The issue of gender equality is a prevalent topic in modern society. Here at Archer, we take pride in being strong, independent women who have a fair and equal say. Students discuss female rights and justices on a regular basis in almost every class.
I am proud to say that the Western world has come very far in the last few decades regarding the equal treatment of women.
In some ways, feminism has become a popular trend, but in other ways it is still incredibly unpopular— if not feared. The term “feminism” has a plethora of misconceptions as it has become more integral in our society.
A popular misconception is that if you are a feminist, you are a “man-hater”— this has not been my experience.
In a speech presented to UN Women on Sept. 20, 2014, Emma Watson said it best: “I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”
Watson continued that she was called “bossy” for wanting to direct her school play. Words like “bossy” are often saved for women in positions of power where their male counterparts would be called the “boss.”
However, gender equality is not just a woman’s issue — it affects both men and women alike.
“For the record, feminism by definition is: ‘The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes,’” Watson confirmed.
Today’s media does nothing to stop this message of inequality among the sexes. Girls and women are expected to maintain a slim, girlish figure, to be sweet and emotional and not try to negate male “pride.” Similarly, boys and men are expected to be emotionless, strong and never showing weakness.
Women cannot be driven without being aggressive, men cannot cry in movies for the fear of looking weak, women bigger than a size-0 are considered “not-skinny” and men cannot ask for help without appearing feminine.
“Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive,” Watson said in her speech. “I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less ‘macho.’”
Watson views gender equality as basic “human rights” and I agree with her completely. The fight for gender equality is not a one-sided battle, and it will take the full participation of both men and women to be able to reach complete equality.