Nowadays it is a really trendy and woke thing to be part of a social movement. While fighting against the backlash from the more conservative crowds and carrying on the movement is really important for those who are presently advocating for equality and those who came before them.

While there are celebrities, influences, and models who will claim they are feminists, we also have to say that it really depends on not just the words that they speak but how they live their lives. Anyone can say they are a feminist, and it has become trendy which is why many celebrities like to use feminist slogans, and while some really live and breathe feminism, some just use it to sell records.

You can say the same about people on social media, feminist movements happen, however they only appear once in a while. We can say that this isn't everyone, many feminists who follow a feminist ideology will be a really motivated person that is always thinking about how to gain equality for women or change society to unoppress women everywhere.

There are many feminists and female leaders today and in years past who have influenced and are influencing today's movement. They have earned a lot of rights for women around the world as well as for people of color in the United States and around the world.

Different movements were created by a lot of feminist advocates some that came about because of the age of enlightenment and the women's suffrage movement. These women created many changes in society that still exist today and as a society, we have benefited from it both men and women.

To understand why these feminists are famous and important we have to know what is feminism? How did it get started and what different ideologies have come to exist thanks to the different feminist and women's advocacy thinkers and philosophers who are influencing today's feminist movements.

Then we can understand how these feminists affected society.

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What is Feminism

If you are going to learn about famous feminists throughout history as well as those who are still around today, you have to review really quickly what feminism is, if you haven't already done so.

Feminism is the advocacy for women to have equal rights in society.

Historically women have not been on the same footing as men in a lot of different ways. While nowadays plenty of conservative people may tell you differently women are still not equal to men in quite a few ways in terms of falling victim to gender violence and human trafficking.

Women are also much further behind in terms of wealth, the world's richest people are overwhelmingly male.

While both of these areas are changing little by little it is still a battle that is at the heart of the feminist movement currently taking place in the 21st century.

Historical Feminists from the 18th and 19th Centuries

Forcing a change sign
Women were important to fighting racial discrimination during the 18th and 19th centuries. Source: Unsplash

In the past, fighting for the end of gender violence and for women to become as wealthy as men may have seemed almost like an impossible dream, nowadays it seems very much obtainable thanks to the work of feminists in the past.

So who were the most influential feminists around the times of the age of enlightenment to the era of the women's suffrage movement?

Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft was a famous feminist philosopher and writer from England. She was around during the 19th century and was famous and revolutionary because she challenged other famous philosophers from that time.

Most noticeably, she challenged the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau who said women needed to be confined to the home. Challenging the thoughts of one of the enlightenments top thinkers influenced women for years to come.

Sojourner Truth

This time an American thinker during the 19th century ended up making a massive impact on the equality movement. Not only did Sojourner Truth fight for gender equality, but she also fought against racial discrimination.

Truth who was born a slave won a lawsuit to have her son returned to her, and for the rest of her life fought for the rights of women, slaves, and African Americans.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Arguably the first real organized feminist movement came about in 1848 in New York. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the most influential people when it came to planning the first women's rights convention.

She wrote the Declaration of Sentiments which took words from the Declaration of Independence.

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony, an African American woman had a lot in common with Sojourner Truth, they both fought for freedom for American slaves as well as women's rights.

Susan B. Anthony was not only important in the abolitionist movement, but she was also famous for her role in the women's suffrage movement, which would guarantee the right to vote for all women in the United States.

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Famous Feminists from the 1960s and onward

After the two world wars, feminism went into a bit of a lull. During the 1950s the nuclear family became pretty mainstream and gender rules were set. Jobs for women were clearly defined such as secretary or nurse, and most women were expected to be the ones who cook and clean at home.

Then the 1960s came around.

The 1960s became arguably the most important time for political change, various social movements blossomed and helped to shape society for the next decades.

Different feminist ideologies began to take shape the first one being radical feminism. This ideology became the basis of what would become other feminist movements.

The idea of radical feminism was to dismantle an oppressive society that oppressed women.

This earned a lot of backlash from the conservative crowd around the United States and this idea in the form of other feminist movements still brings out a lot of criticism at times.

Some of the types of feminism that came to exist after radical feminism were:

  • Cultural feminism
  • Marxist or Socialist feminism
  • Eco-feminism
  • Liberal feminism

Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir is a French writer and philosopher who heavily influenced the radical feminist movement in the 1960s. She was a lightning rod for the conservative crowd as she always stood up to what she described as the patriarchal system.

Simone de Beauvoir constantly pointed out flaws in a patriarchal society and her literary work, most importantly 'The Second sex' fueled the feminist movement in the 1960s.

Gloria Seinem

Another activist for women's rights and equality, she spent the majority of her life fighting for women's rights which led her to create Ms. Magazine, which was a publication that was dedicated to promoting feminism and talking about issues that women face on a daily basis.

Germaine Greer

Another writer who wrote a famous literary work known as 'The Female Eunuch' as with all writers and activists that influenced the 1960's and 1970's feminist movement.

Again the key idea of the movement during these years was to take down the patriarchal society.

Germaine Greer argued for the sexual liberation of women, that women don't need to repress their own bodies or sexual desires just to fit into the society that is run by patriarchs.

Feminism Over the Past Twenty Years

women rallying in the street
Modern feminists fight to wear and do what they like without feeling threatened or oppressed. Source: Unsplash

Nowadays the feminist movement you can argue is all about how women can still like feminine things such as lipstick, high heels, and more while still being a feminist.

Perhaps some feminists think the opposite and see those things as symbols of male oppression.

However many feminists nowadays are trying to fit for a society where women can be safe from gender violence, rape, and other forms of violence and oppression while still being "feminine".

Madonna

A major celebrity who changed the world for women in regards to sexuality and stereotypes and recently she has come out as an advocate against ageism, that women can't dress or act a certain way past a certain age.

Oprah Winfrey

In a world run by male billionaires, Oprah is breaking the norms. She is world-famous for the talk shows and empire that she built. Oprah is the world's richest female entertainer and of the richest people in the world worth over 2.5 billion dollars. She has been an inspiration to women over the past twenty years.

Studying Feminism with a Private Tutor

If you want to learn a lot about feminism or need extra help while learning about feminism in school or college, working with a private tutor would be a great idea. To find one you can use an online platform like Superprof which has loads of tutors that specialize in teaching all you need to know about feminism.

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