The Other “F” Word
Four students on the Uproar staff tackle the controversial topic of feminism
May 31, 2019
photo by Autumn BC
The Startling Misconceptions of a Feminist
What comes to your mind when you think of a feminist. What do you picture? A woman in baggy clothes, unshaven legs, with short hair? A powerful CEO in a pantsuit and loafers? What about an average looking woman in jeans and a sweatshirt? How about a man? All these people and more can be a feminist. Looks — and even gender — don’t define feminism.
First and foremost, feminists are not all the same — although feminism links feminists intrinsically, separate morals, personalities, and standards differ from person to person, just as they do in everyone else. Feminists can also be men, which some people find shocking. Many people believe that the central idea of feminism is to be or act superior to men. This is not the case, however, as feminism simply holds the basic idea that women are equal to men.
The basis of feminism is that women want to be treated with the same respect and equality that men have, not to suppress men and gain hierarchy over them. Although the misconception that women want to be superior to men is prevalent in the “war on feminism,” it is completely not true.
Violence Against Women
While fighting for our rights to proper pay and an equal work environment, feminists also fight for the safety and well-being of women. Violence against women is and has been a major public health problem in our society for hundreds of years. Sexual violence and intimate partner violence particularly are violations of women’s human rights.
According to the WHO, global estimates indicate that about 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.
It’s a constant fear of which all women are reminded. Growing up, women are taught not to walk home in the dark or wear “certain types” of clothing. We are told these things so that we don’t attract attention to ourselves, so that we don’t end up “asking” for it, as they would say. Sexual violence is such a problem in today’s society, and only recently have women started speaking up and telling their stories.
The recently emerged Me Too movement aims to stop sexual harassment and sexual assault, especially in the work field. Women from all over the world have used the hashtag #MeToo in order to share their personal experiences with sexual violence. With this movement, participants hope that as a society, we change our outlook on women and stop the brutality.
photo by Autumn BC
Women in the Workplace
When considering the roles of women in the workforce compared to men, some would say that the workplace is fairly equal now. However, there are many statistics that prove that this is a seriously flawed statement.
When looking at the average median salary between men and women, men make about $946 dollars a week, while women only make $769. These numbers are drastically different, despite women making up 54.6% of the workforce — more than half. Women of color suffer from the wage gap more; for every white male dollar, a black woman makes $0.61, and a Latina woman makes $0.53.
Is this drastic difference due to the fact that, when hiring, many see men to have a rightful place at the top due to traditionally masculine traits and institutionalized racism? Because they are physically bigger, look more intimidating, and are believed to be able to take more stress and make better decisions than women? Ultimately, men benefit unfairly from our culture’s ideals.
photo by Autumn BC
We Need A Change
An expectation of society is to continue to develop as times change. But what we see here is a prime example that this is simply not happening to an acceptable degree. Our growth shows mostly in technological advances and means of transportation, yet we completely dismiss the blatant discrimination against women that is faced in so many ways each and every day.
Imagine waking up every morning concerned with the way you dress, how you will be treated at work, your wage compared to men’s — not to mention the lack of safety on the way. The possibilities of fear and disrespect women feel continually are disgusting, and they need to be changed immediately. Why is it that when a man has an issue, it is dealt with privately and efficiently, but when women have experienced discrimination for decades and continue to live with these disadvantages, it is swept under the rug and not sincerely discussed?
As a society, there are many positive steps we can begin and continue to take in order to better improve the quality of life for women. But for us to move forward, it will take effort from all genders — not just the work of feminists.