March 8th is International Women’s Day and while equality for women has made great strides since its inception in 1909, we still have a long way to go. Why does the antiquated notion of female inferiority still exist? Do these problems exist solely because of men or are women just as much to blame?
1. Slut Shaming
Women are held to a different standard than men regarding sex. A women is supposed to remain pure and untouched until marriage and then magically turn into a nympho lest her husband call her frigid. Men are free to have sex with as many partners as they wish without judgement, in fact the more the better. A women doesn’t even have to be sexually active in order to be called a slut. Just wearing a short skirt or low cut top is enough to earn the title. However it’s not just men throwing the “s” word around, women are just as guilty. We should lead by example and take words that only exist to damage the self esteem of others out of our vocabularies. Let’s all remember that there is no correlation between the notches in a women’s bedpost and her value in society.
2. Traditional Gender Roles
There is an unwritten rule in most households that the woman will fulfill most of the domestic and childcare duties. This was somewhat reasonable when the the man of the house was the only breadwinner, but today most women also work outside of the home. This bizarre arrangement continues without question and it is up to women to demand a fair division of labor. How often do you hear a man being asked how he manages taking care of his home, children and a full time job? I never have, but it is a routine question for women. The ability to cook clean and do laundry are not related to gender.
3. Like A Girl
The breakout commercial of the 2015 Super Bowl, the Always “Like a Girl” ad which brought to the forefront a saying that even in this age of political correctness is still perfectly acceptable. In the spot adult participants and one boy are asked to do things like run and throw like a girl. They predictably do so in a very awkward and comical manner because to do something, in particular something athletic, like a girl is really code for doing something poorly. The next group of participants are young girls and when asked to run like a girl they don’t find anything funny about the request. They run as fast as they can because they don’t know that there are expectations placed on them to be incompetent before they act.
4. Wage Disparities
In 2013 women earned 78 percent of what men earned and these gaps exists in varying amounts in nearly every occupation. These disparities exist even in Hollywood as shown by the leaked Sony emails scandal. Both Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence received less back end compensation than their male co stars. Anyone questioning their importance to the film should be aware that both actresses were nominated for Oscars for their roles in the film. Former Sony Pictures Entertainment cochair Amy Pascal had this to say “People want to work for less money, I pay them less money.” I don’t know anyone who would knowingly request to receive less compensation than a coworker. However, if you don’t know what they are being paid how can you know what you are receiving is fair. Until these wage gaps close women need to be proactive in terms of negotiating their salaries. The one thing that Amy Pascal did say that made sense,”Women should know what they are worth.” Perhaps if companies were forced to be transparent about wages that might be possible.
Meninisim is a relatively new movement that is based on the notion that men are equally objectified as women. How many of these meninists are truly serious and how many are purely in it as a joke is unclear, but what has been made clear by this is just how misunderstood the term feminist is. Feminism is not about hating men or thinking that women are better then men. Feminism was born out of the need for women’s equality. It’s been nearly 100 years since the nineteenth amendment was passed and fight isn’t over yet.
International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to appreciate how far we’ve come and to look forward to to where we are headed in the future.