With women’s rights being challenged in the media recently (thanks to social media), and the term ‘feminist’ being thrown around, it raises the question; why is gender equality still an unsolved issue in today’s society? I wish I could give you the answer, but gender equality has a long way to go in my eyes!
The main issue I believe that is is hindering a positive change is that the term ‘feminism’, or ‘feminist’ is often misunderstood, and the term often confused as a negative label. Contrary to the belief, ‘feminism’ isn’t about bridging a gap between man and woman, it isn’t about women being the more elite gender; rather ‘feminism’ supports equality for all, particularly recognizing that ‘gender’ shouldn’t hinder a persons ability. Career advancements and equal salaries are just two of the most concerning issues that feminism is striving to change, however in my personal opinion it goes far beyond that!
I’m not going to pretend that men and women are not different. Our physical aspects are completely different and that is what ultimately sets us apart, and I believe this should be the only point of difference. Nonetheless society seems to segregate men and women through their physical differences. Men being strong, the hunter gatherers if you will, whilst women are weak and in need of protection or guidance. The most powerful example I can think of is the reporting of violence against women in mainstream media; ultimately the woman in the situation often gets the blame for the incident. Why was she walking home alone at night? She should have left him ages ago! And she should have known better than to wear that to a party! All of these statements and ones similar to it are constantly replayed in our mainstream news; while a man who has been beaten or assaulted on his walk home is never questioned for his actions.
I myself have been affected with ‘female stereotyping’ many times, however the one incident that struck me the most was when I chose to keep my maiden name when marrying my husband. When it came time to deciding whether to change my last name or not (and I by no means, do not have anything against women who do decide to change their last name, it just wasn’t for me), I started to question the practice entirely! For me, in this day and age I didn’t see the issue with a man adopting the last name of his new partner; many others didn’t agree with me on this one, my dad included. I came across a lot of criticism when making this important decision in my life and couldn’t help but feel like I was being stereotyped due to my gender.
If the gender gap is to eventually close and I hope it will, we need to raise our children differently! We need our girls to know that they can be anything they want to be in life and shouldn’t be restrained by their sex and we need to educate our sons to disregard all the stereotypical bullshit and treat women as equals.
If you found this article interesting, do yourself a favour and purchase, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book, ‘We Should All Be Feminists‘, its life changing!
Love and Light,