I believe that I am now and have always been what is known as a feminist. This year I am taking an intro to women’s studies course and little did I know that I would love it so much. Just like most people I did not realize what being a feminist entails, I believed in the stereotypes such as man-haters, bra-burners, and bitches. When it comes down to a simple definition, a feminist is someone (a woman or man) who wants equality for all people not just in gender categories but for race, sexual identity, and so forth. Knowing the definition, the question to ask now is who isn’t a feminist?
Everyday I discover new social institutions and pressures that are put out there by the white males who run this country, in order to keep all others at an inferior level. Men run the media which in turn, influences all beauty standards. I think it is ridiculous that the idea of beauty these days is an unhealthy, skinny woman, with huge breasts, and perfect skin. No woman really looks like that! Women should be able to feel beautiful as they are and find pleasure in being different than the other women around them. I find it so hard to believe that so many women are willing to risk their lives and suffer through painful cosmetic operations so they can morph their bodies into something so fake.
The world has definitely improved when it comes to equal opportunities but so many of the little things that continue to hold minorities and women down go unnoticed. Jobs and education are often very discriminatory. It has been proven that women are not hired for specific jobs normally considered to be “fit for a man” and women only make 77 cents to each man’s dollar. Is a woman really valued that much less than a man? Many women often have to work twice as hard when in high level positions just to prove that they are capable of doing their jobs.
I feel that a lot of these discriminatory ways are instilled in us starting at birth. It is so important to distinguish a boy from a girl. The ways in which children are socialized and gendered also impact the views most people hold about men versus women. We all know that men are supposed to be very masculine and tough. Men are not supposed to cry or show emotions, and the major goal laid out for them is to be the breadwinner and work hard to support a family. On the other hand, a woman is supposed to be the homemaker, who raises the kids, cooks and cleans, washes the clothes, and so forth. A woman is supposed to be feminine, with the ability to nurture and love. These gender roles have a lot to do with the ways men and women are treated unequally today.
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