A new form of a feminist is emerging in society today. It is a person of any gender and any age.
Webster’s dictionary defines feminism as the theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. But there really is no true definition of feminism, because feminism can mean different things to different people.
Senior Emily Day considers herself a “die hard” feminist. Day’s definition of feminism is socioeconomic, social, political, and economic equality of the sexes, basically equality of the sexes in every aspect of life.
Although Day is young, she feels very strongly about the topic. Her views have been influenced by the way that history has portrayed women as submissive and remissive. Day said, “It’s sad to see that men have taken advantage of women.”
Throughout history women have been portrayed as the lesser of the two genders, and because of this they have had to fight for their rights and have faced adversity to get to where they are today. Although today, women still face discrimination.
Social Studies department head Ms. Paula O’Brien said “I think it’s important for women to understand that they are a minority, and that they don’t have equal status of a man.”
According to a study done by Women Deliver, women make 78 cents to every dollar that a man makes in the United States. Women hold only 18 percent of the seats in congress. In lesser developed countries women have it even worse. 64 percent of illiterate adults in the world are women. Everyday, 39,000 girls are forced into early marriage, violating their fundamental human rights. These are just a few of the many shocking statistics about gender inequality.
No matter a person’s age, there are issues of gender equality that can relate to everybody. Day said that some issues that upset her are, “that women have been killed for rejecting dates, that women are getting paid less, they are portrayed as being frail, or if women shows power they are portrayed as savage.”
Ms. O’Brien, said her definition of feminism is, “looking at the world through a female perspective, with the understanding that our political, social, and economic perspectives are seen and interpreted through the eyes of a man.”
There are many misconceptions in society today on what a feminist is. Day said, “It’s not about hating men, it’s completely the opposite.”
Many people assume the feminist movement promotes female dominance, when it really only promotes men and women working together to achieve mutual equality in various spheres of life.
Recently there has been a shift in thinking. The idea of what a feminist is is evolving. In the past, there have been negative connotations that have been connected to feminists. Today, although there has been a change, it is still hard for others to let go of stereotypes that are associated with feminists.
Ms. O’Brien had a similar opinion on the idea of labeling someone a feminist. “I don’t like labels, but I feel strongly that there is a differing perspective on everyday life, since females are a minority. Others will interpret labels how they want.”
The issue of gender inequality is still very relevant in society today. Recently at the 2015 Grammy Awards, some interviewers made sexist comments to Taylor Swift. When incidents like these happen, it shows how people are still ignorant to the idea of gender equality in this day and age.
In the interviewer, the male interviewer said, “You’re gonna walk home with maybe a lot more than just a trophy tonight, I think lots of men,” and Taylor Swift responded with, “I’m not gonna walk home with any men tonight, I’m gonna go hang out with my friends.”
The interviewer implies that an independent woman who is a seven time Grammy award winner would need a man to go home with. The interviewer also is implying that it would be more of an achievement for Taylor to walk home with a man rather than an award. This shows that some people are still stuck in traditional viewpoints and make no effort to change the way that society views a woman.
While some people are still ignorant to the cause, there are others who are bringing awareness to the cause. Successful actress Emma Watson is the spokesperson for the He for She campaign which is a movement for gender equality that brings together both men and women to fight for equality.
The campaign brings awareness to these kinds of issues in society today. It educates people on the issues and influences people to take a stance and stand up for human rights.
Senior Paula Rivera, said that The He for She campaign has influenced her views on feminism. Rivera said, “Emma Watson does a good job of explaining the issues because so many people have a misconception about feminism and Emma Watson brings the topic more down to earth.”
When Emma Watson speaks about the campaign, she doesn’t set unrealistic standards and unrealistics goals of what society needs to do to fix the problem. She puts the issues into perspective so that men and women of all ages can understand and relate. For example, Watson said “for women, its about feeling comfortable about admitting that there’s a problem.”
A lot of the gender inequality that women face today stems from the gender roles that history has made commonplace. Day said “I wanted to play football when I was younger, but my parents said ‘No. girls don’t play football’.”
Rivera, Day, and Ms. O’Brien are all in agreement that the only way that people can make a change is to educate themselves.
“You can’t force anyone to adopt ideas, and you can’t expect everyone else to have the answers,” said Day. She believes that the only thing you can do to improve things is to “educate yourself.”
Rivera agrees that education is important, but notes, “I think spreading awareness will help address the problems.”
Ms. O’Brien also believes that education is very important. “We can do a lot to educate, but more needs to be addressed by family and other cultural institutions. It’s hard for one person to change the social norms,” said Ms. O’Brien.