Gender Equality: International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!
Ah, the venture for gender equality.

Clearly, we aren’t celebrating the accomplishment of total gender equality but we are celebrating progress. #PledgeForParity

Did you know there’s a Global Gender Gap Report? According to this report, we are still a century away from closing the gender equality gap considering health, education, politics and the economy. The report also says that our progress is slowing down (read more about it here.) I don’t know which is more interesting, that there is a report measuring the gender equality gap or that progress is slowing down.

Why do you think this is?

I support the elements of feminism. But, I will admit that I don’t typically announce myself as a feminist. Not that many people would guess otherwise after getting to know me. However considering the true essence of gender equality, I often still notice flaws in my own preconceived notions about men (or even have them pointed out to me on occasion). Quite frankly, I believe that some of us are at a point where we need to regroup a bit on the race to gender equality.

The word feminist, just like word environmentalist (another word in which the movement I support but name identification, I typically don’t wear on my name tag), sometimes make people think extremist before anything else. For example, when I say that I got a degree in Environmental Studies, more than once I’ve been automatically called a treehugger while I watch any ounce of respect melt away from their facial expression leaving only a slight smirk instead.

And we’ve all heard the stereotypes of feminists, too. Anti-men, anti-family, hairy legged, lesbians, etc. There are these extreme stereotypes that sometimes take over our ability to take in a person for who they actually are or a movement for what it truly means.

Why are these stereotypes so prevalent??

There are a lot of activists who I admire for their commitment to whatever their cause is. And I don’t mean for this to be any sort of degradation to their mission or identification with those missions. A true activist is someone that is engulfed in a cause. Fully aware of every angle, detail and reasoning for why they feel the way they do about their mission. I strive to be that in regards to both gender equality and in the environmental movement.

Generally, rather than focusing on bringing awareness to the issues involved with things like feminism or environmentalism, we need more active work on solutions and perhaps less hashtags. Social media has done a number on activism. It’s really easy to throw equality hashtags all over the place, retweet something or post a promotional video on our Facebook walls and consider ourselves a part of a social movement. #BandwagonActivism

As much as we want to think that we can just change people, we also have to realize that every individual is a result of (or at the least, there is a major impact from) their environment. And also, that every individual has the ability to change as a result of inspiration or deep connection with another person, idea, or circumstance (but probably not the overuse of a hashtag…) 

More of this..

The science class that my 9 year old cousin told me she’s a part of that exists to motivate girls to be interested and stay interested in science. She loves science, does dance, builds fairy gardens, is intrigued by tiny houses, and has a pretty purple room. The dopest of young ladies that is going to grow into a beautiful, strong woman.

Less of this…

The Buzzfeed video which features women asking men questions like, “Why are you afraid to have emotions?” A male friend of mine showed me this video. One of my best friends, he’ll call me out for my shit, listen to my opinions or problems, share his own, open the door for me, let me open the door for him, you get the point. (He also wants to be a stay at home dad.) But anyway, in the comments of this backwards ass video, there was a reply that included a link to this website that, although is incredibly misogynistic, is a pretty fair (well it’s in the ballpark anyway) reply to the extreme, unfair man-hating opinions represented in the video.

Feminism is not man-hating. It is demanding our equal treatment to men in things that have been unequal in the past. But as we aim to reach gender equality, we must also realize the ways in which men suffer as well. The idea that a man must stifle his emotions to remain masculine. Or the estrangement that many people have at the idea of a man’s main purpose being a father.

I don’t mean to be a downer. What kind of woman am I? Talking shit on the feminist movement like this…and on International Women’s Day of all days. Oye. I am just saying, that as much as we as women must support each other, motivate each other, and inspire each others endeavors, we must also remember that this is not a boys vs. girls race.

Oh, here’s an analogy for you, a bit of a stretch, but it makes the point. Feminism is to global warming as gender equality is to climate change. 

Both insinuate similar things, but gender equality is the real goal of the feminist movement and climate change is the real result of our poor environmental practices. While the terms feminism and global warming have certain valid intentions, at this point they also carry with them certain negative and inaccurate connotations.

Please don’t skim this and miss my point and if you do miss my point, let me know and I’ll clear it up further. Or here, this is Emma Watson’s UN speech on gender equality. She’s definitely making the point better than I am. Watch this, it’s great, whether you are a man or a woman.

Oh Miss Watson, forever one of my favorite female role models.

“It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining each other by what we are not, and start defining ourselves by what we are.” – Emma Watson

I will continue to lift up my warrior women.
But I will not reject the success of men solely because I believe them to be of the privileged gender.
I will continue to speak up even when talked over.
But I will not accuse anyone challenging my opinions as being sexist solely because they are a man.
I will resist the idea that all a woman can be is a wife and mother.
But I will also support a woman who’s passion is to raise children and care for her family;
I’ll also do this for a man.
I will resist the opinion that I’m just a pretty face.
But I will continue to develop into the elegant woman that I hope to be.
I will appreciate a door opened for me, by a man or woman.
But I will not expect it.
I will stop resisting when my boss has a male co-worker walk me to my car when it’s late at night.
But I will not keep myself from experiences out of fear of being a woman alone in the world.
I will work harder to recognize my own faults while not reacting so fiercely to the faults of others.
But I will never forget my own worth.
I will not generalize statistical tendencies of men to the tendencies of all men.
But I will work harder to learn and to fight the issues that women face across the world where free will is still a far off dream.

“A relationship [between a man and a woman] is a good one when you could switch genders and nothing would change.” – Trent McMinn


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *