth control a big debate.
Feminism paved the way for a transition in media. In the 1970’s, television shows such as “Maude,” “One Day at Time,” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” portrayed strong female characters. Divorced, single, and married, they proved that they could take care of themselves. Erica Kane from “All My Children” was a dominant female role, her character tackling issues such as birth control, abortion, and women working. Protests against sexist shows such as Miss America were started. Rights for minorities were also highlighted. The female image also become more masculine, lesbians often equated with the feminist role, political events such as Stonewall Jackson in New York City showing the strength and power of women.
Transversal politics became the focus of the last and current stage of the Feminist Movement. There has been a slight switch in this stage, as women are feeling comfortable about embracing their femininity by dressing nice, wearing make-up, and high heels. However, these feminists feel empowered by their choice of dress and style. Issues such as gender, sexuality, and one’s body are at the forefront. Some women like labels such as “soft butch” or “lipstick femme,” while other women feel disempowered here. There are more variations on how to be a feminist in this stage. Political issues such as same-sex marriage and the right to get an abortion are main focuses here, rallies, petitions, and boycotts used to further these goals. Many powerful women are in the media, such as gay talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, singer Lady Gaga, and Jennifer Lopez, all these women bringing their own unique style to feminism.