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Feminism Today This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Any high school student could probably tell you that males and females are set apart by a single X or Y chromosome. It's difficult to fathom that such a small difference decides gender. Gender once determined who could vote and serve our country, whether a person could enter the workforce or stay at home and tend the house and family. Today, a fraction of the population is dissatisfied with the political, social, and economic rights of American women. This societal want is known as feminism.
I often hear feminism being ridiculed or called an embarrassment because of how some feminists respond to discontents. When feminism is mentioned, minds may race to the new Beyoncé album. Some visualize a bubbly hipster girl lounging with her MacBook Pro, clicking the reblog button on a post that states, in Helvetica font, “If guys talk to a lot of girls they are viewed by society as masculine and successful. If I were to do the same I'd be called trashy.” Those studying history may even envision the Seneca Falls Convention or a suffragette marching for her right to check “yes” or “no.”
The modern feminist movement in the United States is tackling many important issues. One of the most critical gender equality issues today is rape culture. ­Activists believe that our society condones, normalizes, and excuses rape because we consider factors such as what the victim was wearing, blood alcohol level, race, and/or demeanor of the victim. Also, cultural clichés make some women feel objectified as vehicles for pleasure and reproduction; this is referred to as the “sexualization of women.” Another current feminist issue is equal pay and the treatment of working women. Skeptics write off these issues because of their mildness compared to feminist campaigns of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Regardless of the public's opinion of feminism in the U.S. today, Americans rarely dispute the need for attention to women's rights issues in other countries.
While American women fight against the concept of acceptable rape, women in India may be fighting for their lives over dowry. Dowries were made illegal in 1961 under Indian civil law, however, many still practice this tradition where money and/or gifts are given to a groom's family by the family of the bride. If the groom's family is dissatisfied with the dowry, a wife may be abused by her husband and viewed as not worthy. According to the World Bank, 32.7 percent of India falls below the international poverty line and cannot afford the traditional practice of dowry.
While American women fight for equal pay, female babies in China and India may never experience the gift of life. For a poor family, the birth of a girl can be viewed as a financial burden, which has contributed to the prevalence of gendercide. Female gendercide – the termination of a fetus or infant solely because it is female – is shockingly prevalent in China and India. If an Indian family cannot afford dowry, they may choose to kill their baby girl soon after birth. Even with the loosening of the one-child policy in China, it is still common for a family to have prenatal tests to determine a fetus's gender. Females that are born to underprivileged families are often neglected or abandoned because of the financial burden they bring to their families.
Some believe that women have already won the war for equality and that no more battles are necessary; however, for many women – in America and around the world – the war has just begun.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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