“What is that?”
“Is that still going on?”
“I’m not answering that question.”
These are responses I received when I asked some men around campus what they thought about the feminist movement. Yes, the feminist movement is still happening, and yes it still needs to be happening. Due to my response while asking males how they perceived the feminist movement, I feel that feminism needs to be defined and explained. According to the Webster’s Dictionary, feminism is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” Anyone who believes in this very simple principle is a feminist.
Feminism started in the nineteenth and early twentieth century when women demanded the right to political equality, particularly the right to vote. Flash forward to today and women now have the right to own property, the right to divorce and the right to make their own decisions regarding pregnancy, the right to equal opportunity employment and the right to the access of education.
All of these things are great, but it was been over 100 years and, as the world has developed and progressed, feminism is still needed. I asked one male if he thought men and women were equal today. “It’s obvious, even if you go on the Internet, that the violent opposition that people have against women getting into their favorite things, like video games, makes it very apparent that equality just isn’t there. That’s a problem. ”There is a problem. In fact, Anita Sarkeesian recently had to deal with threats if she were to give a presentation at Utah State University.
Sarkeesian is a feminist media critic who uses her video blog, Feminist Frequency, to speak out against sexism in video games and the gamer culture. The death threats against Sarkeesian aren’t anything new for her. But in a letter sent out to Utah State University, one such person promised a massacre if Sarkeesian were to speak. In addition to that, because of Utah’s concealed carry law and the lack of security for the event, Sarkeesian canceled her speech. Sarkeesian was also forced to flee her home, in August, when a gamer found her home address and began sending death threats. This isn’t an isolated incident. Women everywhere are speaking up about the sexist and masochistic themes found in video games and the backlash towards them, and women involved in technology in general, is astounding.
One game developer, Brianna Wu, was also forced to leave her home due to receiving a death threat that included her home address. “It’s important for men and women to have an equal standing without one having the advantage over another, in any aspect,” said another male I interviewed. Certainly the threat of bodily harm, over one gender for being involved in a male dominated hobby, is far from equal. The fact that there are those who become so angered because of the presence of females in a fun activity just screams that we need feminism to combat the ever-present theme of inequality and sexist thinking.
Mary Kay Satterlee is a contributing writer for The Spectator. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.