Feminism: Has the movement gone too far?

People march for women’s rights. (Photo sourced from Pexels)
People march for women’s rights. (Photo sourced from Pexels)

Written by: Alexis Dewey

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, one of the first women in the United States Senate, was appointed in 1992 and still holds the position today. Calls for her resignation due to age and illness have surfaced in recent months, but she remains a trailblazer in American history.

“Two percent might be good for the fat content in milk, but it’s not good enough for women’s representation in the United States Senate,” said Feinstein, (D-Calif.) in a speech in 2006 about the lack of women who were represented in the Senate when she ran.

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception,” said the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a 2009 interview with USA Today. 

Ginsburg was selected in 1993 to be a U.S. Supreme Court justice. She was the second woman to become one. The feminist movement was in full swing. 

The movement for women’s rights has come a long way in the last century. Women can now vote, own land, gain an education and so much more. However, even today, debate over whether this movement has gone too far prevails.

Recently, contenders in this debate found themselves discussing Walt Disney’s first fully-animated feature film: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Disney recently decided to create a live-action version, as it has with many of is movies. The actress playing Snow White’s character, Rachel Zegler, has received backlash for comments she made in interviews.

Some fans did not like Zegler’s response when she was asked by an interviewer from Variety at D23 2022 to clarify what she meant when she previously said she was bringing a “modern edge” to the character of Snow White. 

“I just mean it’s no longer 1937,” said Zegler. “She’s not going to be saved by the prince, and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love. She’s dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be and the leader that her late father told her that she could be if she was fearless, fair, brave and true.”

Many fans took this quote to heart, as they wanted their beloved Disney princess to remain who she was created to be. Others believe the negative reaction to Zegler’s response  is anti-feminist.

Saying that a woman is “not going to be dreaming about true love” but that she is “dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be” is not what I consider feminism.

I say this because I, as a feminist, believe that you can dream about true love and about becoming a leader. You don’t have to pick just one.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with a Disney princess saving herself at the end of the day and being the leader in a movie. I think it’s great for young girls to have role models like that. However, I have a problem with the belief that you can’t be a strong woman and still be vulnerable and in love.

Too often people get this concept confused. I have seen on social media that you can’t be a stay-at-home mom anymore because that was the “old ways,” and we are “stronger now.” 

Well, why can’t you? If it was my dream to be a stay-at-home mom, who should shame me for that? Isn’t shaming a woman for pursuing her dreams what women have fought so hard against in the past?

Feminism was created to bring equality to the sexes, but I have seen the media tear men and women apart and call it “feminism.” 

When a man opens a door for me even though I am able, it does not make him anti-feminist. Or, when someone assumes the man is going to pay for dinner while on a date, that does not make them anti-feminist. 

At what point did feminism drift so far from what it once was for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Dianne Feinstein? Women are still being told that they must hold themselves to a certain standard or else they are not feminine enough. 

We were all upset when women were being told they had to be submissive and quiet, and now we are telling them they have to be loud and a “boss babe.”  We are still telling women who to be, and, if they aren’t acting by society’s standards, they aren’t real women. 

Feminism has come so far, especially in the legal sense. I fangirl over Ginsburg daily for the amazing work she did and the guts she had. There are still ways, however, that feminism can improve. 

Perhaps Zegler was misunderstood and didn’t mean for her words to be perceived in such a way by the media, but what she said opens great opportunities for conversations and growth in us all. 

Feminism is about equality. It’s not women taking over the world but instead about men and women working together equally. We need voices heard from both sexes. 

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