FemiNEED

 FemiNEED: The need for feminism is real!

“Whoa, whoa, whoa— so what is all of this?!”

This is my new experiment. For the past eight months I’ve been educating myself about a problem our society has had for hundreds of years. A problem a lot of us consider to be fixed, but affects every single member of our population every day. So I’ve decided to dedicate a page of this blog to the awareness of this problem, in hopes that it will educate and inspire my readers to make a positive change in the world. This page reflects some of my personal views on this problem, so don’t think I’m trying to preach the gospel–take what you want from it. Even if you don’t like what it has to say or don’t agree, at least it made you think about something you may not have considered before.

What is Gender Inequality?

http://www.academia.edu defines gender inequality as, “differences in the status, power and prestige women and men have ingroups, collectivities and societies. Gender inequality is caused when women have less power than men. While culturally and historically-bound, gender commonly is a function of power relations and the social organizations of inequality. Another point about gender is that class and ethnicity, gender inequality is not one homogeneous phenomenon, but a collection of disparateand interlinked problems. Inequality men and women can take many different forms.” (here’s the official link: http://www.academia.edu/663453/Dimensions_of_gender_inequality_and_Its_impact_on_society ) But before we get all wrapped up in the social injustice of our culture, let’s consider: What does gender really mean?

Gender is the cultural assignment given to you at birth. If you are male, you are assigned masculine traits (ex. strength, assertiveness, aggression, leadership) whether or not you actually possess these traits. If you are female, you are assigned feminine traits (ex. gentleness, a nurturing disposition, passiveness, fragility) whether or not you actually possess these traits. These assignments affect your life from the moment you are born, and sometimes before. Think about it: when a couple is pregnant and discovers the sex of the baby they begin to pick out clothes and toys based on the baby’s gender. At the baby shower, it’s usually a common theme of pink or blue. When the baby is born, it is either dressed is bows and ruffles or stripes and solids. When the baby gets older, it either plays with dolls or trucks. As soon as we are given a gender assignment, certain aspects of our lives are decided for us, which is why homosexual and transgender people can cause such a stir–they go against our society’s assignment. Parents can become confused or disappointed when their daughter does not want to go shopping for prom dresses and their son has no interest in sports. And it can be truly sad, because all every kid wants is to be loved and admired by their parents, no matter who they are. 

So how does this tie in with Feminism?

“Feminism strives to end the discrimination, exploitation, and oppression of people due to their gender, sexual orientation, race, class, and other differences and supports people in being free to determine their own lives for themselves.

It supports us in questioning what we’ve been taught about forcing people into traditional roles and valuing some groups less than others.” —Sandra Kim, founder & editor of everydayfeminism.com

Notice how Sandra Kim says “people” instead of “women”. One of the most common misconceptions about feminism is that it is just about the benefit of women. On the contrary, Feminism is movement that advocates equality. It’s not about saying women are better than men at all, it’s about treating everyone like equal human beings. It’s true that a big part of Feminism deals with fighting the social injustice in our society against women, but we fight this for the interests of all people, not just women. And as much as women are oppressed into our “feminine” gender role, men also feel pressure to be “masculine”. 

But Feminism also encompasses so much more than gender inequality, although that’s a big one. It tackles all the issues brought on by gender inequality like violence against women, the struggle of minority women (Minority being race, religion, and class), the beauty industry and self-love, the coverage and support of women athletics, LQBTQ prejudice,  women in politics and corporate positions (as well as many other “untraditional” careers for women), sexual objectification,  women’s health and reproductive rights, etc. Feminists can be parents, students, leaders, doctors, congresspeople. A feminist can be a stay-at-home mom or a CEO. A feminist can be straight or homosexual. A feminist can be a woman or a man. Anyone can be a feminist. And even if you choose not to identify yourself as a feminist, which is a personal choice, most people do find that they share some of the popular beliefs. It’s not all black and white; not all feminists have the same points of view or ideas AND THAT’S OKAY. 

A Note to The Men-folk:

If you are feeling uncomfortable so far, that’s actually pretty normal. That’s what society has probably taught you—that feminism is a “woman thing”, and so it’s none of your concern. And if you read this page and still are convinced of that, I’m not going to judge you. But before you exit I’d like to give you a few scenarios and/or ask some questions:

  • When you were a kid, were you ever made fun of for liking something “girly”? Like wearing something pink or purple, maybe watching Snow White or Beauty and The Beast? Did you ever face ridicule for being bad at sports, not knowing how to fix a car, for liking to cook or shop, maybe not sharing an interest in a “masculine” activity like camping, hunting, sports, video games,  etc.?
  • When/If you have a daughter, will you be worried about how guys will treat her? 
  • If someone like your mother, grandmother, or sister told you she had been raped, how would you feel? Would you blame it on them for wearing provocative clothes or staying out late? If your best friend told you they had raped someone, how would you feel? 
  • If you overheard a man say he has slept with fifteen women, how would you react? Would you react differently if it was a woman saying she had slept with fifteen men? Do you think women are held accountable for their sexual history and men are cut slack for it?
  • If you heard that an associate got someone pregnant and decided not to be involved in the pregnancy/child’s life, what would you think of them? Now, if you heard this associate would be taking care of the child because the mother did not want to be involved, what would you think of the mother?
  • How do you feel about the fact that the US economy would produce $447.6 billion more dollars if women received equal pay to men?

Just some thoughts to consider before you tell make any decisions about what being a feminist means to you.

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So as you can see from the pictures above, there are a lot of issues related to feminism! Maybe some of it sounds familiar, and some of it you’ve never heard of—either way, I’m here to dive into some basic issues that have an impact on feminism. Whether or not you agree or disagree with them, I think it’s important that citizens become aware of what is going on in our society, so please read on!

What is “rape culture”?

Let’s talk about the beauty industry & Body Love…

The famous double-standard: Virginity, Slut-Shaming, etc. 

Screw thigh gap! What about the Wage Gap?

Reproductive Rights! Birth control!

There’s a lot of information out there about these topics and a lot of opinions, so I definitely encourage you to do a bit of your own research if you’d like to figure out exactly where you stand. Within the realm of feminism there are many subgroups with their own ideas about how to look at/fix these issues in our society. This page is my own personal collection of information I find interesting or helpful, as well as fun encouragements and tips on how to promote equality in your own day-to-day life. I hope you enjoy it, and would appreciate any feedback or advice! 🙂

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