A New Reaction to Feminism

Left to right: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston,  and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Left to right: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

American Identity and the 1890s masculinity crisis was a result of the uprising of one of the first feminist movements. The media emphasized this “moral panic of boys,” and as a result, such things as the electric belt and other technologies were developed to enhance one’s manhood. The establishment of explicitly male-centered activities such as Boy Scouts of America and other groups were also formed in order to reassert male place and dominance in our society.

The male reaction, or lack thereof, to Elle Magazine’s feminism campaign spearheaded by actress, Emma Watson, emphasizes how our culture is currently in a much different state than when feminism first arose. The image provided shows three famous men in our culture wearing t-shirts that point out how both genders can be feminism-supporters. We can see how the media and celebrities’ endorsement of ideas greatly affects how we react to and define our American identity.

Do you think the recent popularity of feminism is a result of celebrity endorsement and the popularization of the idea that it is “cool” to accept change nowadays?

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5 thoughts on “A New Reaction to Feminism

  1. In response to the posed question, I do not feel that feminism was the product of celebrity endorsement in our day and age, as the first feminist movements date back to the 1850’s in America. Feminism has been a very arduous stride towards creating equality in our country, and I do not believe that celebrities are the backbone to this social development. The push to creating feminist ideals in our country proved a time of much adversity and perseverance to those who came before us. These people gave feminism freedom in America, which further allowed celebrities the ability to preach their feelings on it. I would accredit celebrities with popularizing their ideologies behind the driving force to the listening people, but would not give them the credit for paving the way in current society.

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  2. I think that these actors are trying to reduce the stigma that feminism generated over the past few years. There is a video of a woman arguing with members of the MRA that went viral in 2013. In the video, the woman aggressively tries to get her point across to the members of the MRA. She repeatedly swears and uses unprofessional mannerism in order to undermine what the MRA truly stands for. When a member of the MRA tries to calmly discuss common ground between the MRA and the Feminist Movement, she again, hostilely, attacks the men in the crowd for not listening to her. There are occurrences where men attack the feminist movement as hostilely as the woman does, but the Feminist movement is the group that wants change. Automatically, Feminists will be targeted. The woman only further develops the fear that men have. Many men believe that feminists are completely against men. These perceptions embodied itself into the Men’s Rights Movement, a movement that attempts to act as a parallel to the feminist movement. When some men see the word “feminist” they have a reaction similar to Batman when he sees Joker’s calling card: a threat to the safety and well-being of the values they believe in. In this case, it is masculinity. Men do not want to associate with feminism and having the title of Feminist does not improve anything. However, these actors show that the antagonism directed towards the feminist movement has no justification. Men do not lose rights when they support women and men should be not insecure about women having equal rights. Also they show how being called a Feminist does not mean that a man loses masculinity. All three of those actors have played very masculine roles before. Using their image allows naysayers to see men can still be feminists and masculine concurrently.

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  3. I do believe that the recent wave of feminism is due to celebrities endorsing it. Not only through them just talking about it but also through music and their disposition. Stars like Beyonce are seen as an icon of feminism because they are highly regarded and their song lyrics suggest embracing female sexuality. And yes I do think that people want the change because they believe it to be cool. People have always been apart of the bandwagoning affect, they do it because everyone else is. Having celebrities endorse feminism only fuels that because people want to think that they think the same way as their idols do and feel connected through that.

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  4. I’m starting to perceive Feminism as more of trend these days. In the present, some women endorse feminism without completely understanding the concept of it. For instance, I recall my professor conducting a small survey in my communication class, he went around and asked several random young women question whether they endorse feminism or not, and about their perception on feminism. All of them said yes, in terms of “endorsing” feminism, but none of the young ladies did any physical actions regarding their advocacy for feminism. A majority of the females that were question understood what feminism was about, but first two that answered we’re very unsure in the meaning, answering with questionable responses like “isn’t feminism about…” or “I think feminism is blah blah blah…. Right?” This depicted that some of the female participants were saying yes just to say yes without completely understanding the idea and the history of it. In the past and present, women have went to great lengths protesting for equal rights and occupying areas to be heard all over the world in hopes of achieving equality both socially and politically, etc. Feminism extends far beyond saying “I am feminist,” one have to demonstrate through actions and have to be standing for something in particular not just saying it just to say it.

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  5. Although I agree that it’s “cool” to accept change nowadays, I also believe that this is only true to an extent. We like a little bit of change but we reject change that comes too much too fast. So although celebrities can support “change”, there’s only so much they can do to influence how much people subscribe to said change. Additionally, I don’t believe the recent rise in feminism is a direct result of celebrity endorsement. As aforementioned in previous comments, feminism and the fight for womens’ rights has been a century long battle pushed forward by women all over the country. The fact that male celebrities in our nation and from other countries support the feminist movement is encouraging but it ultimately does not define today’s feminist movement. We see this in other historical contexts such as the Zoot Suit Riots wherein many celebrities voiced their support of the jailed Mexican-American delinquents. Although their support was much appreciated and demonstrated how widespread the issue was, the celebrity endorsement alone was not what freed those 17 youths from prison. So although these men may support the feminist movement, they may not necessarily be the sole cause of it’s popularity.

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