Excuse the censorship, but I’m afraid gender equality or dare I say
Feminism is simply far too drastic a term for some people.
Sexist people, that is. You see, for as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with comprehending the mentality that some may have on the basis of gender.
Whilst I saw it as a beauty that creates a wonderful humanity, it seems most seemed to relate it with separation and superiority.
A few months ago, I presented a speech to my all girl classmates on feminism. I recall witnessing shocked expressions as I expanded on the details of certain statistics such as; 1 in 5 women experience sexual assault on college campuses. I could already see the calculating look in their eyes as they wondered if that is what their future held.
However, it was the faces that stared back with dull eyes as they awaited the speech to end due to their boredom that terrified me. It was as if they already knew the consequences that came with being a woman.
Everybody knew they were at risk of assault if not even had expected assault in their lifetime due to their gender.
But, how can they not?
It’s all, we’re ever taught. Don’t go out at night, make sure you’re always with company, keep that skirt a little longer, oh and don’t cake on too much of that mascara. We come with a rule book that prohibits most acts of human nature.
So then if I tick each box, am I safe from my gender?
If I follow each rule, will I be one of the lucky ones?
I’m afraid our gender comes with many repercussions. Now, you’ve presumably been birthed a beautiful baby girl with one too many aspirations. But, the truth is, you’re going to suffer and struggle a lot more than if you had grown a beautiful baby boy. Allow me to display the troubles you’ll more than likely face; Firstly, Parents may want you to succeed, but they will adamantly refuse you any opportunities. Wouldn’t want your fragile little heart getting into any trouble, eh? Also, let us not forget the wage gap you’ll face, but of course you’ll get that one-year maternity leave if you do possibly decide to birth a child, so it’s only fair, right? Now, let’s not forget about the over sexualisation that will overwhelm your life in the form of a stubborn obstacle. But, don’t get offended with the sex jokes, they’re only harmless, right?
In contrast to the depressing attitude I’ve expressed throughout, I swear that womanhood is one of the most beautiful miracles to exist. As I sit my menstrual cycle each month, look down at my body that is able to carry life, develop a mind that is able to drive me to success and remember the role of women’s lives throughout history – I feel blessed.
In fact, all the consequences of my gender motivate me to want to achieve and succeed more…
You see, I choose to be as opinionated, educated, strong, girly, funny and indecisive as I bloody want!
Because I know my gender is seen as a limit In my life. It’s seen as; be strong, but not too much and God forbid appear masculine. Be opinionated, but not too much to be intimidating. Be educated, but careful not to outsmart and possibly embarrass your male counterparts.
Don’t be too much Women.
I am a rebel for simply being in my own skin.
A saddening aspect I found during my speech to my classmates was the exclusive shock that overcame the room once I mentioned males and their consequences for being in their own skin. This proved to me what a silent topic this truly was…
You must understand, it is not just us girls who face consequences due to gender. It has often been viewed that adding a male involvement is an insult to female proficiency. The thing is, we won’t see radical change until every inch of society sees this as their problem too. Labelling gender inequality exclusively as a ‘Woman’s issue’ can offer men an excuse to dismiss it as nothing to do with them. And it does, this is having to do with both men and women, it is what I would view as a human issue.
Unfortunately, society has claimed what a ‘Real man’ is like, which basically means a stature of muscle with no soft emotions. But, is that even realistic? Women are often angered at the mere sights of magazines that claim they have to be a certain type, a certain weight or even a certain personality. Yet, we dismiss any man who is angered by the same scrutiny in society’s eyes of what they should be like. Why do we continue to visualise such expectations of people which simply torments and constricts them?
Is that equality?
Why should a man’s mental health not be taken as seriously had he been a woman? Why should a man not be allowed to express his emotions in fear of being the scandalous terror of ‘Less of a man’? Why do people still doubt that men can suffer from domestic or sexual abuse too?
My point is, there is no gender who isn’t fighting for the rights of equality. However, the issue is often difficult to tackle due to individuals choosing to turn a blind eye. Turn to ignorance, even. We all know it is easier to avoid the problem than to face it. However, we cannot continue with such a detrimental cycle.
Fortunately, after centuries of fighting for equality, we are finally getting somewhere. There were times when women were not able to vote before the 1920’s, because of the belief that women simply were not as intelligent and capable enough because of a few biological identifications. Thankfully, there were enough suffragists who decided to fight for their right to vote.
Due to mass movements such as these, I am born to many privileges and opportunities which my ancestors would’ve only ever dreamt of.
Now, our job is to continue working for equal gender equality, just as these suffragists had, and we will, someday have gender equality.
Finally, allow me to introduce the term ‘Feminism’. Some people may cringe at the word, others view it as anti-men. However, the simple and proper definition of the word is simply ‘The theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes’. Some people love it, others loathe it, and others tend to view it as a nasty word to steer away from.
However, I consider myself a feminist.
In fact, it isn’t even the word itself that matters. Call it what you like, as long as you stand by its definition and reason behind it. And I hope you will all stand by it.
Let’s create a generation where sticking to your skin isn’t such a battle.