Feminism | Posted by Brian C on 12/8/2010
Just Because Berry Is In The Name…
Does anyone else enjoy partaking in the outlandish factoids of Snapple caps? I recently got a fact that stated that a banana is technically a berry and strawberries are not even berries. I will repeat this, because it bears reiteration. A banana (the yellow things you have to peel) is a berry whereas a strawberry (red fruit of deliciousness with BERRY in the name) is not a berry. So I had an initial shock and a moment of muddled thoughts. Society has played this trick a number of times on me throughout my life. Koala BEARS and panda BEARS are not even bears. Furthermore I concluded that this type of poor labeling by society is why I fight for gender equality.
To me, equality is a condition worth fighting for because every person should have the right to be judged as a result of their own actions, not by preconceived ideas. Allowing everyone to have an equal opportunity is of course another reason to fight, but this is the part that gets the majority of the attention. There is nothing more frustrating than realizing other people assume what kind of person you are despite failing to truly know you. For instance, people will assume you are belittling them when using extensive vocabulary, when this is simply your dialect with no implications attached. Just because I am smart does not mean that I am elitist and subsequently look down upon you. But I digress because this is about the enormous disparity in gender equality regarding this very issue.
Due to malicious press, society tends to operate under the assumption that feminists are men-hating, ugly, rude, and obnoxious by nature. I see feminism in this case to be like a strawberry being incorrectly labeled as a berry. Feminism is simply a belief system encompassing a desire to achieve gender equality (in this case to achieve equilibrium by trying to lessen the overt difference in treatment between men and women). Feminism is not something society should isolate and shun like a leper, but being a feminist should be something one is proud of.
An exercise to try might be to ask your friends what they think of people as you pass them in a mall. I would be willing to bet a considerable sum that your friends will have no trouble doing so. Yet do you realize what you are truly doing when you do this? You are making a judgment as to what kind of person they are, yet you likely do not know anything about them. This is not fair to them. Imagine if you were to see someone on an off-day—they are bummed, shuffling their feet, being anti-social. You may look at them and assume they are this kind of person, hates people. You may continue with this notion, but he could be the most charismatic person in the world. I would pose that judging people is dangerous, especially from afar.
Modern culture still operates under the poorly labeled household roles of the ’50s. Men are stereotyped as well, but when they are pre-judged, it tends to be less hurtful than women. Women today are reduced to physical attributes. The only role models that women can look up to (the ones that get press at least) are required to be attractive in addition to being successful in their practice. This illustrates to society an improper correlation between beauty and achievement. Immediately, women are being pre-judged on their success with a simple glance of the eyes. Women have to go through life with most men they meet assuming they will want to have an illustrious career as a secretary or librarian. There is nothing wrong with these positions, but women have the same capabilities as men and therefore have aspirations accordingly.
It is even sadder that society still has this silly idea that women are somehow less intelligent than men and less capable. This notion is advanced by the statistics. Only 2.6% of CEOs in fortune 500 companies are women according to USA Today. So women progress through life with the idea that they are in some way inferior to men in capabilities. This is why there is such a large difference in careers between men and women. Men look up and see endless capabilities whereas women’s dreams get trampled by the harshness of these predetermined labels. The idea that a woman’s abilities are being assumed as opposed to assessed is something that a 21st century society should hang its head in shame for.
This is why those of us with qualms as to how the system operates must actually make ourselves known. Judging people has become an action that is so commonplace in society today that many times people fail to realize they are stripping someone of their individuality. Considering the lack of success in labeling something as simple as fruit, does it not seem ridiculous to label something as complex as a human being?
Read other posts about: equal opportunity, equality, female role models, Feminism, feminist stereotypes, gender stereotypes, judgement, male feminists, men and feminism, role-models, stereotypes, teenage feminism
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