Feminism


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Rape and Sexual Assault

rape stats1 out of every 6 women and 1 in 33 men in America has been a victim of completed or attempted sexual assault. 44% will be under the age of 18, and 80% will be under 30. Only 32% of rapes are reported to the police, and 98% of rapists will never be convicted for their crimes. Less than every two minutes, someone in America will be sexually assaulted. Despite these statistics, most people still refuse to address rape and other sexual crimes as a serious problem.

Even though rape happens more often to women, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen to men. Males who are raped by females often face double standards in court and receive even less sympathy than female rape victims. In some case, they are even accused as the rapist because of the stigmatism that only males can be a rapist (LeTrent).

Not only in court do male rape victims face, but also from the rest of the world. For example, Molly Shattuck, a former NFL cheerleader, has been convicted for third degree rape of a fifteen year old boy. These are some comments made from men on Facebook: “He is lucky…I wish it was me. Where were these type of women when I was 15? When you 15 and gettin’ an NFL cheerleader to take you to pound town its not rape, its called getting a hook up” (Keneally). It is men who say things like this that get such a bad rap from feminists.

Another issue that our society commits is victim blaming, believing that it was the victim’s fault for being raped, not the actual rapist. One example of this is from Nirbhaya Delhi Gang Rape. Going home after watching a movie at her friends house, “Jyoti Singh was assaulted and gang raped on the bus…and was subsequently thrown from the bus. She received emergency treatment, including several surgeries, but died because of the serious nature of her injuries that she attained in the assault” (India’s). Later, after her rapists were arrested and in prison, one said this about Singh: “A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy, a decent girl would not roam around at nine o’clock at night…doing wrong things, wearing wrong things” (India’s). But what’s the worst part about victim blaming is that it had invaded all groups. From court attorneys, to high school freshmen, to actual rapists themselves.

One major factor with victim blaming is about what the victim was wearing, the previous sexual relations they had with the rapist, and that they didn’t flat out say no. They say that if a woman is out and about wearing revealing clothes, then she is just asking to be raped. After being raped, they’ll often say, “What was she expecting, wearing something like that?” Maybe she was just expecting to have a fun night out with her friends. Another problem is that most people don’t understand that no means no. I recently went through a self defence class at my school, and one of guest speakers was telling us about a tie she was talking to group of boys about sexual consent. She asked them this question: How many times does a girl say no before she really means it? She hoped that they would know that the obvious answer is only once, and that as soon as someone says no, they should know that they should stop. But sadly, this was not the case. The boys agreed on general consensus that after the third time a girl says no, they should stop. They decided that the first she doesn’t really mean it, and at the next she might be having second thoughts, and only at the third time does she really not want to do this. The only time anyone should engage in sexual activity is when both parties say an overwhelming yes.

Our society is teaching girls that it is their responsibility to make sure they are not raped, by making the right decisions and not doing or wearing anything that could give someone “the wrong idea.” Women have to be careful about what they drink at parties, who they talk to, not to invite too much attention to themselves, not to walk home alone, or else they were basically asking to be raped. But let me ask you, did the 1/33 boys who are raped have their cleavage showing, were 28% of US children wearing shorts too short (Child)? Rape is not about sexual desire – rape is about power and humiliation. Instead of teaching women what to do to avoid getting raped, we need to be teaching everyone not to rape.


Works Cited

“Child Sexual Abuse Statistics.”  Victims of Crime. National Center for Victims of Crime, n.d. Web. 30 Apr 2015.

India’s Daughter. Dir. Leslee Undwin. Perf. Badri Singh, Mukesh Singh. BBC,  9 Mar 2015. Web. 28 Apr 2015.

Keneally, Meghan. “Former Ravens Cheerleader, Molly Shattuck, Charged With Rape of Teen.” ABC News. ABC, 5 Nov 2014. Web. 28 Apr 2015.

LeTrent, Sarah. “Against His Will: Female-On-Male Rape.” CNN. CNN, 10 Oct 2013. Web. 28 Apr 2015.

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Non-Feminists

Why do some people choose not to be feminists? I have concluded that these people fall into one or more of these categories: they either actually believe that only men are capable of doing all the work, or they don’t know what feminism truly stands for. Others do know what it stands for, but they do not see the need for it in our society.

