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The Feminist Machine

Feminist MachineWhat is the biggest threat to feminism today?

“Complacency,” said Claude Taylor. Professor of communication and Advisor-In Residence for Academic Transition and Inclusion.  Some course topics of his include race, class, underrepresentation in the media, and gender inequality. 

The ever-shifting political landscape today has erupted with numerous advocacy movements; Black Lives Matter protests, the rise of veganism, climate change supporters, and hundreds more.  However, there is one movement that is stronger than ever before: feminism. 

Like a mighty locomotive, the supporters gather in swarms; singing alongside a choir of hundreds of voices, adorning clever slogans on T-shirts, and parading together throughout the nation.  You would think an army was invading your city. Despite the sheer number of women (and men), why should we focus on this movement now more than ever?

Dr. Corey Lee Wrenn, Director for the Gender Studies club, and published author, answered, “[Feminism is] the notion that everyone should have equal opportunity regardless of gender identification.  People should support feminism because equality is linked to better individual health as well as social stability and prosperity.”

“The core of gender equality needs to be stressed,” Taylor affirmed.  “As a male feminist, as an ally, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully understand the issue.  Practicing empathy is vital to understand.”

“Modern feminists today are fighting for access, inclusion, and recognition; not visually recognized, but being heard as a member of a culture,” she continued.

Now, more than ever, the need for feminism is lively.  The political whirlwind has inspired much controversy and activism. U.S. President Donald Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct 19 times.  Simultaneously, Ivanka Trump has been vocal about certain feminist issues. In a climate like today’s society should constantly be aware.

“The women’s march last year was the biggest protest in American history and the huge turnout this year (in tandem with the #MeToo campaign) demonstrates that this is a sustained protest and women are ready for a revolution,” said Wrenn.

“I think the Trump administration is interesting because they’ve had a backlash to feminist thinking,” said Taylor.  “This first year, has had major pushback.”

Simultaneously, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy passed an executive order requiring equal pay for women in the workplace.  Whether we see tangible legislation, is up for debate.

“Equal pay is very difficult to legislate,” said Wrenn.  “Stating on the books that women and men should make the same amount for the same job is a no-brainer and an important first step, but the problem begins with socialization and is complicated by institutional discrimination.  Equal pay isn’t the problem so much as is the deep undercurrent of American misogyny.”

Jane Lai, President of the Sexuality, Pride, Education, Community, Truth, Respect, and Unity (S.P.E.C.T.R.U.M. ) club, explains a few ways to participate in feminism.

“We explain this concept through show, not tell.  As a club, we are not a class lecture. We actually place the ideas learned in class into action, and create fun, activist-driven events that represent a variety of marginalized groups without leaving anyone out.”

Lai explained that even if you choose to raise money for girls’ education, attend a lecture on trans activism, or even listen to a friend who going through sexual assault, you are taking part in feminism.

Feminists advocate and educate in hopes of changing areas where redress is needed; gender equality, sexual misconduct and assault, maintaining reproductive rights, intersectionality cases, and even maternal leaves. 

To understand the spectacle of millions of women marching in harmony, and the strife they face from adversaries and legislatures, we must examine the number of valid claims presented.  Celebrities, such as Jennifer Lawrence, Beyoncé Knowles, John Legend, and plenty more have endorsed this movement. 

The Feminist Machine; persistent, expanding, efficient, influential, and compassionate.  A mechanism that is as cohesive, driven, patient and yet, so restless, as this one, should not be trifled with. 

Unifying authors, doctors, bloggers, professors, government officials, scientists, celebrities, and average people, the Machine charges full speed ahead, like a locomotive, into revolution.  All aboard.

IMAGE COMPILED by Matt Aquino