“Maybe women deserve better than propaganda and lies. Get… out of our decisions and give us back our voice. Women do deserve better. Women deserve choice,” said National Poetry SLAM-winning performance poet Sonya Renee.
Everyone in the world has their own opinion of what a feminist is and what a feminist believes.
“I believe in gender equality and I believe our society has achieved it. Feminism used to be a legitimate movement where women fought for civil rights,“ said junior Eden Gutkin.
When asked what they believe a feminist is, a large amount of students responded that they thought that it is a person who stands up for women’s rights.
Gutkin said, “I feel that feminists are trying to get better treatment than men which is why I am not a feminist. They don’t want gender equality, feminists believe women should be treated superior to men.”
Many feminists call themselves feminists because they want equality for people of all genders.
Today, men and women are more equal than women of the early 1900s, but there is still a gap.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women earned 77 cents for every dollar that men earned in 2012. Additionally, out of the top 250 grossing films, only 10.8 percent had a female lead.
Although controversy over the way women are treated occurs often, there are also steps being taken towards equality.
Licia Ronzulli, a member of the European Parliament, has been taking her daughter to the Parliament sessions for two years. Throughout the course of her doing so, she has been accused of bringing her daughter for political reasons, but she has been outspoken about the reasons being maternal.
Ronzulli said, “I wanted to stay with my daughter as much as possible, and to remind people that there are women who do not have this opportunity [to bring their children to work], that we should do something to talk about this.”
In America, some people would question a woman’s capacity to do her job when her intelligence is supposedly compromised by having her child there.
Pantene recently released a commercial where a man and women were shown in similar positions, such as speaking to a crowd. In this commercial words were shown within the background that described the man and women in similar positions as two different things, such as boss and bossy. The viewer was forced to question why women and men in the same positions are thought of as entirely different things.
Due to growing awareness of feminism, students have started a Feminist club at Carlmont to promote equality.
“There are a lot of people at school who don’t realize how sexism affects all of us. There are some who think that men and women are equal because our community makes it easier for us to not see injustices that exist in our society,” said senior Kalila Kirk.
Students are split on whether they consider themselves feminists or not. Fifty-eight percent of students counted themselves as a feminist by their definition and 42 percent did not.
Choir director Genevieve Tep said, “Everyone tiptoes around the word feminist. A lot of female members of society are not as informed as we should be because so much of it directly affects our bodies and our choices.”
Tep spoke about looking at the current dress code so that Carlmont changes their thinking about feminism and women’s bodies.
“We need to figure out a way to make the dress code have a balance where we aren’t focused so much on girls’ bodies as much as we are on professional standards. I think there is a balance that we can find without it being demeaning or really severe,” said Tep.
The Feminist club has been a part of the change of student’s opinions. “We want to create a space where people can make choices that make them happy in regards to feminism. The Feminist clubs believes that everyone has their own type of feminism and that it’s an individual thing,” said Kirk.
Although controversy has arisen over the Feminist club’s position on different issues, they “work to keep girls informed of women’s and political issues locally and around the world,” said Tep.
Music videos, such as “Hard Out Here” by Lily Allen, are meant to be satirical and represent everything that is wrong with how society views women. In the case of Allen’s video, controversy developed over whether it was too realistic and didn’t achieve the purpose of poking fun at people such as singer Robin Thicke and his music video for “Blurred Lines.”
Throughout history women have fought for the right of equality. From Plato in 400 B.C. to Mary Wollstonecraft and “A Vindication on the Rights of Women” in the 1700s, many people have discussed it. Historians state that there have been at least three waves of feminism (with some saying that there is a fourth wave right now), and each have focused on a different aspect or way of feminism.
Eventually the National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded in 1966 and women have gained many rights, such as the right to vote in 1920 and the right to reproductive choice in the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade.
“I believe feminism focuses on gender equality. In order for the inequality prevalent in our society to end, I believe there are fundamental beliefs regarding the ‘place’ and ‘capability’ of both women and men that need some revising,” said senior Samantha Samuelsen.
No matter if someone believes that equality is prevalent in society today or not, there is always room to improve the way that humans treat one another. Even if one believes equality has been reached, equality needs to be maintained. Feminism is the mission to continue to improve society.
Originally published in The Highlander