You must think, “this girl took one Gender Studies class and suddenly thinks she knows it all.” Actually, it was two classes, thank you very much. But the truth is, I don’t know it all. What I do know is that feminism comes with a bad name. I used to be one of the many people who believe that a feminist appears almost man-like but is rather a man-hater. She is against all the fairytales you grew up reading and she refuses to let a man open a door for her. And when he tries to pull out a chair for you to sit in, well that behavior cannot be tolerated at all!
The media misguides us to believe that feminism is a joke. They tell tales of females that are notably masculine in manner or appearance. They want us to believe that this should not be a movement. They want us to think that the problem has been resolved. They want us to hide in the nearest cupboard when the term is floating through the air. “You’re a feminist? Oh okay. I have to go…um…change my underwear. Yeah. Okay. Bye.”
I have to admit that I am not a fan of the term ‘feminism’. It tends to give the wrong impression of women trying to take over the world and ultimately defeat men. Truth: We don’t hate men and we don’t look like men. Feminism simply means equality. Seriously, that’s it. It includes both men and women who just want to be equal to one another. Do you support gender equality? Newsflash: You’re a feminist.
The problem is that with fewer and fewer individuals wanting to identify themselves as feminists because of shame, embarrassment, or lack of knowledge, most don’t even know that this problem exists. It’s true, women have come a long way from back in the old days. However, we have not made it all the way. There are still parts of the world where women are treated like property. But that’s not what I’m going to talk about. I’m going to talk about the little instances that you don’t notice or think twice about in your everyday life.
When I was in high school, I had limitations on the clothing that I could wear. Obviously I was not planning on going to school in my underwear but I could not wear clothing that revealed my shoulders and skirts and shorts had to be mid-length. Why? Because it was too distracting. Did I listen to these rules? No. Did that mean that there were many instances that I had to run the opposite direction from the terrifying woman with a walkie-talkie in her hand who was also known as my vice principal? Yes, yes it did. Here’s my view on it: I break rules only when I see no point in them being there in the first place. Why can’t I wear an off-the-shoulder top to school? My boobs are not hanging out and I am not being too revealing. Why do I have to cover myself up so that I do not distract any men? I went to a public school for God’s sake!
Why is it that girls are taught that they are always the problem? Why should we be the ones who are careful about our appearances, leaving our drinks at the table or walking alone at night? Why is it that we are made to look responsible for being harassed at a bar due to our little black dress? This is not okay and this is not something we should learn to accept because “that’s just the way things are”. I believe in the power of knowledge and the more people that know about this issue and fight for it, the bigger the shot we have for making a change.
I do believe that one voice can make a change but only if it is strong and knowledgeable enough to speak to a wide audience and make them believe that together, we can make a difference.