Intercultural Comm 319G
9 November 2017
WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS
We must change the way we use the word, “feminism.” As defined by Merriam Webster, feminism is: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Feminism betrayed itself by claiming an identity- that being said, we must drop feminism as an identity- it is an elite lifestyle or rather, a political practice. Feminism is for ALL GENDERS. If you consider yourself to be a decent human being, you should be on board with equal rights of men and women. There are many people in the world who consider themselves to be a feminist when they know nothing about it or they don’t understand what it is. In contrast, there are people who refuse to identify themselves as a feminist because of the reputation that it holds. The conversation needs to be changed. We must teach the younger generations that we are all equal. It is unhealthy for both genders to grow up in a masculine culture. As Brigham Young once said, “you educate a man, you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” Simply put- Feminism is your belief in equality.
A Ted talk by, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie titled, WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS, she begins talking about her experience with one of her friends. During an argument, her friend called her a “feminist.” When he used this word, he did not intend for it to be a compliment but rather an insult. Today, I believe that is how a lot of people view feminism. They associate the word feminism with foolish women flocking the streets with no bras and hairy armpits. Although that is the truth for many of this population, it is not the case for everyone. She continues her talk, speaking about how it is often assumed that men take charge in all situations. Her example was in elementary school, her teacher told the kids that whoever scored the highest on the test would be the class monitor. Chimamanda scored the highest. What her teacher did not mention, is that the monitor had to be a male. This infuriated Chimamanda, because this boy who got the second highest on the test did not even have a desire to be the class monitor. Chimamanda shares, many stories such as this one that express how naturally men are the leaders and women are their subordinates. Her argument on why things are as they are is because back in the day, physical strength was seen as the most important thing and naturally men have more testosterone than women, therefore they are stronger and more valuable. Although that may have been the case back then, it is not the case now. We value the person who is creative, passionate and intelligent, rather than the person who is physically strong.
In addition to having a feministic approach in the real world, we should find ways to increase women’s political power. It wasn’t until just recently we had a female candidate in the presidential election. During the time of elections, I was hearing very negative comments about what our world would turn into if Hilary Clinton won. I am not saying that Hilary did not have her flaws just like any other candidate, but the fact that people were saying how our nation cannot be ran by a female was troublesome to me. An article called, Social Incentives for Gender differences in the Propensity to Initiate Negotiations: Sometimes it does Hurt to Ask, gives great insight to the social, cultural, psychological and motivational barriers to expanding women as political leaders. Hannah Bowels, touches on the topic of women not having enough money to run a presidential campaign, which is an underlying negative factor when a woman runs for office. The article goes on to say:
When money dominates politics, women lose out. With women having persistently lower incomes for many reasons (gender gap in pay, occupational segregation, disproportionate unpaid family care, frequent unwillingness to face the social consequence of pushing for higher salaries or promotions) and with social consequences of heavily along gendered lines, women are far less likely than men to be in the social and business networks that pour money into political campaigns (Bowels et. Al, 2007, p. 84-103).
In the US, running for office is not considered a real job. Therefore, candidates are not being paid for their time and in turn they are losing money while also losing valuable time with family. They are spending majority of their time traveling or attending events that require them to make late night commitments without getting any sort of benefits such as health care insurance or day care. The system has become tailored to the wealthy man with little to no family which excludes any opportunity for a feminine institution. Our system needs to be more accustomed to a woman’s lifestyle in terms of family time, personal leisure time and physical/mental health balance. There are many things that our political system needs to adjust. We must encourage gender conscious practices to please all genders and allow equality within the political structure.
As previously stated, the word feminism has become wildly misunderstood in our world. People associate the word with harsh man-hating, lesbian women, which makes it very difficult for any other man or woman who does not label themselves as such to associate themselves with the political practice of feminism. An article titled, Dude Looks Like a Feminist!: Moral Concerns and Feminism among Men, Renee F. Precopio and Laura R. Ramsey discuss their concern on the feminist issue: “Men must overcome additional hurdles beyond negative stereo- types, in order to self-label and act in support of feminism, due to the fact that feminism tends to be perceived as focusing only on women” (Precopio et. Al, 2017, p. 78-86). This results in men being fearful of associating themselves with the elite lifestyle of a feminist. I cannot speak for a male within society because I do not identify as one, but in order to get these men to conform or accept this movement, they must lower themselves to view the world from a woman’s perspective. It is not always easy for a man to understand what challenges a woman might face, but if they offer themselves the chance to let down their privilege and empathize with these women, they may be able to help make a change within society.
Now, more than ever, feminism has become increasingly prevalent. By diminishing these stereotypes of wild and barbaric woman being the only ones involved in the movement of feminism, we can invite other powerful individuals to further endorse the idea of feminism. As members of society, we have the power to vote for and against certain gender gap rulings. It all comes down to the thoughts and actions of the people. If a person is willing to understand and listen to those in society who have less, we can create a more equal and unified world where men as well as women have equal opportunity within humanity.
Bowles, H. R., Babcock, L., & Lai, L. (2007). Social incentives for gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations: Sometimes it does hurt to ask. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 103(1), 84-103. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2006.09.001
Precopio, R. F., & Ramsey, L. R. (2017). Dude looks like a feminist!: Moral concerns and feminism among men. Psychology Of Men & Masculinity, 18(1), 78-86. doi:10.1037/men0000042