A young Helen Reddy is 17 years old and looking for a job. She glances at the job listings with the hope that she'll be able to land any one of these jobs. But the listings are different than what contemporary job seekers are used to. That's because the listings for men and women are separated.

To make matters worse, it's 1958, 4 years after Brown v. Board of Education said, "separate is inherently unequal." Flash-forward to 1972 where an inspired Helen Reddy writes "I am Woman." The Second Wave Feminists are burning their bras and fighting for an Equal Rights Amendment.

Flash-forward to today where more and more women are competing for jobs with men and are keeping their bras on and away from fire. But these feminists were doing something that Americans do not see much of today- they were empowering themselves, even when they were told that they were subordinate to men. Believe it or not, women are still being told that they are subordinate to men. This is a problem.   

The problem floats in the air, it lingers in the hallways, it is the fattest elephant in the room.) For a long time it passed itself as "the problem without a name." In the advent of Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan says, "the problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women."

Of course, Americans would like to think that the problem has been nipped in the bud. People would like to assume that what Friedan once described as "the strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction" in women has long since died, but it hasn't and women need more than ever to be feminists.

Contrary to the patterns of progress, the 1950s and today are not very different. In the 50s women were told they would find fulfillment as wives and mothers. So they did as they were taught and devoted their lives in pursuit of a husband and a family to care for.

To reflect the growing emphasis on the "man-hunt," manufacturers put out bras with false bosoms of foam rubbers for little girls as young as ten years of age. In the fall of 1960 the NY Times printed an advertisement that read, "She Too Can Join The Man Trap Set!" beside a picture of a child's dress. How is this any different from what magazines and billboards tell women and young girls now?

While society does not go as far to say that the only way women can seek fulfillment is by being in a relationship, what can be more misleading than countless numbers of magazines telling you how to be in one? Better yet, what can be more detrimental to women and young girls than to be told time and time again that they are not good enough?.

In effect, women are being told that they are not adequate, transacting the notion that they just might not be equal to men either (Feminism is defined as the movement for political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. However, political, economic, and social equality of the sexes is only conducive when females believe that they are equal to their male counterparts. Once mass media interrupts how women think by forcing them to think superficially, then every attempt at attaining equality will be artificial).

Today, women are just as debilitated by these misconceptions as women of the 1950s. While women then were promised happiness and fulfillment in a marriage, women today are guaranteed happiness and fulfillment in a fling with a great looking guy and a stellar pair of Gladiator shoes. Nothing has really changed. The media is broadcasting a story that history knows all too well; a story in which magazines and commercials and t.v. shows define what happiness is and what it is not.

What women need to know is that the feminist fight still surges because it has to. The problem that once had gone undetected still lurks in the kook and cranny of the working world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a women's labor force participation in 1950 that once read 33.9 percent has mounted to 59.8 percentage in 1998. More women are joining the labor force. Whilst it is exciting for the feminist to see a larger influx of women competing for the same jobs as men, the glass ceiling still exists. The glass ceiling refers to situations in which the progress of a certain individual is deferred because of some kind of discrimination. According to data from the Business Management Suite website, just that is happening. Female managers tend to be concentrated in lower management positions. Also, when deciding who to promote in the organizations, women are often not considered. What's more is that women who are full-time wage and salary workers earn $638 or 80% of men's $798. That's not equality. This is something that cannot go unrecognized by women today.

Keep in mind, "America is a sexist country," says singer songwriter Helen Reddy. America is obsessed with defining who is inferior and who is superior. When any kind of discrimination interferes with a person's potential, whether it be discrimination based on gender or race, people have to speak up. Or will women allow America to define them based on their sex instead of the content of their mind?

What's scarier is that men do not have to use derogatory words like "bitch" and "slut" anymore. Women already are doing a good job at exploiting themselves without the help of men. American culture is planting the seeds in women's minds that using "bitch" or "slut" or fine, cute even. As an added bonus, women are told that their "money-makers" are their rear ends. Since when is it o.k. for a woman to be proud that shaking her "money-maker" meant shaking her behind? Have you ever thought of shaking your mind instead? Isn't that the "money-maker" to be proud of?

If only this generation would do something about women's rights. But what women need is the confidence to do so. Gloria Steinem once wrote, "wherever I traveled, I saw women who were smart, courageous and valuable, who didn't think they were smart, courageous and valuable." Once every woman can, with an undying fervent passion, say, "I am Woman, Hear Me Roar!" there may be hope for females yet.

In Feminine Mystique, when a housewife was asked how she felt when overcome with this problem that had no name she said, "I feel as if I don't exist."

So, do all that you can and exist!

In Feminine Mystique, when a housewife was asked how she felt when overcome with this problem that had no name she said, "I feel as if I don't exist."

So, do all that you can and exist!