This article is from our very own, Mary Bonafino! Enjoy….
Besides the anatomical build between a man and woman to segregate them, there is an ethnographical divide brought upon by society. Gender appropriation is a common setback that is instilled within our society, which leads to a controversial and debatable topic: feminism. Because men view women as the infirm gender, equality is not a debate since the creation of a woman’s body is for men to abuse. Abuse is identifiable in physical form, mental, emotional, and the continuous rejection of opportunity in the work force. I can say that I am a proud feminist. For those of you who do not know what a being feminist entails, it just means being a sane human; seeing equality for both genders.
In one episode of “Funny Thing About Feminism…” with Deborah Francis White, she gives the audience a brilliant example of social experiment. Two brothers are to complete x number of chores, but one brother receives twenty-two cents less than the other. Sounds familiar. The second scenario, both brothers are to do an interview, the brother who makes twenty-two cents less has prepared a PowerPoint and is overly nervous, while the second brother, well, his cocky attitude earned him the promotion. Subsequently, both boys receive pet hamsters, but the one brother who makes twenty-two cents less and didn’t get the promotion, has to take care of both hamsters and are not to get paid for it. The other brother receives all the praise for his “efforts”. The brother who makes twenty-two cents less, who didn’t get the promotion, who has to take care of both pets, he seems a little agitated. He feels the need to prove his worth and begins working twice as hard, completing double the workload. Francis White’s closing statement is, “The funny thing about feminism is that we can only see how messed up that when it’s two boys.” Women are the ones who make twenty-two cents less than men. Women are the ones who feel the need to prove themselves. If breast is in sight, that is the only thing that is focused on. The gender wage gap needs to be eliminated, not reduced. “In 1980, women ages 25 to 34 earned 33 cents less than their male counterparts, compared with 11 cents in 2018,” reads an article titled, “The Narrowing but Persistent Wage Gap in Pay.” In 1963, President Kennedy pass the Equal Pay Act in 1963. Then the Civil Rights Act that prohibited labor forces from being discriminatory towards sex, religion, or race. In 1978, the Pregnancy Act was passed to protect pregnant women’s careers. Thirteen years later, the Medical and Family Leave act was enacted, for protected spots when genders need to take a break for family matters. But a dime and a penny, is still a dime and a penny. It would take women 39 days to make the same as a man in a year if only another month and week was included in the calendar so women could get even.
The revelation and constant protest are working with bringing forth equality. The #MeToo movement has brought awareness to sexual harassment in the workforce. Women are outspoken about being victims of rape, abuse, neglect, from authority figures. Beyond the distribution of disrespect, women have to conform to the media’s idealistic body image of women, which is created and often enforced by men. Jean Kilbourne immediately indulges into how advertisements have females seem as though they are sending a sexual message, weather with their eyes, hands, outfit, etc., or they include a slogan that is sexualized. In her, “Two Ways A Woman Can Get Hurt: Advertising and Violence.” Kilbourne includes a Vodka advertisement that reads, “If your date won’t listen to reason, try a velvet hammer” (494). The ad is indicating intoxicating females to exploit their vulnerability. Men do not take no for an answer. Men may feel that women are trying to tease them when the response to sex is no. This scenario is so common, that women may feel as if “no” is not an option. When “no” is said, women are questioned. When “no” is repeated, women are ignored. When “no” is screamed, women are in tears. When it is over, “no” was never heard. Kilbourne includes a second ad for Syn Jeans, where a woman is in an elevator, pushing a button. The woman is wearing a crop top is that is see-through, and her nipples are exposed. Her whole torso is exposed, and her facial expression is submissive. The ad reads, “Push my buttons. I’m looking for a man who can floor me, who won’t stop will the top. You: MUST LIVE in SYN” (496). The jeans in the ad are blurry and cannot be seen. This ad does not correlate with jeans. This ad is created to lure in perverts and make women feel like they should convey the same message. Women will view this ad and feel like they are to dress provocatively, or look skinny, or submit to men’s pornographic ideas. Women are devalued because there are strong concerns about society behind their pretty faces and attractive bodies.
Although there have been drastic advancements within the equality movement, there is still much to be done. The efforts of many activist, Malala Yousafzai, who fights for women education, Emma Watson, feminist activist, Jameela Jamil, self-love activist etc., has shined lights on the issues and social media has helped with getting everyone to discuss it. When corporations finally and municipals finally remove men from their pedestal, the world will be in unison. Men should not get to decide when gender equality is enacted. Feminism is not a choice; it is a right that is deserved to all.
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