Page 1

THE

FEMINIST

Empowering The Future April 2018


Letter from the editor

Dear reader,

After the first article on the allegations against Harvey Weinstein for sexual assault last fall, women around the nation began to share their stories as well. The #MeToo Movement has been a powerful break through for women; they are finally being able to share their experiences of sexual assault and harassment without society immediately disregarding their claims. With mass amounts of women coming forward, a significant amount of change has been able to occur. Men that have been accused with sexual harassment have been fired from esteemed positions and numerous cases are being brought to court. This resurgence of female power and unity inspired me to create a magazine centered around female empowerment as my senior project. I wanted to create something that reflected the social dynamic of today as well as reached out to a larger audience. My hope is that this magazine will inspire other women to feel empowered and encourage people to challenge the status quo. Warmly, Catherine Van Weele


CONTENTS p. 5

Equallet

p. 7

Relationships

p. 9

Gender Roles

p. 12

Menstruation

p. 14

Women of Color

p. 16

Protests

p. 19

The Word Feminism

Shop Female

Feminism and Romance

From Childhood to Adulthood

Prejudice Against Periods

Representation in the Media

Women's Marches

What Feminisms Means Today

1


2


3


"By helping a woman owned business grow, she helps not only herself and her family but her employees, community and consumers."

Women owned businesses in Novato, California (top to bo om) Kathy's Pet Salon Kathy Mcfall Studio 4 Art Kebby McInroy

Bales Orthodon cs Ka e Bales Novato Pilates Rose Thomas & Gretchen Turzo

4


#DoBusinessWithHer #GenderEquality #WomenSupportWomen

Equallet is an online platform based in Santa Monica, California for consumers to search and discover female owned businesses. Derived from the combination of the two words equal and wallet, Equallet was founded by Stella McShera two years ago. “Equallet was born out of the necessity to find women owned businesses,” said McShera. “I spent almost two weeks looking, scouring the internet, calling organizations all the way up to the government level and found out that a comprehensive database for finding women owned businesses does not exist in the U.S. so I started building it.” McShera has been working with female founders and entrepreneurs for almost twenty years. Two years ago, she helped found a nonprofit organization called We Are Enough which educates women how and why to invest in women owned business. Shortly after founding the organization, McShera realized that investing in women isn’t the only way to support them. “In that first meeting, I thought, well not everyone has dollars to invest in women but everyone is a consumer,” McShera said. McShera founded Equallet in January of 2016 and launched the online platform in August last year. Consumers can search for a wide range of products and services such as restaurants, photographers, yoga studios, dentists, and real estate agents. Their goal is to encourage people to shop at women owned business and by doing so, Equallet believes it will help achieve gender equality for the benefit of the whole community. By helping people find and do business with women, they help to level the playing field. Female

entrepreneurs typically receive only 3-5% of venture capital and receive less than 30% of loans. If a man, hypothetically, gets $100,000 to market and develop his product, he will have the competitive advantage compared to the woman. Supporting women also helps the community economically. McShera states that women put about 80% of their salaries back into their families and community, while men only put in 20% or less. Additionally, women owned businesses are often better for employees. They have more diverse employees, tend to pay more, and provide more benefits. “By helping a woman owned business grow, she helps not only herself and her family but her employees, community and consumers,” said McShera. At this time, Equallet is in the L.A. market but in the coming years it will become a national platform. McShera is working alongside equity partners, Sarah Deane and James Mulkerin, to raise money for developing Equallet 2.0. It will be designed to provide hyper-personalized results for consumers searching for products and services. The updated platform will not only align people to their consumer needs, but find businesses with similar values that creating lasting relationships rather than simply transactions. Equallet is currently working with the Los Angeles Women’s March and will be co-hosting two events. They also recently produced a marketplace for women at the United State of Women Summit May 5-6th, 2018. For more visit, their website: www.equallet.com

"Not everyone has the dollars to invest in women, but everyone is a consumer."

