Archive for October, 2007

Feminism, flawed.

October 26, 2007

It’s been a month since my last update, and so I decided that one was due. I apologize for keeping any of you in suspense; I hope the delay has not caused you any undue hardship.

While watching a very interesting documentary in my sociology class, something struck me as pretty neat. During the study that was being conducted, a rather attractive blonde woman in her mid-twenties made a ditzy remark and smirked coyly. The conductor of the experiment turned toward her and sharply scolded her- something along the lines of “Forget cute. You’re a woman. If you want to go anywhere, you need to be determined and serious. You need to be hard working and respectable. Forget cute, because when you’re 45, you’ll be an old broad with nothing left.”

It took every ounce of my strength to not stand up, cheer, and give a solid fist-pump.

I had never heard this idea articulated quite so well, and I mentioned the point to my professor as something I really took a liking to. My reason for enjoying this statement so much was the way I saw it relating to feminism. This woman seemed to hit the nail on the head: if women want equality, we have to earn it. We can’t depend on being cute, beautiful, or sexy to get ahead. We only further the stereotypes. Equality has to be gained by merit and hard work. My professor gave me a little rebuttal, stating that feminism is merely the search for equality between men and women. While I totally agree with this concept, I feel that, in a myriad of occasions, it is women who aid in bringing discrimination upon themselves.

I personally have never really felt discriminated against due to my sex, and maybe this is why feminists are so hard for me to buy into (Although I do recognize that I owe the fact that I do not feel discriminated against to feminists of earlier eras). I feel like feminism has reached its goal in all the legal equalities that can be achieved, but I believe it is up to women to do the rest to grasp and maintain social equality.

Women willingly do so much to put ourselves at the mercy of social inequality. Take for example the women in music videos; think of their dress, the way they move, and the way they dance. She becomes nothing more than sex objects at the beckon call of whatever pop star wants to have her next.

And she’s okay with that.

Think of reality shows; think of the way women act on these programs- their serious betrayal to the other women on the show, their publicly exposed sleeping around. In these ways and more, women foster and promote gender inequality.

Now don’t get me wrong… I love shoes. I love dresses, curling my hair, and painting my nails. I enjoy wearing make up and jewelry, but I will be damned if I am not going to be taken seriously. I work hard in school; I hold good jobs into which I put a lot of effort. I refuse to call my girl friends “bitch” as a term of endearment. I dress in a dignified manner when the occasion calls for such dress. I respect myself, and I respect other women.

I think this idea of women making sure to respect one another was well-put in the movie “Mean Girls” (go figure). While lecturing the girls in the school about their behaviors, Ms. Norbury says, “You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.

If women want social equality, if we want to be seen as decent individuals, it is up to US to actively work for that change. We can’t go screaming and parading around on Capitol Hill, braless and refusing to shave. We can’t go to clubs wearing virtually nothing, dancing like strippers with any and every random guy that sticks his hand in our pants.

We can’t expect to to be treated in a dignified manner if we are not willing to treat ourselves and other women as such. We cannot expect to get a pay increase by running around, causing a ruckus while screaming at our congressmen. It’s not going to happen; don’t expect it to. We have to take matters into our own hands, and perhaps we can take some advice from our beloved Mahatma Gandhi:

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” (i.e. we can’t run around howling for change if we areĀ  not going to exemplify characteristics that warrant it)

You said it, big G. You said it indeed.

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