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Antonia Torfs-Leibman

Red Group
Feminism Essay
Women throughout history have been discriminated against and have not had, and still do
not have, lasting equality with men. Therefore since women have constantly been denied
complete equal rights, they should be afforded minority rights to compensate. Many people often
assume that a minority group is just a group of people who are of a lesser population than that of
others. However, a minority group, by definition, is not limited to the size of its population;
rather, it is based on the lack of power the members of the subordinate group have over their
lives and their unequal opportunities in wealth, education, and success compared to the majority
group (Schaefer). From victories such as the ratification of the 19th amendment, to the second
wave feminist movements power in the 1970s, to the strong voice of women coming to the UN
in 2010, women all over the nation never given up on the fight for equality. Women however
continue to face discrimination on economic, social, and political levels and that is why they
should be given the rights that other minority groups have.
Pornography, a not-so-well defined term, has been a controversial topic for women
throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Even though adults may safely view pornographic material
because it is protected under the first amendment, that does not mean it is morally right. Many
view pornography as a form of hate speech, which means speech that offends, threatens, or
insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or
other traits (Debating Hate Speech). People however should not be denied all the rights
provided by the first amendment, but laws should be in place that discourage this kind of
behavior, but not completely punish it.
The Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA, was introduced to congress in 1923 to put
women in the U.S. Constitution (The Phyllis Shlafly Report). After being buried in Congress for

Antonia Torfs-Leibman
Red Group
decades, it resurfaced in 1971, right when the second wave feminism movement was happening.
One activist, Susan Brownmiller says in her book Against Our Will, that the ERA would correct
the past in which women had no choice but to let men be their lawful protectors, leaving to
them (men) not only the law but its enforcement (388). Earlier in her book, she discusses sexual
assault laws and the male superiority that was established in them at the time. Nearing the
victory of the battle to ratify the ERA, Phyllis Schlafly, lawyer and mother of six, started gaining
momentum too as the leader of the Anti-ERA movement. She saw feminists as women who were
pretending to be victims in order to pass unnecessary laws. Additionally, she viewed the ERA as
a set of laws that only would take away rights from women. This includes their traditional
exemption from the military draft and combat duty, a husbands obligation to support his wife
and family, and a widows right to government benefits (The Phyllis Shlafly Report). Schlafly
did not support women gaining minority rights because she, again, thought that as a way for
women to victimize themselves and tell the world she cannot succeed because society is unfair to
her. Both activists viewed equality in completely different ways, and therefore believed different
things, although ultimately they both just wanted what they thought was best for the female
population of America.
Affording women the legal protections of a minority group is not the same thing as
making the women the overall victim. Minority based legal protections are built on the grounds
of distributive justice, which require that society's benefits and burdens be distributed equitably
among its members and as a result of past discrimination and current imbalances, women are
being denied their fair share of benefits (Andre, Velasquez, and Mazur). What these rights will
do is enable women to have complete power over their own lives and achieve anything with the
same opportunities provided to men.

Antonia Torfs-Leibman
Red Group
Works Cited
"Debating Hate Speech." Student Central. Division for Public Education, n.d. Web. 3 May 2015.
<http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/initiatives_awards/students_in_action/deb
ate_hate.html>.
"The Phyllis Schlafly Report." Eagle Forum. Eagle Forum, n.d. Web. 26 May 2014.
<http://www.eagleforum.org/psr/1986/sept86/psrsep86.html>.
Sachs, Andrea. "Phyllis Schlafly at 84." Time. Time, n.d. Web. 26 May 2014.
<http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1889757,00.html>.
Schaefer, Richard T. "What Is a Minority Group." Race, Racism and Power. Vernellia R. Randall,
n.d. Web. 26 May 2014.