5


WHO INSPIRES YOU? "The woman who is most inspirational to me is my mom. She was a single mom who raised four of us without any financial help from our father. She never felt sorry for herself and persevered with grace, even though life must have been very difficult. Looking back as a mom with my children, I realize how much she sacrificed to make our lives stable and happy. I have so much appreciation for her generosity, her strength, her attention to detail and her not resting until she felt like she has done every last thing she could for us in a day. Not out of duty or expectation, but out of love. She is incredible and strong!" -Penny Sullivan

"I am inspired by Hillary Clinton. Until recently, she spent her entire adult life in service to this country, improving the lives of Americans; her legacy is significant, widespread, and lasting. In spite of setbacks, she has moved forward, because, let’s face it, setbacks are a part of the journey; they will happen and it is in the act of learning from them and leveraging those experiences that enable you to get stronger and smarter and grow. She’s tough but is also intelligent, articulate, focused and very graceful and refined - and funny!" -Gail McCarthy

"There is one person that inspired me and is responsible for making me the confident, hard-working person I am today, my mother. My mother raised three young children on her own far away from any family or friends, we grew up in Hawaii, under tumultuous conditions, my father was an alcoholic and they divorced when I was very young. In order to support her family, my mom, at the age of 35, went to college to get her nursing degree. She worked full-time while finishing her nursing degree, working and studying 12 to 14 hours a day; yet she always showed a positive, loving, can-do attitude and made sure I knew I was loved and made me feel I could accomplish anything if I worked hard, was honest and had high integrity. She told me to never rely on anyone, that I was responsible for my own success and happiness, and if I wanted to succeed I had to work hard for it. I can't imagine who I would be if I didn't have my mother encouraging me and being a role model for what honestly and hard work can do for anyone." -Elizabeth Lee 6


Egalitarian Relationships

The Influence of Feminism on Modern Romance Feminism has long been accused of ruining relationships and killing romance. Some critics of feminism say a man wants a woman that is obedient and dutiful to her role as a housewife. They believe the role of the woman is to please the man and prioritize his needs and happiness above her own. Like Phyllis Schlafly, these critics believe in the sacredly of distinctly feminine duties. In traditional relationships, the primary role of the man is to be the breadwinner while the woman is responsible for household chores and childcare. Some, usually those who endorse traditional marital roles, believe feminism is creating a

generation of alpha women. They find these women to be micro-managers, overly competitive, domineering, and incapable of giving and receiving love. Feminism focuses on grooming female leaders instead of ensuring women are well-mannered wives. Being a feminist partner does not require being the dominant and the ultimate decision maker in the relationship, it is having love and respect for one another.

Studies have shown that people in egalitarian relationships, in which partners share responsibilities and benefits equally between themselves, have better and healthier relationships. When men and women contribute equally to household work,

finances, and the decision making process, there is greater long term stability. As Jenny McCarthy describes in her TED talk “What you don’t know about marriage�, men who are more willing to participate with household chores, the more the wife finds him attractive. The more attracted she is her husband, the more sex the couple will have. The more sex a couple has, the husband is happier and treats his wife better. The nicer the husband is, the nicer the wife is, and therefore the less she nags her husband. This creates an environment for a happy, loving relationship.

Splitting the housework equally does not necessarily mean each 7


partner is assigned to a specific chore, but rather taking turns for each separate chore. So rather than the wife always cooking the diner and the husband cleaning up the kitchen, for example, one night the wife would do the cooking and the next night the husband would make the meal. Gender equality and egalitarianism within a relationship often is based on and translates to a positive communication system between partners. Good communication provides a solid foundation to any good relationship; partners should feel comfortable sharing anything with their partner. Communication between partners is not only essential for decision making, but also a healthy sex life. People who value equality in a relationship report higher levels in sexual satisfaction. In relationships in which the women are expected to be submissive, both partners experience less sexual satisfaction. Perhaps this may be attributed to communication enabling for equal reciprocation of pleasure and therefore more enjoyable for both parties. Studies have also shown that egalitarianism not only benefits the couple in a romantic relationship, but their

children as well. In families in which the parents share housework and childcare, the children often do better school and are more likely to be successful later in life. Parents that value gender equality will also pass down those values to their children; this encourages their children will treat their partners as equals when they grow up. Men who strongly endorse traditional gender roles, specifically within relationships, are more likely to have a history of sexual coercive behaviors, are more likely to blame victims of rape, and are more accepting of intimate

Studies have shown that people in egalitarian relationships, in which partners share responsibilities and benefits equally between themselves, have better and healthier relationships.

H o w t o Av o i d R a p e c re a te d b y L i za D o n n e l l y

8

partner violence. An unhealthy relationship is when one partner wields all or the majority of power in the relationship. Signs of an unhealthy or abusive relationship include verbal or physical threats, manipulation, and not having friends or activities independent their partner. A happy relationship does not have based on traditional marital roles but rather creating an equal environment that allows for the romantic relationship to thrive.


