Previously, I discussed the basic rules and functions of cards of the game, Magic: The Gathering. Now, to get into the portion of the blog series that has a strong following throughout centuries, but always has criticism: Feminism. This post is going to dive into the history of the feminist movement and its criticisms with prior knowledge learned in my Media Studies Class, History 312 (New Deal to Great Society), as well as reading ‘Women’s history, feminist history’, by Professor June Hannam of the University of the West of England. It is important to discuss this aspect because most people of the current generation might not have any idea how long these ideals and beliefs have been held for and fought for. Hannam states: 

   Women’s history and feminist history are often used interchangeably but this serves to 
play down the specific approach of feminist historians. Feminists argue that the power 
relationship between men and women is just as important as that between social classes in 
understanding social change. (Hannam, 2008. Para. 7)



   As previously mentioned in the introductory post of this series, we are in the third wave of the feminist movement. “The current third wave of Feminism looks to create a gender-neutral ground on which all people can relate to.” Lets look into the first two movements of Feminism and what those women were fighting for. As far back as 14th Century France, women have been fighting for rights, equality, and justice. Christine de Pizan and in the 16th century, Olympe de Gouges are widely considered the first major figures in raising their voices against male dominated industries, as well as for equality across all spectrum.

Olympe de Gouges. Painting by Alexander Kucharsky 

  In the early 19th and 20th centuries, those nations of an industrious nature misused women due to their influences and family ties. In the Northern United States, as well as in The United Kingdom, factories, especially for textiles, women were over worked, under paid (if at all), and exploited. Unionization discussions had been kept hush hush, but women like Barbara Drake, opened the door for discussion by writing in newspapers, passing out pamphlets, and writing books. Drake’s 1920 book, Women in the Trade Unions, helped women gain a foothold in trade unions in England. She also helped open up discussions about education reforms. 

   This first wave also involved the suffrage movement. The decades before World War I had seen the movement for women’s suffrage take many different routes towards achieving their goals. From hunger strikes in prisons, to picketing, to parades/marches, women did what they could to get their message across.  Feminists used the momentum from gaining voting rights to drive the narrative towards fighting for more women’s rights. 

   Sadly, After World War I, the narrative is lost for almost twenty years due to the global aftermath of the war and the roaring twenties. The Great Depression, Germany’s war debt, and a world-wide flu epidemic caused the world to focus elsewhere. Text’s and other writings were published, but did not have as strong of a following as years prior. It isn’t Until after World War II and going into the 1950’s and 1960’s were the second wave kicks off. 

The first Edition of The Feminine Mystique


   The Women Liberation Movement (WLM) came into effect, especially in North America. The 50’s were about women being the homemakers and the men being the money makers of the house. In Betty Freidan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, the first chapter told of women having issues in suburbia, but could not explain it. They just felt like there was something missing in their lives, but couldn’t figure it out. All the neighborhood women felt the same way too, so it wasn’t just one woman. This symptom is in part to blame for the atmosphere of the country, despite the post-war boom. The country was cookie cutter and bland, from housing to cars. The chapter is aptly called : “The Problem with No Name”.  Going into the 1960’s, women were starting to go to school and furthering their education again. A similar trend of women not marrying, not having kids and instead of going to college of some capacity is seen in the early 1900’s. The 1970’s and 1980’s led into more and more societal and economic movements for women’s equality, in-particular, pay in the work force. 

  The current wave, the third wave of Feminism looks to create a gender-neutral ground on which all people can relate to. The movement is fighting against the over-sexualizing of women in magazines, music videos, etc. The wave is also fighting against modelling companies Photoshopping women into unrealistic beauty standards that can cause personal figure issues in young women and children. Another brave stance is the campaign Free the Nipple. This stance is to decriminalize female toplessness and open up the western world to stop sexualizing womens’ upper-torso, as well as oppose the taboo and double-standard nature of Censorship laws. 

Free the Nipple logo. Courtesy of Twitter @FreeTheNipple  

  In closing, Feminism is, has, and will be a movement towards women’s rights, but also encompasses humanity as well due to the ever changing nature of gender biases, double-standards, taboos, and so on in the world.  Feminism is not without it’s faults though. Most notably, the more extremist views about the subject. However, it is important to understand the history behind this movement to better grasp the current political and social landscape of social media and news coverage on the topic. 

The next post will look at how MTG and Feminism have have been interlocked with each other. 

Resources: 

Friedan, B. (1963). The Problem With No Name. The feminine mystique. New York: W.W. Norton.

 Hannam, J. (2008). Women’s history, feminist history. Retrieved August 31, 2015, from http://www.history.ac.uk/makinghistory/resources/articles/womens_history.html

 

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