The 1960s can be defined as a variety of things, but most importantly it is one of the most progressive eras this nation has ever come to know. The Feminist Movement has essentially played a role in the opportunities and rights we have as women today. Prior to this movement, inequality among the sexes could be seen in aspects of everyday life. Thousands of women teamed up together to fight against oppression and to earn what is rightfully theirs.
The young generation of the 1960s Feminist Movement felt a cultural shift in the gender roles that had been placed on them by society. It became quite evident to the older generation, who failed to put aside their ignorance to understand the importance of this movement. As for the younger generation of feminists, they saw for what it was really, a chance for real equality.
The young men and women alike aimed to challenge the cultural definition of gender in a number of ways. An army of college students hungry for equality sought to create radical forms of liberation through protests and student rebellions. Revolutionary change was emphasized through the spontaneity, authenticity and anti-hierarchy that became key components of this revolution (Evans, 334).
They pushed through backlash received due to the feminist movement with the view “we considered that, unlike our elders, we had no apologies to make…. We were convinced that we could make everything anew” (Evans, 335). Regardless of the hesitation that first came with it, pushing back was a must in order for things to get done.
The feminist movement has conjured up a number of different responses, especially from those of men. Three main responses were introduced during this time period were antifeminist, masculinist, and pro-feminist. Reports of these responses were provided with assumptions to provide evidence in backing their views regarding the feminist movement.
The antifeminist response focused on the traditional gender roles that had been placed on women from the beginning of time. They idealized that women must return to their “rightful role” as a house wife who served her breadwinner husband and took care of her children. They often argued that there was a “natural order, which guaranteed them the superior position over women” (Kimmel, 383). Most protests were met with degrading messages such as, “get back home, where you belong” or “Go make me a sandwich!”
The masculinist perspective was less concerned with the participation of women in the public setting, but rather role they played back home. In other words, they preferred that the mother did not play a dominant role in the household to keep their sons from “being distracted from being a man.” They emphasized that the “separation of boys and girls was essential to retrieving masculinity from women’s clutches” (Kimmel, 385). To put it simply, they didn’t really care what women did with their lives, as long as they left them alone to be a man with other men.
In our final response of the feminist movement, we focus on the men who sought to support the women and fight side by side with them for education, labor and political reforms. Rather than seeing this movement as a step back, they saw it as a gain for both men and women. As one advocate stated, he was glad to “align myself with a party that declares for absolute equality between he sexes. Anything less than this is too narrow for twentieth century civilization” (Kimmel, 388). They were open to change and envisioned a world in which it was both practical and moral.
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