GENDER ROLES &

GENDERIZED PRODUCTS

Gender roles and stereotypes are placed upon us even before we are born. Many expecting parents have gender reveals using the color blue to signify a boy and pink for a girl. Assigning colors, toys, appearances, and behaviors with a particular gender is a universal practice that begins in childhood and continues on through adulthood. By the age of three, children can identity objects that are associated with girls and those associated with boys. Gender stereotypes can be heavily rooted into a person’s belief system by the age of ten. From very early on, children learn that girls are to be vulnerable and boys are to be strong. These deep-rooted beliefs can be damaging for both genders. For girls, especially in early childhood, it is more socially acceptable for them to exhibit boyish qualities than it is for boys to be interested in girly activities. When girls dress in boy clothing, they are referred to as tomboys. However, if a boy wants to wear a dress or paint his nails, he is called a sissy and is more likely to encounter bullying and social condemnation.

Once puberty begins, the world tends to shrink for girls but expands for boys, especially regarding economic opportunities.

G ra c e M i l s te i n , fo o t b a l l p l aye r a t N o va t o H i g h S c ho o l

Once puberty begins, the world tends to shrink for girls but expands for boys, especially regarding economic opportunities. Women are expected to work in a care related occupation, raise their children, and run the household. Men, on the other hand, are encouraged to go to work, take on a serious career, and be the primary breadwinner. Anything otherwise is largely considered socially unacceptable. Enforcing gender norms can be harmful for both girls and boys. People may have low self-esteem issues because they feel that they are unable to live up to the expectations of the ideal man or woman. Failure to comply with societal norms may lead to being shunned from society, and sometimes by friends and family. Enforcing gender roles can result in engagement of risky and violent behaviors in men such as an increase in substance abuse. For women, gender roles can increase their exposure to violence and limit opportunities outside of the home. Gender roles are often introduced and expressed through the products people buy and use. Children's toys are separated into boy toys, such as Legos or trucks, and girl toys, such as dolls or tea sets. Many children toys are categorized by color with pink for girl toys and blue for boys. Assigning colors and toys to a particular gender from an early age can be damaging as it further cultivates gender norms. It reinforces gender roles which enables issues including low female employment rates in STEM related fields and the wage gap. 9


Such issues will persist as the concept of gender specific products continues into adulthood as well. Companies genderize various personal care items such as face wash, deodorants, and sun screen. Other unnecessarily genderized products include pens, gardening gloves, and ear plugs. A major identifying trait between genderized products for men and women is the color. Just as toys for children are labeled by color, the packaging and the product itself are often designed with lighter colors for women and darker colors for men. Interestingly, many of today’s feminine products or practices were once considered to be masculine. For example, in the era prior to World War II, pink was considered to be a masculine color. It derived from the color red and it was a bold and strong color, making it perfect for a man. During this time period, blue was a color best suited for women as it was a delicate and gentle hue. When a product begins to be used by women, men no long desire to use that same product as it becomes contaminated. Men often use brand items as a way to express their masculinity. This concept of gender

Becker and A ey are brother and sister and are dressed in each other's clothes

10

contamination encourages many companies to separate their products for men and women to increases profits, as men tend to not use the same products used by women. Commonly referred to as the pink tax, many of the products catered for women are priced slightly higher than the same products targeted for men. Most of these products are only a few cents more making it barely noticeable to the average consumer. While a few cents may not seem like a lot, over time the cost adds up. Forbes magazine states that genderizing products can cost women up to $1,400 more than men each year for personal care items. Continuing to abide by gender norms in society can be limiting for both women and men in many ways. However, it is clear that gender roles are especially damaging economically for young girls and women as consumers and workers. It is important to teach the younger generations to be aware of gender roles by pointing out stereotypes out and encouraging open discussion. Gender roles are not justifiable and must be eliminated to achieve equal access to opportunity for all people, regardless of gender.


THE PINK TAX

W

M

preschool toys

$21.65

$19.85

children's shirt

$15.82

$13.95

baby shoes

$17.67

$17.67

backpack

$25.99

$25.79

sweaters

$63.19

$59.45

adult shirt

$29.23

$25.51

lotion

$8.25

$7.43

deodorant

$4.91

$4.75

razor

$8.90

$7.99

body wash

$5.70

$5.40

shampoo

$8.39

$5.68

December 2015. New York City Department of Consumer Affairs.

