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Catherine Horowitz

3 May 2015
Red
Feminism Essay
For as long as the human race has existed, sexism has been an issue. Women have almost always
known objectification and oppression, whether it be through the media, gender pay gaps, or sexist jokes.
They are also severely underrepresented in Congress, and often face the risk of sexual assault in public
places. This issue has persisted for far too long, and the time has come for the United States to fix it.
Women should be afforded the legal protection of a minority group because women have deprivations
similar to minorities in the law, employment, the military, education, and American culture in general.
Attempts have been made in the past to help fix the issue of sexism. One example is the Equal
Rights Amendment (ERA), which stated that equal rights could not be denied on account of sex. In 1972,
it passed through Congress and went to state legislatures for ratification. Out of 38 necessary approvals,
the ERA received only 35. A large reason for the ERAs failure was the impact of women themselves who
didnt support the Amendment. These women believed that the ERA would not end discrimination based
on sex, or benefit women at all. This group of people ultimately harmed, not helped, women.
Phyllis Schlafly, a leader of the force that struck down the ERA, travelled across the United States
to explain why traditional gender roles should be embraced, and why, in her opinion, the ERA actually
took away rights that women already had such as being exempt from military conscription. She also
discovered its hidden agenda of supporting LGBT rights and abortion (Schlafly). Schlaflys activism,
however, was a form of feminism in and of itself; a woman standing up for herself and her opinions
would not even be a concept without feminism. On the other side of the issue were activists such as Susan
Brownmiller. Brownmiller didnt speak about the ERA in her book about rape culture, Against Our
Will, but it can be inferred that she was an avid supporter. Brownmiller states that women have been
excluded by tradition and design from all significant areas of law enforcement (Brownmiller 381), and
the ERA was a perfect platform for women to be incorporated into the legal system.

Catherine Horowitz
3 May 2015
Red
Since 1972, women have obviously come far. There is more accurate representation of women in
the media, and more women have high-paying jobs, but there is still a long way to go until women truly
have equal rights. The 114th Congress is 80% male, women are on average paid 78 cents for every dollar
earned by a man, and the objectification of women in the media is still normalized extremely often
(NWLC). Another form of sexism and hate speech that is prevalent today is pornography.
Some feminists do not believe that pornography is hate speech, claiming that censorship would
suppress many works that are valuable to women (Strossen). Pornography should, however, be
considered hate speech because it depicts women as easily overpowered sex objects. This informs men
that it is their divine right to gain access to the female body (Brownmiller 394). In other words,
pornography fuels rape culture by telling men that they are obliged to sex as a female service. Women
accepting their place as a victim only reinforces the idea of them never achieving equality with men.
Sexism, and the idea of male domination, is so deeply embedded in our cultural value system
that most efforts to combat it only scratch the surface (Brownmiller 389). So many aspects of our
culture are prejudiced against women that sexism is the norm at this point. People now need to undertake
the difficult task of unlearning the ideals that has been developing for as long as humans have existed. So,
is there a perfect solution? Most likely not. The best solution, however, is to protect women with minority
rights. Through affirmative action, which that opens up opportunities for women in employment and
education, the number of women in the federal workplace has already almost tripled (NWLC).
Sexism is a major problem in American politics and culture today. This issue is so prevalent that
people often do not even realize that they are being sexist because oppression based on gender is now so
normalized and frequent. A solution will therefore be hard to find, and still may not fix everything, but is
necessary if we want to try to eradicate the problem. This is why women must be afforded minority rights
and in order for sexism to improve at all. Its not a complete solution, but minority rights and affirmative
action truly make a positive difference in womens places in society.

Catherine Horowitz
3 May 2015
Red
Works Cited
"Affirmative Action and What It Means for Women." NWLC. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2015.
<http://www.nwlc.org>.
Brownmiller, Susan. Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape. N.p.: Ballantine Books, 1993. Print.
"The History Behind the Equal Rights Amendment." ERA. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2015.
<http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/>.
Schlafly, Phyllis. "'Equal Rights' for Women: Wrong Then, Wrong Now." Los Angeles Times. N.p., n.d.
Web. 3 May 2015. <http://www.latimes.com>.
Strossen, Nadine. "A Spirited Feminist Defense of Pornography." AJR. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2015.
<http://ajrarchive.org>.