“Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes” as stated by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in the beloved Queen Bey hit “Flawless”, encompasses the wishes, desires and longings of the feminist movement.
The stereotype of feminists being man hating, dirty, bra-burning (fun fact: bra burning was never really a thing-while protesting the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, a group of feminists threw bras and similar pieces of clothing into a “Freedom Trash Can” but never actually burned them) individuals could not be further from the truth. Celebrities and figures such as Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Leslie Knope prove that it is possible to proudly own the feminist label while unapologetically filling traditionally feminine roles such as mother, wife, and domestic goddess while basically dominating the world.
The need for the feminist movement was created and is still fueled by technological advancements and changing economic environments. As time and technology have both progressed, the spheres of home and work began to separate. At first men were mostly impacted during the Industrial Revolution when they went from focusing on farming and other work that was done to sustain the home, and moved towards factory work and work that helped make urbanization possible.
It would be later on when women would begin splitting their work between home and away from home. At first it was typically seen as a negative thing to have female figures working outside of the home because it indicated that the male figure in the household was not able to provide for his family. Between periods of economic downturns and times of war, the woman’s "woman-power" in the workplace would be vital to the country succeeding. During WWII it would have not been possible for the country to stay afloat if women did not enter the workforce because there were so many men off at war leaving factory jobs vacant.
The women that filled these spots were the women who made the supplies that were needed for the United States to participate in the war. When the war was over and the men who were off fighting returned, women would go back to their traditional roles in the home. Not long after the war, America began to encompass the suburban paradise that consisted of the two-story home with the white picket fence and the 2.5 kids, and it became necessary for women to re-enter the workforce to support that dream. It would become a cultural norm to have women in the workforce.
With the change in the woman’s role in the family came the need for change in how women handled family planning. With women in the work force and the budding second wave of the feminist movement, women needed reliable contraception to have the same rights as men. Before the pill, women were forced to rely on condoms, the pull out method or centering their sex life around the days that they were fertile. All of these methods were risky and had high chances of pregnancy occurring and without contraception options like the pill, women would never be able to experience gender equality. Women would not have the option to indulge her sexual needs without fear of pregnancy that could alter a career or life plan. It is vital to the feminist movement even in its forth wave that women see improvements to the contraception options available so that she can decide if she wants to pursue a career, or a family, or have the option to have it all.