The Northern Light

Who runs the world?

The ins and outs of feminism and what PN students have to say

Alaina Taylor, Opinion Editor

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I still remember the day that it happened. I was in class debating something with some of my friends. I was vehemently stating my case, a pretty sound one if I might add, and one guy interrupted me saying, “Why don’t you just go back to the kitchen?”, which resulted in a volley of laughs and jeers. I was shocked and appalled at being taunted, but above all, I was angry. It’s 2014, people. For thousands of years, women have been struggling to climb the pedestal on which men are placed, and yet, here the world stands.

“They fit [women’s] popular image as non-political, limited people; an image we have internalized so well that we may accept it as true of women as a group, even though we have disproved it our individual lives,” wrote Gloria Steinem, legendary women’s rights activist. Her theory is that women are not inherently weaker or less intelligent than men, but the constant bombardment of this idea molds their minds to believe it is true. For centuries, women have been viewed as baby-making machines lacking unique opinions or thoughts. Over time our society has progressed, but women still work the same jobs as men for less money, live in fear of being harassed, and endure condescension when performing anything involving physical activity.  “It’s better than the past, but it’s not equal,” said Cody Hardwick (11).

Society labels certain activities and hobbies as being appropriate exclusively for men or women. “I used to race motorcross, and [my sister] wanted to start, and [my grandpa] was like, “No, you can’t. It’s a guys sport,’” said Hardwick. “It’s the older generation,” Hardwick continues. “Their thoughts and beliefs. Women staying in the kitchen and that sort of thing.” When a man performs inadequately or wimps out on something, he’s taunted for being ‘girly’, which is interpreted as the lowest of blows. Why is it that women have become synonymous with the weak, the inferior, and the undesirable?

It’s better than the past, but it’s not equal”

— Cody Harwick (11)

Another issue with feminism is that many people misunderstand the idea that feminism entails. “People think women are better than men, that’s the thought of it,” stated Hardwick when asked to define feminism. The goal feminists are trying to attain is equality, not superiority. Having said that, feminism, in general, shouldn’t exist. The respect and rights that are given to men should apply to all people. Thinking women should be considered equals doesn’t require a label. It’s called common sense.

Complaints aside, society has advanced significantly in the matter of women’s rights. Women are politicians, authors, and esteemed leaders. Blazers replace hoop skirts and women elect to spend their days in an office instead of a sitting room. “I don’t feel like there’s a huge problem anymore. You [women] are probably the leaders now,” said Raman Khehra (11). On a similar note, change can’t happen in one fell swoop, and there is not a single idea out there that has garnered 100% support. There will always be sexists and jerks that crack jokes about women. “It’s a process,” said Khehra. If women continue to put themselves out there and prove that they can perform as well as men in all situations, it will eventually become an accepted fact.  Maybe one day, being called ‘girly’ will be viewed as a compliment.

 

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Who runs the world?