Before I get started, I would like to give some background information about myself since I am new to the Echo and to Maryville College. I am a junior this year, studying English literature and writing/communications. I transferred this semester from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
So far, the transition to MC has been a fine experience. As a commuting student, I travel an hour to and from my home in Corryton every day. If I’m not slaving away at school, you can most likely find me reading articles on Yahoo! News or writing poetry. I do my best to live a vegetarian, sustainable lifestyle. Politically, I consider myself a liberal feminist and religiously, a non-Islamic Sufi.
Those may seem like random details, but I include them because it is inevitable that each of those will influence this column at some point in its publication. For the most part, I will be focusing on gender issues and feminism, the difficulty of understanding which leading to its becoming such an ugly word.
In my experience, many individuals automatically think of women who hate men, don’t shave their legs and burn their bras when confronted with the concept of feminism.
Many even assume that the era of feminism has passed; that there is no need for the study and critique of feminine ideals or theory in the 21st century.
While I assure you that no feminist I have met dares go braless (the girls need support), and most of them are married to wonderful husbands or wives, I would like to inform you throughout this column that feminists are still alive and well. Additionally, I am one of them.
Even in a world in which women are largely free to choose the paths that they take in their lives, there are still gendered stereotypes and expected societal roles based on gender that women are fighting today to overcome. Although the wage gap in the U.S. has shrunk in the past 30 years, women are still paid less than men. Despite the fact that more women graduate with doctorates each year than men, there are very few powerful positions that women hold in business and government. Women continue to be exploited in television and movies. Their sexualization is everywhere, so much so that it can be difficult to recognize sometimes.
These facts are precisely why the concept of feminism must be a modern focus. Women remain in struggle for equality, so how can feminism remain overlooked?
That being said, working toward equality for women does not mean that women are better than men. Let it be known that you do not need to be a man-hater to love feminism. Being a feminist means nothing more than believing that both genders are equal to each other.
Do you believe that women should have the same rights as men in society?
Congratulations, you’re a feminist.
I will try throughout this column to educate my audience on the subject, as well as dispel long-held stigmas against feminists. I will talk about current women working to eradicate gender inequality; about their movements and what it means to confront gender issues in today’s world. It is my wish that, if you read this column with an open mind, you will begin to see feminists as real people who do not fit into the narrow categories in which traditionalism teaches you to cast them. I
t is my hope that you might eventually think of feminism and see me, your mother, your friends and maybe even yourself.