11


Perceptions of Periods Menstruation and Me

The first time I got my period I was eleven years old. My mom was out of the house when I discovered the brownish, red stain in my underwear. I remember rushing into her arms the moment she got home and began sobbing uncontrollably. I was so upset. I recall thinking I didn’t want to have my period then or ever. Everything I had learned about periods from my peers and school made it sound absolutely awful. Cramps made you want to curl up and just lay in bed, PMS cause increased irritability and moodiness, hormones meant acne breakouts, and the list of terrible side effects of periods seemed endless. Sex education in the United States and abroad often fails to adequately educate young girls about their menstrual cycles. For the most part, girls are taught that the only products to manage periods are disposable pads and tampons. However, there are several other options to choose from: reusable cloth pads, sea sponge tampons, period panties, and menstrual cups. Furthermore, girls are not taught how to use these products at school which can be problematic considering many mothers do not educate their daughters about menstruation because of the surrounding stigma. Just being told to “stick the tampon up there” wasn’t exactly helpful advice. It took me about four cycles to master the art of precisely angling the tampon at the correct angle and 12

inserting it far enough inside to get the tampon in the proper position. Some women are able to properly insert a tampon on their first try, but for others it can take a few months or even years to use tampons. While I eventually learned how to use tampons effortlessly, I still despised them. I hated having to buy tampons at the store and would often ask for my mom to purchase them for me because I felt embarrassed to do so myself. When going to the bathroom or handing a tampon to a friend, I would always be sure to conceal the tampon in my pocket or sleeve. A study commissioned by Thinx, a company that makes feminine hygiene products, states that 73% of women have hidden a pad or tampon on their way to the bathroom. In addition, 44% of women have felt awkward buying tampons or pads in store and 15% of women buy their feminine care products online to avoid such situations. Women are taught that their periods are something to conceal. They are to deal with their periods quietly and alone. There is also fear of receiving negative reactions from other people, strangers and friends, if a woman talks openly about her period. The Thinx survey also found that 58% of women have felt embarrassed for simply being


33% of women are uncomfortable with the word vagina 62% of women feel uncomfortable using the word period 44% of women use nicknames to refer to their period 63% of women have canceled plans due to PMS or period pain 62% of women claim others have failed to take their period pain seriously 29% of women canceled plans such as swimming or exercising when on their period 40% of women admit to giving false explanations for canceling plans

on their period and 42% of women have experienced period shaming from family, classmates, or male friends. Period shaming is a universal issue. In some countries, such as Nigeria and Nepal, the stigma is so strong that menstruating women are forced to stay in isolated sheds for the duration of their periods. Not only is this practice of menstrual huts degrading, but very unsanitary, increasing the chance of infection. Many women, in countries all around the world, miss school due to limited access to feminine hygiene products. Women may not live near stores that sell menstrual care products or are unable to pay for these pricey personal care necessities. Without sanity feminine products, women are left to deal with their periods in discomfort and often in unsanitary conditions. Women are taught that their periods are something dirty and disgusting; that they must be hidden from others. My perception of periods followed society’s damaging perspective on menstruation for most of my life in that I believed my period was supposed to remain a shameful open secret. However, a few months ago I began using a menstrual cup and my views on periods have completely changed since. For me, the biggest benefit using a menstrual cup is being able to leave it in up to 12 hours. I no longer need to worry about going to the bathroom in between classes or waking up early in the morning to change my tampon as a means to prevent leakage and TSS, toxic shock syndrome. It gave me peace of mind; I stopped associated stress with my period. Because using a menstrual cup requires being very familiar with your female anatomy, I have become more in tune with my body and my period became normalized. Being more aware and knowledgeable of what is going on with my body made me more comfortable with it along with all of its functions. My first period using a menstrual cup I thought this method would be absolutely disgusting, but rather, I found it to be liberating. My period is no longer something I woefully dread each month, but rather I see it as a beautiful, natural process. Our whole lives girls learn that periods are a burden. We learn about our periods through negative perspectives and we continue to manage our periods believing we should be ashamed. Periods must be normalized. I believe if we teach girls from an early age to embrace all parts and processes of their bodies, period positivity will grow. Open discuss about menstruation can only serve to reduce the stigma of periods and allows for people get familiarized and comfortable with this subject. As the sigma around periods is reduced, it allows for selflove and confidence to rise. 13


Women of

Color ....

