By Jen Luu
Let’s talk about feminism. At the very core of its meaning, feminism is the advocacy of equality for both sexes. Since we live in a fairly open-minded place in the Bay Area, it is safe to assume that most people are generally accepting. However, there are a still quite a few misconceptions lurking around. To counteract these misinterpretations, it is important to understand where they come from.
“I feel like a lot of the times, the reason why people may be against feminism, is because they don’t really understand what it is,” expresses senior Sarah Dao.
Ignorance may be the biggest reason some people may against feminist ideas. At first glance, the word feminism may imply just femininity for its cause. As a result, people may perceive the movement as one that fights to gain leverage for women over men instead of pure equality. Despite the misleading root of feminism, its goals are not one-sided. Quite the contrary, it feminism advocates for everyone.
Dating back to the origins of human nature, the default organization of social groups were split among male hunters and female gatherers. This patriarchal system stems from the need to make do with biological differences to maximize efficiency and survivability. Of course, society has greatly progressed since prior civilization does not rely on old tactics anymore. Gradually, but surely, women have proved themselves to be apt in response to their male counterparts. Those who still cling onto gender roles may struggle to acknowledge the shift from older to modern society.
Currently, feminism empowers women to strive for their goals and to break away from generalized molds. In contrast to the heavily male-run civilizations centuries ago, women today have achieved far more independence.
“Feminism allows females to have enough self-confidence. They can fight for themselves, and be their own warrior,” elaborates senior Aleisha Lew.
However, even with the current advancements, equality has not been fully reached.
“I think feminism is important because it’s still an issue in today’s society. Women and men don’t get treated the same; there is sexism,” claims English teacher Peggy Lee.
Traces of discrimination still permeate our surroundings. It may be the nuanced scoff in response to a girl’s ambitions of pursuing electrical engineering, or it may take the form of a national outcry.
Take for example the People vs. Brock Turner case. As a widely recognized crisis, thousands of people were outraged with the result of a brief sentence. Even though he was guilty of rape of an unconscious woman, Turner only received three months in jail instead of the district attorney requested standard of six years. These unjust decisions, made by a part of society that is supposed to be entrusted with law and order, only further emphasize the need for feminism.
In contrast to some people’s beliefs, feminism does not just benefit women. Equality can range over several aspects, including double standards. It has been an ongoing stereotype to portray men as solely masculine figures who will be shamed if they convey their feelings. As children, some of our peers may ridicule boys who cry “like a girl.” Not only does this imply that only girls have the right to express sadness, an innate human emotion, but it also suggests that crying is a sign of weakness. As an indicator of vulnerability, this expectation binds men to an unrealistic mold from an early age. This is where feminism comes in: men, who experience the same turmoil as everyone else does, need to have same freedom to express their emotions without fear of judgement. More importantly, sexual assault can happen to men as well. In cases of rape, some people may find this incredulous since usually it is the other way around, but gender does not invalidate the existence of these issues.
Although years and years of social progress have fostered a generation of more tolerance, the movement still needs to continue. As an integral part of society, feminism breaks down the dichotomy that men and women are separate beings. It blends them together as simply just…people.
In its entirety, feminism isn’t just a declaration of women’s rights, but of human rights as well.