The focus of the feminist movement has always been for women to attain equal rights and treatment as men. Since the 19th century, feminists have fought for women’s suffrage, equality in education, and participation in the workforce. Crusades against sexist stereotypes have revolutionized the way we are perceived in society, the workplace, and even our own families. Although some disparities still exist today, the feminist movement has in general progressed our social, political, and economic position, and perhaps even our own self-image as females. We are stronger, smarter, and more successful than ever before. However, we have regressed in one aspect of our feminism: the way we treat fellow women.
The feminist movement has been so highly concerned with how men treat us that it has blatantly disregarded the way we treat one another. Many feminists strongly advocate gender equality, but fail to treat fellow women with the same level of respect they demand from men. Women constantly belittle one another, talk poorly of other women behind their backs, and are reluctant to support or even acknowledge other women’s successes and positive attributes. Women are less accepting and far harder to impress than our male counterparts. Furthermore, women constantly point fingers at “sexist” men but do not hesitate to call one another sluts and bitches. Perhaps this phenomena is fueled by jealousy, or even a lack of confidence, but it completely negates the respect and equality we have fought so hard to attain for so many decades.
Women now earn more college and graduate degrees than men, make up half the workforce, and are just as economically independent as men. We are kicking ass as a gender. Shouldn’t we be celebrating together instead of competing against one another? Shouldn’t we consider the success of one female as an achievement of the entire gender? Now is the time to stop thinking about feminism solely as a fight for gender equality and start considering our behavior towards other women. We need to push envy aside and empower one another, celebrate each other’s successes, and treat each other with appreciation, dignity, and love. We need to channel our inner Spice Girl and promote Girl Power! We have come too far to in our fight for respect to put up with disrespect from one another. Feminism begins with fem, after all.