On Screen It remains no secret that women continue to be treated unfairly in Hollywood. Women struggle with getting lead and speaking roles as well as experience issues such as wage gap inequality, hyper sexualization, and lack of representation. These issues are only amplified for actresses of color. Women of color face under representation as well as misrepresentation.

14

Most roles portrayed by women of color reiterate racial stereotypes. It is not uncommon to see the sassy black lady, the quiet and smart Asian girl, or the flirty, feisty Latina. These stereotyped roles create onedimensional, sidelined characters which reflects the behaviors society has come to expect from these ethnic or racial groups. For a long time, people of color were just grateful to see a face of color on screen even when they were being portrayed as unflattering stereotypes. Today some racial and ethnic groups still don’t have any platform featuring women and people of color such as Native Americans and Middle Easterns. The behaviors of racial minority are stereotyped along with the physical appearances of women of color. Countless actresses of color are able to recall criticisms accusing them of not looking ethnic enough, and sometimes reversibility looking too

white to play a character of color. Latina actresses such as Gina Rodriguez and Camilla Mendes have been criticized for not being Latina enough, whether that be not having darker colored hair, tanned skin tones, or being fluent in the language of Latin countries. Actresses of mixed ethnicities also face difficulties finding roles as they are not easily boxed into one category. Chloe Bennet changed her last name, which was originally Wang, so she would be able to casted in more roles in Hollywood. She was once told by a casting director that she wasn’t white enough to play the main character but not Asian enough to be the best friend either. This practice reflects the failure to see diversity within diversity. Every individual woman of color is unique and has her own story to tell; they are more than just stereotypes. Casting women and people of color that fit a specific stereotype only further


promotes discrimination and feeds into a culture of unconscious biases. Hollywood’s exclusion of actress of color is evident in history of Oscar nominations and awards. In Nancy Wang Yuen’s book, Reel Inequality, she writes that no actor or actress of Asian, Latin, or indigenous descent have been awarded an acting Oscar in the last 15 years. Only one woman has even won Best Actress, and that was in 2002 for Halle Berry’s performance in Monster’s Ball. This lack of validation is largely contributed to the lack of roles available for actresses of color. A study by University of Southern California found in the top 100 movies in 2016, only three actresses of color were in lead or co-lead roles. While creating stories that celebrate the history of minority groups will always remain relevant and important, these stories often don’t reflect the life of an average person of color. Today there are so many books, movies, and TV shows on coming of age stories for young adults, however there are very few with a woman of color as the protagonist. Whitewashing has always been a prevalent issue in Hollywood and is still exhibited in many movies filmed today. The practice of whitewashing is casting a white actor for a role that was intended to be played by a person of color. It is largely driven, in part, to Hollywood’s belief that white sells. There is a bias, conscious and unconscious, that white is the default race, therefore it creates a basis that white characters are neutral characters that are relatable to all people. Ironically, several recent major motion picture films that whitewashed their cast are considered to be financial failures including Ghost in a Shell, Aloha, and Pan. Movies and shows with diverse casts are actually often very successful in terms of viewership.

Women of color must be represented accurately in Hollywood so they have to ability to inspire the younger generations. Black Panther, Fresh Off the Boat, Get Out, and Jane the Virgin are a handful of many successful movies and TV shows proving that diversity sells. The lack of diversity on screen may also be attributed to the lack of diversity behind the screens. According to the USC study, out of the top 100 movies each year from 2007 to 2016, only three directors were African American women and only two were females of Asian descent. An increase of women of color as directors, producers, talent agents, writers, casting directors, and other behind the scene jobs would only serve to better portray

the lives of women of color as they truly are and to authenticate their stories. Women of color must be represented accurately in Hollywood so they have to ability to inspire the younger generations. Movies and shows with women of color protagonists not only serve as role models for girls of color, but also serve to inform those who know very little about the lives of minority groups. It can only formulate or deepen perspectives. Hollywood must work harder to share the stories women of color with the rest of the world. 15


March. Vote. Progress.

In 1913, the day before President Wilson Woodrow’s inauguration, suffragettes marched in Washington D.C. demanding to be given the right to vote. It wasn’t until seven years later that the 19th Amendment would be passed, prohibiting the federal or state governments from denying a person the right to vote based on their sex. A century later, women are still taking to the streets fighting for equality.

