- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 19 November 2014
By an official dictionary definition feminism is the belief that both women, and men, should have equal rights and opportunities. In America, women's fight for equality has been long and hard, but I'd have to say we are almost there.
I understand that there is still a wage inequality gap, and for that I condone women who keep fighting for that equality. There is no reason for women to not make equal pay to men, when they are doing the same exact job and working the same hours.
But when it comes to any other issue on the equality of sexes, we as American women have no argument. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, women make up half the workforce and are considered breadwinners in four out of ten families. Not only are most women raising families and working full time jobs, but more women in America receive college degrees than men.
Granted, America is not yet perfect on the issue of equality. People argue that there are not enough women CEO's or women in Congress. Ascending to these high level positions takes a lot of time and experience. In due time, when the numerous amount of women with college degrees start to move up the ranks there will be a definite switch.
One of my marketing and international business professors, Susan Gupta, mentioned how only 20 or 30 years ago it was unheard of that she was going to succeed in business. Now, her class is equally split in gender. As leadership roles switch to younger minded people, equality opens up. It does take time.
But when I see a woman in the Middle East put to death because she refused to marry a man three times her age, I refuse to stand with the women fighting in America because they feel they are treated unfairly or because it has just recently become a trendy topic.
Yes, there are instances of inequality, but it could be so much worse. We, as American women, do not go to sleep scared every night that we may be faced with some instance of abuse the next day simply because I am a woman.
Recently on the Internet, a woman posted a video of herself walking through New York City in a tight black t-shirt and a pair of jeans. People said nothing disrespectful but complimented her the whole time and she called it an argument for feminism. I wonder what the women who are beaten if they chose to leave the house in anything but a burka would say about that video.
Around the world, that is where the true argue for feminism lies. Americans are so privileged and sometimes forget how big the world is. We are awarded so many freedoms on a daily basis it can be easy to forget how large the injustices that happen to women around the world are.
Were you aware that in India and China parents take action if they are not going to give birth to a boy? Yes, parents will end a pregnancy early if they find out they are going to have a girl over a boy. And if they discover too late that they are having a girl, they simply kill the girl upon her birth. How's that for gender inequality?
In some countries it is impossible for women to divorce. If a woman is stuck in a loveless or abusive relationship it could take her an eternity to be seen before a judge, and even if she is granted a divorce she is not granted any type of financial support and the husband is usually granted custody of the children. And if that isn't enough once they do divorce most woman are deemed worthless often never marrying again.
So Shailene Woodley, a young female actress who recently claimed she was not a feminist because she did not want to hate men, are you still against being a feminist?
I have also heard that woman are unpleased with the media because they sexualize women in American. News anchors may have shorter skirts, or lower cut shirts that are "demeaning". I didn't realize showing off the beautiful female figure was so hurtful.
In India, Semi Rao's husband threw acid on her because he was angered at how beautiful she was and how many people admired her for her beauty. The government did not take action against this husband; in fact acid throwing in India is a common practice.
According to Huffington Post, over 1,000 cases are reported every year. These attacks either result in death or extreme disfiguration most times women cannot afford to have fixed. Yet it is considered inequality in this country to celebrate the female figure...right.
The last, and probably most extreme form of gender inequality is the genital mutilation that is still prevalent around the world. The name says it all, and it is no exaggeration of what is actually done to girls throughout Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia. I read stories about this unfathomable event, something beyond an American woman's wildest nightmares, and yet it is known as a "common practice" in some countries.
Equalitynow.org reports that between 100 and 140 million girls and women have under gone this form of abuse. And I'm expected to hashtag feminism because it's "trendy?" I'm sorry, I'll send my efforts elsewhere.
Yes, feminism is one of the most important words in the English language today. But it is not as important for American woman as it is for all the innocent women around the world who have never even seen a classroom. We American girls should use the equality we have been blessed with in America to help our less fortunate sisters in the world.
Feminism is not a trend for women to just hop on the band wagon with, it is a real issue globally. It is time to stop blindly spewing facts about this issue and start taking real action to help others.