During my time at Laurier, I was exposed to a wide variety of classes regarding Gender studies. Looking back, it is one of the topics that I feel the most experienced writing about. I have examined gender equality via the media (television, newspapers, magazines, films, music). The representation of women and men in the mainstream media can influence our representation of ourselves, and the way in which we view others. These portrayals can be extremely damaging to current efforts of equality amongst the sexes.
While I have always been interested in this topic, recent activity on social media has sparked my need to comment on feminism.
As many of you have shared on my news feeds, Emma Watson recently gave an inspiring speech to the UN on feminism. Watson commented on the uneasiness that men and women have with the word feminist. For me, Watson hit the nail on the head. I have had many people close to me say that they are not a feminist. It is something that people often feel is a dead movement that is widely exaggerated. Too often I have heard that gender inequality simply does not exist anymore.
This is incorrect.
I have also heard that feminists are too extreme and are man haters. This is a wide generalization. It too is incorrect.
If you have not watched Emma Watson’s speech I highly recommend you do so now.
Women hesitate to call themselves feminists because they do not want to be lumped into an agenda with a bad reputation. Men might feel that the word is not inclusive of their own gender concerns. Watson’s solution is the movement #HeforShe.
I fully support this movement because I feel that gender inequality affects everyone on a daily basis.
What drives me the most, is the negative opinions of the people who are maintaining cultural hegemony (the domination of the ruling class who manipulates the culture in society). This dominant ideology is used to justify sexist and racist behaviour as the norm.
Anyone who has said, “I’m not a feminist but…” might need some more clarity into what the word means. If you believe that everyone should have equal rights, you are a feminist.
So when someone such as, @MaximumTrent expresses disgust for feminists on Twitter, I feel driven to speak out.
@MaximumTrent puts “will only date Women Against Feminism” in his Twitter Bio. Maybe he should relocate to another community where he might fit in better such as “http://www.menarebetterthanwomen.com” It’s a thrilling read I assure you folks. Best of luck to you finding your anti-girl girl.
“But that’s none of my business though”.
We need the conversation on feminism and he for she to grow to prevent people such as @MaximumTrent from influencing and maintaining the status quo.
For those who do not think gender inequality does not hit close to home, look again.
Maybe you have heard the classic, “Go make me a sandwich” joke. It was pretty popular at Banting.
Or, other jokes such as, “women’s feet are made smaller so that they can stand closer to the stove” Charming.
Or how about the fact that after Emma Watson’s inspiring speech, she was threatened that nude photographs would be published of her if she did not shut her mouth (nude photos that did not exist).
So now the word feminism does not only constitute an eye roll, but also is responded to with dangerous threats?
Something has to change.
It hits close to home when women I know are paid less than their male counterparts for the same work.
It also hits close to home when my professor tells us that a girl is asking to get raped when she dresses like a slut (whether provoking us or not).
I think more can be said on this issue at a later date.
But for now, as Emma Watson spoke, stay focused on the meaning of the word feminism. Feminists come in all shapes and forms.
Thank you Gloria Steinem, Judith Butler, bell hooks etc. for not leaving me in the dark.
Kailey Klempner, BA