The 2017 Women’s March was a tremendous display of female power. The day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, women’s marches took place all across the country. Officials estimated that 4.2 billion people participated across the nation, making it the largest day of protest in United States history. Trump winning the presidential election was a wake up call for many people that action must be taken if they wanted to see change occur. 16

On January 20th, a second Women’s March was held nationwide on the anniversary of last year’s event. For the 2018 Women’s March, the focus was on voting. The march encouraged women to go out and vote in the midterm elections for candidates who reflect their shared values and who will push for such legislation. “For me, this year felt really positive, both of them were positive. One felt more protest, and this felt action in terms of we are really looking at voting,” said Novato High English teacher Susan Lehman.

Lehman attended the 2017 Women’s March in Oakland and participated in a sister march in Sonoma County this year. She stated that she will be voting in the midterm elections and recognizes the importance of having moderate candidates.

“I do think it is important that we build consensus. I will always vote for candidates that are looking at social justice and issues pertaining to people, but I also believe that our democracy has to have a balance,” Lehman said. “So I think that having candidates that are willing to build consensus and compromise is something I have to look at, maybe at centrists, more than perhaps I am.”

Some women want to do more than march and vote. This year, in what is being referred to as the Pink Wave, a record number of women are planning to run for government offices on the local, state, and federal levels. While nothing is for certain, it is possible for many women candidates to be elected into offices across the country this year.

Sentiments of the #MeToo Movement were very prominent at this


year’s march. Speakers at multiple marches shared their #MeToo stories and protesters brought signs denouncing sexual harassment and assault.

“I think the most powerful thing about women’s marches is that it breaks the feeling of isolation and, sometimes shame, that victims of sexual assault feel. It is a clear message that they are not alone which is very powerful even for the women who do not actually attend the marches. It is also demonstrates a flexing of political power, ie. voting power, that elected officials have to pay attention to,” said Novato High counselor Nonie Reyes. “In this age, when the highest office of the land is occupied by someone who has treated women in a degrading way, it is very important to push back and clearly voice that is not acceptable.”

In addition to women’s rights, people marched for a wide range of social issues. Protesters brought signs supporting issues such as environmentalism, immigration, and the LGBTQ community. The 2018 Women’s March especially emphasized

the empowerment of women of color and encouraged their election into offices to provide females and racial minorities a stronger voice in government. This reflects the call for intersectional feminism. Intersectional feminism is recognizing overlapping identities women may have, such as ethnicity or social class, and how that influences their experiences with social injustice.

“Well, I think that intersectionality is important in any movement. It seems like feminism is trying to understand that there has to be diversity within,” Lehman said. “Intersectionality can only help. The more informed we are about other people’s experiences, the better off our decisions will be.”

Throughout history, in the United States and abroad, women have taken an active role is social issues outside of feminist matters. In 1917, on International Women’s Day, Russian women led tens of thousands of workers on strike to protest the overpriced food prices. In 2000, the Million Mom March took place in Washington D.C. marching

for stricter gun control. In 2016, South African high schoolers protested the school’s racially discriminative hair policy which resulted in the policy being suspended. Women of today continue to persist and march for their own rights as well as the freedoms of others.

“I believe that in 2018, more young women will feel empowered to tell their stories or stand up for their rights,” Reyes added. “The space has open up for them to do so knowing they will be supported. Young women more than ever have an understanding of the intersects between women’s rights, racial and economic justice.”

The momentum of this new wave of feminism is continuing to build, as we have entered a period of open discussion on issues that had long been silenced. However, there needs to be more than conversation, there needs to be action and change. The Women’s March has recognized this need and through encouraging people to take to the polls, it has cultivated hope that votes will result in the necessary changes being made.

2 0 1 8 Wo m e n ' s M a rc h o n M a r ke t S t . i n S a n F ra n c i s c o, C a l i fo r n i a

17


18


Feminism Today

For the longest time, I would never consider myself a feminist. I thought the word meant being angry, that it meant being aggressive; that it was a very radical idea. It was something I did not want to associate myself with. I would hear the word the feminazi and that lead me to believe that the feminist movement did not reflect my values of gender equality. However, in the last several months, I’ve come to realize that I was wrong about feminism and I now proudly call myself a feminist. Throughout the last few decades, feminism has been twisted to become something negative as an effort to undermine the movement. Feminism isn’t angry and it isn’t radical. It is simply the fight for equality between the sexes. The term feminazi is defamatory. It compares a group of people fighting for social justice to a group of people who engaged in discriminatory, genocidal behaviors. Feminists and Nazis should never be used as synonymous terms. These derogatory statements only hinder on the movement of gender equality as feminism becomes associated with a great evil. One of the arguments against feminism is the

