#Feminist

Olivia Woo, Contributor

Women’s marches show just how many people stand for the equality of all genders. (James McNellis)

”Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on gender. It can happen to anyone, but it primarily affects women and girls.” 

This is the dictionary definition of sexism. In a world where everything is advancing, it should be a given that gender equality is no longer just a dream. 

Unfortunately, while the idea of feminism has advanced greatly, it is still nowhere near the goal that our society needs to reach. We need to acknowledge the problems that women face every single day. 

  1.     Sexual assault and harassment

This is arguably the biggest problem that women are constantly facing. Of course, harassment and assault can happen to anybody, and it should not be disregarded based on gender. But statistically and historically, women and girls are more likely to face these hardships. People who commit assault even target those with long ponytails. 

It has come to a point where even walking alone on the street becomes a nerve-wracking task. It has come to a point where parents worry for their children when they are doing something as simple as walking home from school.

Creepy behavior is so normalized that men are celebrated when they do not objectify a woman’s body. Do people not realize that rejoicing at such behavior that should happen everywhere is like congratulating a fish for swimming? 

Clothing is also targeted in these situations, even though it does not matter. Whether a girl or woman is covered from head to toe or wearing a pretty dress, they’re not a distraction. They’re simply wearing what they feel comfortable in. 

Sexual assault, harassment, and abuse is not the fault of the victim. Society needs to better ensure that no woman feels ashamed for what they endured. 

A student—who would prefer to stay anonymous—stated, “It disgusts me to see women being put into situations without consent. Everyone has limits and they should be able to decide what they want and don’t want. People need to be taught to respect others’ choices.” 

2.       My body, my choice

This is arguably the biggest problem that women are constantly facing. Of course, harassment and assault can happen to anybody, and it should not be disregarded based on gender. But statistically and historically, women and girls are more likely to face these hardships. People who commit assault even target those with long ponytails. 

It has come to a point where even walking alone on the street becomes a nerve-wracking task. It has come to a point where parents worry for their children when they are doing something as simple as walking home from school.

Creepy behavior is so normalized that men are celebrated when they do not objectify a woman’s body. Do people not realize that rejoicing at such behavior that should happen everywhere is like congratulating a fish for swimming? 

Clothing is also targeted in these situations, even though it does not matter. Whether a girl or woman is covered from head to toe or wearing a pretty dress, they’re not a distraction. They’re simply wearing what they feel comfortable in. 

Sexual assault, harassment, and abuse is not the fault of the victim. Society needs to better ensure that no woman feels ashamed for what they endured. 

A student—who would prefer to stay anonymous—stated, “It disgusts me to see women being put into situations without consent. Everyone has limits and they should be able to decide what they want and don’t want. People need to be taught to respect others’ choices.” 

Of course, while women face countless problems today (much more than the ones listed here), feminism can be imperfect. While the intentions are in the best interest, the execution isn’t always positive.

  1. Toxic femininity

Unfortunately, feminism has caused the idea that people have to be a certain way to be considered a feminist. 

A common misperception is that to be a feminist, you need to be a working woman, someone who is “tough” and “not like other girls”. Somehow, feminism has spiraled into the idea that to be a supporter of female empowerment, you can’t be “girly”. 

The truth is that feminism means supporting equal rights. You can do this regardless of how you dress, what your profession is, and every other ridiculous thing that apparently restricts you from fighting for women’s rights. 

You are a feminist if you are a housewife. You are a feminist if you work in an office. You are a feminist whether you dress “feminine” or “masculine”. You are a feminist if you are “girly”. You are a feminist if you are a “tomboy”. You are feminist if you are man. You are a feminist simply because you support equality for all genders and sexes. 

 An anonymous students expressed her thoughts on this matter. “I think that anyone can be a feminist. You can support the equality of all genders no matter what your gender is. Standing up for what is right is for everyone.” 

2.     “I hate all men”

Many think of feminism as something that is exclusively for women. But fighting for equality is something for everyone. 

Because feminism is seen as mostly for women by many people, the abuse, harassment, and stereotypes that men can face are overshadowed. 

The horrible truth is that everyone can face some sort of situation where they feel unsafe. Anyone can be sexually assaulted or harassed. Anyone can be stereotyped by their gender. Anyone can be shamed for their bodily choices. 

Of course, women are known to face more of these problems. But this doesn’t mean that men’s adversities are any less important. 

The toxic side of feminism also fails to address the fact that men can face stereotypes as well. Toxic masculinity gives the idea that men must be “masculine”, without showing their feelings or fragility. 

“If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…it is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.”

—Emma Watson

Women face countless problems, and it’s always amazing to raise awareness and fight the inequalities. But is it really being a feminist if you are advocating for women to be better than men, rather than advocating for women, men, and others to be equal? 

In the end, feminism is an incredible and inspiring way to fight back against the suffocating inequality that women face. While the execution can be sloppy, equality for all genders is progressing slowly but surely due to the many movements that are doing good. 

One thing can be for sure: every woman, every man, every person deserves to be treated equally. Until this goal is achieved, society will continue to fight in hopes of moving forward.