Opinion: Modern feminism destroys American societal values

An analytical look at woke feminism through a cinematic lens.


Fred Murphy / Codepink.com / CC BY-SA 4.0

Modern feminists have taken to streets to fight for their rights, but Americans question whether they are on the right track.

Modern “woke” feminism, despite claiming to fight for the betterment of the female gender, is a destructive movement that has strayed away from the original motives of feminism. It has become a media-hype term that nobody understands, and everyone ardently supports.

International Women’s Day March in London, 2017. (International Women’s Day / Garry Knight / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0)

As all movements do, feminism has evolved greatly since its beginning in the late nineteenth century. First-wave feminism had a fairly simple goal: recognizing women as humans as opposed to property. Second-wave feminism challenged the role of women in society, and third-wave feminism symbolized the importance of individuality and autonomy. 

Over the years, the definition of a feminist has changed. An early feminist may have been a woman who was able to instill good values in her children; a twentieth-century feminist was one who could balance her academic and career goals with her family life.

A modern feminist, however, is often portrayed by the media as a powerful, unmarried woman in high heels and a skin-tight pantsuit who is able to effortlessly climb the ranks in a man’s world and take their place in the workplace as well as society in general, even if that means putting everyone else in the back seat.

Modern feminism influences women to constantly fight against the allegedly suppressive patriarchy that has haunted them since the beginning of time instead of inspiring women to become happy individuals who benefit future generations over seeking revenge for the mistreatment of past ages.

Since the beginning of this century, women have been out to reform male-dominated industries, especially the entertainment industry. One would think that new feminist films are taking the field by storm.

Modern feminist remakes of classic American movies prove that people are unhappy with the woke feminist mentality. (Jasneh Sasan)

Movie ratings would say otherwise. The 2019 remake of “Batwoman” has a solid IMDb rating of 3.4 stars out of 10. “Wonder Woman 1984,” the recreation of the original “Wonder Woman,” has a Google rating of 2.5 of 5 stars. “Mulan (2020)” has an astounding 2.8 stars, and the infamous “Charlie’s Angels remake has 4.9 stars out of 10. All these films performed terribly, despite the originals being American blockbusters.

A lot of feminist directors have taken to remaking classics to fit the modern feminist mindset. An example of this is the remake of “Mulan” in 2020.

Apart from the cultural appropriation and mediocre plot, the new “Mulan” film was a perfect example of the flaws of woke feminism.

Compared to the original movies, the remake falls short. The original has everything: a wonderful soundtrack, relatable characters, and most importantly, a very human main character with impeccable character growth. Fa Mulan is a teenage girl in sixth-century mainland China who disguises herself as a man in the imperial army to protect her elderly father from being enlisted. 

Mulan starts out as a failure, possessing all the spark and willpower, but none of the talent needed to be a successful man in the army. With the help of her horse, pet cricket, and hilarious side-kick dragon, Mulan works hard to become the best soldier and bring honor to her family. As she grows as a character, the audience becomes more emotionally involved with the movie and feels immensely proud when she achieves her goals.

Not only does Mulan appear to be humanly imperfect and relatable, but she also respects the people around her. Mulan, despite proving her superiors wrong, still respects them. She doesn’t let her pride get in the way of saving China, even after being dishonored by the men of her army. When she proves everyone wrong, she doesn’t become haughty or entitled, she becomes humbled by her achievements. By doing so, she becomes the bigger person. 

The new movie is belittling to the original franchise and has proven to be a great failure. It dehumanizes Mulan by turning her into an all-powerful heroine who has been born with great powers. The audience completely misses out on character growth, as Mulan doesn’t need to train to be better than the males around her. Additionally, the audience doesn’t see a friendly camaraderie between Mulan and her army peers; in fact, she leaves them to play a hero in a battle she logistically has no chance of winning. The entire remake is centered around the idea of the perfect heroine against society. Nothing about the film is remotely relatable or inspiring to viewers.

The remakes for “Batwoman” and “Wonder Woman” have suffered the same fates. The once inspirational tales of the female characters have turned into plotless, woke digs at men. The characters that once showed the importance of hard work and perseverance have turned into arrogant, entitled, unrelatable showpieces that have left a bitter taste in viewers’ mouths.

Elizabeth Banks’ “Charlie’s Angels” is another example of woke feminism’s impact on modern entertainment. Unlike most action films, “Charlie’s Angels” lacks a prominent plot structure, any character development and fails to provide the audience with an incentive to continue watching. The three female leads are extremely self-centered and entitled. They don’t fight for a higher cause; instead, the entire movie is centered around the idea that these women are underestimated by society and are out to seek revenge. 

Feminism was never meant to be a vengeful movement; it was supposed to seek peace and equality. Today, it’s telling women that they are born without flaws, that they don’t need to listen to criticism, they don’t need to change who they are for the world around them. 

All the latest feminist movies have one common denominator: they seek to belittle men, whether it be subtly by portraying them as unable to compete with women or more prominently by displaying scripted retorts directed at males.

In fact, this mentality of depreciating men has made its way from movies into real life. 

Lilly Singh, a Canadian YouTuber, got her rise to fame by creating humorous videos about the struggles of being a child in a South Asian household. Her popularity in the U.S. quickly rose because of her charisma, witty humor, and her undeniably inspirational work ethic. 

As she grew out of the YouTube bubble, Singh took to Late Night TV. Surprisingly, her followers were dropping like flies. The once relatable comedian had turned into a cringe-worthy person. Her comedic style had changed for the worse after being influenced by the woke feminist mentality that was making its way around her industry.

Singh’s jokes were centered around making fun of white, straight males and men in general. While people were happy to see a minority woman on an international stage, fans soon got uncomfortable when she belittled anyone who didn’t belong to an LGBTQ+, female, or minority community. Her shows weren’t about her audience anymore; they were about her. 

Worst of all, even while Singh’s career was dropping rapidly, she was unable to take criticism from her fans and wrote all their feedback off as hate.

Even though feminism was meant to help and empower women, it has instilled a toxic attitude in young women today. Not only does it show women that they don’t need to listen to feedback or advice, but it also teaches them to hate men. Modern feminism has turned women into the very qualities they hate in men: egoistic and entitled.

Women today don’t realize that a man doesn’t have to step down for a woman to climb up. So why do women keep pulling men down? Feminism was never about female power; it was about gender equality and mutual respect. 

Whether intentionally or not, people are being affected by what they see on TV, and it’s seeping into real life. Women should not be looking to the new Mulan, Charlie’s Angels, or  Batwoman for inspiration. Real feminists are women who work hard to meet their goals, can take feedback regardless of who it comes from, and fight their battles without villainizing men.