Sunday, September 4, 2011

We Need A New Feminism

A lot has been happening lately to prove that women are still not equal to men in our society. Though they are afforded the same rights on paper, women are not treated the same as men. I hear all you critics already: ‘But women are equal! What else do you want?’ These are the same people who will assure you that racial equality also exists. In theory, i.e. before the law, etc., we are all the same. However, in reality, sameness is still more than far away when it comes to peoples’ hearts and minds.
The other day, I read about a T-shirt that was for sale at JCPenney. The shirt read "I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me." Thanks to an outcry of angry parents, the shirts are no longer available for purchase through their stores. However, I read many people’s comments who basically thought that the shirt was harmless and all in good fun.
I’m sure that whoever it was who came up with the slogan for this T-shirt had no bad intentions and truly believed it to be witty and cute. The problem, however, lies in the values that we are teaching our children. Though the message isn’t blatant, it is still very obviously there: It is more important to be physically attractive than intelligent; attractive girls cannot also be intellectually inclined.
Is this really what you want your daughters to think of themselves and others? I know what my answer to that question is, but I am beginning to question other people’s thoughts on the matter. If you don’t see the sexism in this slogan, try picturing it on a shirt for boys. Would such a statement be made about a boy?
A couple of days later, I came across a Yahoo! story on a photo shoot that was done with Heather Morris, one of the stars of the hit TV show ‘Glee’. In these photos, Morris has a huge black eye and is posing with household items, such as an iron, and is wearing fifties-style clothing, suggesting she is a housewife (or homemaker, etc.- just insert whatever term you find least offensive) In one particular photo, her hands are tied with the cord of the iron, and a male hand is pulling on the iron itself, while Morris is grinning into the camera. Click here to see a few of the pics.
Once again, there was an outcry from people who took offense to these photos, upset by the fact that they obviously make fun of domestic violence. The photographer seems oblivious to any such intent, stating that all he wanted to do was “… to do a bruised-up Barbie shoot and that’s exactly what we did!” I’m not sure what the photographer’s explanation of her black eye would have been- maybe she hurt herself while ironing? Either way, I think the photos are in bad taste, to say the least. Not only are they ridiculing abused women, they are also offering some nice material for abusers to look at and admire.
What I think we as women need is a new kind of feminism. Not the old nutty kind where we sit around and talk about silliness, such as making sure we no longer call members of law enforcement policemen or women, but persons or officers (I hope you know what I mean- I couldn’t think of a better example. I went to a German feminist group a few times and had to stop going because all they wanted to talk about was why words such as ‘the chair’ had a male instead of a female article in German…)
We need to start recognizing our awesomeness and make our marks on this world. All the women I know are just amazing superhero-type ladies, who raise their children, take care of their homes, cook, bake, sew, read, never sleep, etc. all while keeping their families together and looking wonderful! Honestly, the responsibilities of the modern woman far exceed any notions of multi-tasking. We are all superwomen and it is time we owned it!
Dear men, please stop looking down on us women because you think your physical strength makes you superior to us. It doesn’t. If you want to see truly amazing physical strength, watch a woman give birth. You may be able to excel on the football field, but we can make new people. True, we need about three seconds of your participation for that, but I am convinced that one day, with the advancement of science, even that will no longer be necessary.
For centuries, women have stood back and let men handle things. I have been wondering, why?; I have come to the conclusion that women just weren’t all that interested in being a part of man’s world before now. Women have had their priorities in other places. Times are changing, though. And I am sure I am not the only one who is tired of having a ‘Women’s History Month’ and special categories on Jeopardy such as ‘Women Writers’. We make up slightly more than half of the world’s population. It’s time we stopped acting like a minority of inferior creatures. Dear ladies, let’s get into politics, let’s get into religious positions, let’s take charge! It is still a man’s world, but it is ours for the taking…

Disclaimer: I am not implying that only women who have children are awesome. ALL women are fantastic in my opinion. Childbearing just stood out to me as an example and I do not intend to hurt or offend anyone.
I am not trying to degrade men. You, too, are awesome. However, you have oppressed women for centuries- millennia, even. We do not want to push you out of the way- all we want is to finally be on the same level as you guys…


  1. I agree I think there are a lot of men who truly want women to be equal--my husband is one. I joke he's a bigger feminist that I am.

    I remember in elementary school being asked which instrument I wanted to play. I responded the trumpet. I was told (by my male band teacher) that trumpet playing was for boys but I could play the violin if I wanted. I politely declined and now unfortunately don't play any instrument.

    We are a strong and amazing sex.

  2. Very well written!!!! I am completely ready for a great female president. Not only do I believe she will clean up the mess of our past men president's (because lets face it we are always cleaning up after them as well as our children) but she will also help encourage woman more to stand up for themselves in their every day life to not allow a man to step all over her just because he is a man. I also read the Yahoo! story and was disgusted! Just when you think the country has come far enough to bring awareness of the monstrosities of domestic violence a man promotes it through photographs. What bothers me most though is that any woman would agree to be a model for those pictures!

    Your right in saying we do need a new kind of feminist movement and most definitely not one that just changes how words are said in the dictionary!!!!!