belief that equality already exists and women are perceived to be equals in the eyes of law. Others believe that it is the natural role of women to remain in the household and to be subservient to men. It is the way it always has been and the way it should remain. Some fear losing power, losing control, losing a sense of masculinity- that the goal of feminism is to become more powerful than men. Feminism is not anti-male. Isolated incidents of misandry do occur, but misandry as active oppression against men is just a myth. Those who believe men are being unfairly discriminated against are confusing misandry with providing historically inaccessible opportunities to women. Feminism is not about revoking male power and replacing it with a female tyranny, but rather focuses on the sharing of social power between genders. It is about being treated the same as their male counterparts. While a lot of progress has been made, women’s rights remain a prominent issue around the world. At its core, feminism is about having choice. Choice to remain in the home and watch their children grow up, choice to go out and have a long, successful

19


career, choice to live her life as she pleases without having

to be constrained by economic or social restrictions. The idea of an angry feminist derives from fear of change. Changing social norms, especially those that have existed since the creation of man, is a very uncomfortable process for many. The fight for gender equality has been a long and tedious battle. Feminist sentiments can be traced back to ancient Greece, yet it was not until the late 1800s, during early first wave feminism, for the term feminism to be coined.

First wave feminism is the era of suffragettes. Women marched for the right to vote and won that right in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th amendment. While women obtained this basic civil liberty, there was a lot of progress that still needed to occur. We see a resurgence of the fight for equality in the second half of the 20th century.

From the stories women tell, we can only learn and deepen our understandings on a wide range of social injustices in our society.

This is the era of second wave feminism. Most notably from this era is the Equal Rights Amendment. While Congress failed to pass this proposed piece of legislation, second wave feminist laid the groundworks for many of the movements to come such as reproductive rights, workplace inequality, and domestic violence. Third wave feminism began in the 1990s. These feminists focused on female sexuality and wanted to reclaim derogatory terms against women such bitch, slut,

and whore. This is the wave in which the feminist movement began to take on intersectionality. Intersectional feminism is understanding that woman have overlapping identities, such as socioeconimic class or sexual orientation, and due to these many identities not all women have the same experiences with prejudice and discrimination. Today, feminist movement, and the Women’s March organization in particular, is using intersectionality to fuel their movement. The Women's March has realized that inclusiveness only serves to strengthen their cause. There is a greater understanding of the importance of listening to the experiences of all women. Because the experience of a Caucasian lesbian woman is very different from that of Black woman living in poverty which in turn differs from the story a first-generation woman immigrant from East Asia. From the stories women tell, we can only learn and deepen our understandings on a wide range of social injustices in our society and therefore ensure enacted change benefits the whole. The more informed we are about the struggles of other marginalized groups, the more we reach out and listen to their stories, and the more we work together, it allows for the movement to strengthen and the world to become a better place for all. We are currently in fourth wave feminism. Feminism is reclaiming it’s true and original meaning: it is the theory of political, economic, social equality of the sexes; organized activity on behalf women's rights and interest. It is returning to a message of positivity and empowerment. Feminism was named MerriamWebster’s dictionary word of the year in 2017. It once again has become a word that embodies inner strength and signifies communal tenacity encouraging long overdue change. The time is now. Woman are ready for real change, and we have been ready for quite some time.

20


M eig an V an W Jo ee yc e R le od rig ue z Add y R oac h Koto T akeda

Jasmine Wash ravia han Sa Kiara C and An n i l a Sha ey ss a r M y cke se Be as M y te t A

Thank you to everyone who helped me

create this magazine. Your time and effort

is greatly appreciated.

Timeline photos and images via Google search Pink Tax illustra ons via Google search Flowered Uterus by Malaya Gibson Protest Graphic from The Spectator Women of the World Unite by Jennifer Lemus

in te ils M ce rs a r ye G M a lin Po er leek B e ti Hat

anaka Mitch T

Ashe Chenne Priana A

quino Jen nife r Le mus Ma lay a G Kr ibs ist on in Va n W ee le

Profile for cvanweele

The Feminist  

This is a magazine created for a school project that centers around female empowerment and other feminist matters.

The Feminist  

This is a magazine created for a school project that centers around female empowerment and other feminist matters.

Profile for cvanweele