Looking throughout history, it is pretty evident that men’s names come up much more often than women’s. Just looking at U.S. history, women received the right to vote in 1920 — not even one hundred years ago, and even then it took well over a century for women to win that right (The Fight). All of America’s past presidents there is one thing that they all have in common: that they are all men. It is very plausible to see how some can believe that only men are made for work and making all the decisions. The media is also to blame for this belief. Typing in a quick Google search of the word “boss,” I was greeted with mostly angry males sitting at a desk yelling at people. It took a full minute of scrolling to find a picture with solely a female in it, and this was the image:

woman boss

I don’t really know what this has to do with being a boss, but she hardly seems ready to manage a company.

The most common misconception about feminists is that they are in reality just misandrists. These “feminists” have received the nickname of “feminazis, “ though I dont know why it seemed okay to compare an equal rights movement after the mass genocide of millions of people. But these ‘feminazis”  are by no means real feminists. They are close minded, sexist women who believe in female superiority, and think that anyone who doesn’t agree with one of their points is a misogynist. They are opposed to every man and thinks that all of them are rapists, opposed to knowing that not all men are out to get them. On the other hand, a real feminist is someone who supports women’s rights and believes in gender equality. They are open minded, educated people, and believe or not, they can also be male. People nowadays should be able to tell the difference between the two.

Yet the worst non-feminists are those who know fully well what it stands for, but just simply don’t think it’s needed. Either they themselves don’t feel victimized by the patriarchy, or they just really don’t see why or where sexism is a problem. When I say that I’m a feminist, some people, even my friends, have laughed at me and said that women already have their rights. While they laugh at me, they are also laughing at the fifteen million girls who will be child brides this year, they are laughing at millions of young girls who will sold into slavery, they are laughing at the 70% of women in India who are victims of domestic abuse. They are laughing at the one in five women in the United States who are victims of rape, and at all of the people in the world who are discriminated against because of their gender (Sawyer). I don’t laugh at their rape jokes, I don’t laugh when they tell me to “Get in the kitchen and make me a sandwhich,” I don’t laugh at their utter ignorance and neglect at an issue as important as this.

In conclusion, those who chose to not identify as feminists have either bought into what the patriarchy has fed them, or they have been put off feminism by misandrists. If you ever encounter one of these people, please educate them about what feminism truly is and what it stands for. But to those who deliberately choose not to be feminists and support equal rights, know that basic human rights are not funny, and that the suffering an entire gender is not a joke you are allowed to make.


Works Cited

“The Fight for Women’s Suffrage.” history.com. History Channel, n.d. Web. 23 Mar 2015.

Sawyer, Lisa. “Upsetting Domestic and Sexual Violence Statistics.” NBC. NBC, 7 Jan 2015. Web. 23 Mar 2015.

 

 

 


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Men and Feminism

Do men face similar struggles that women face? Despite popular feminist belief, the answer is yes! Men face unrealistic standards from the media, men face pressure at home and the workplace, men can have troubles being masculine! And these men need feminism, because the problem here is still the patriarchy.

One of the things that men suffer from is a constant pressure to be “manly.” According to the editors of askmen.com, “strength, reliability and action are all still core parts of what makes a man’s man” (AskMen). Even though all of these can be said to be admirable traits, you don’t have to meet all of these requirements to be accepted by society. Boys can cry, boys can break down, boys can have a hard time being manly. But why is it acceptable for girls to openly cry and show emotion, but not boys? Because society perceives these feminine traits, and as Jessica Valenti says in her novel He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know, “it’s demeaning to be female, and boys learn that from an early age” (Valenti). Society needs to learn that showing emotion for something, caring about something, is not something to be ashamed of. Everybody has cracks in their walls, even men, and they need to know that it is alright to let others see that, instead of trying to cover it up for the sake of “being a man.”

As children, when they walk in to any store, there is the boy side and the girl side. On Toys “R” Us website, these are some of the toys categorized for boys: a Minecarft Foam Diamond Sword, a green quad ride-on, and a variety of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures. For girls, there was a pink and purple Dora ATV, an Elsa doll, but not single play sword, or any other type of weapon.  (paragraph continues under photos)

Let’s look at the difference between the boy and girls ATVs. Literally the only difference is in the color of the vehicle. But why are two of basically the same product put in different categories on the site? Is masculinity really so fragile that it feels threatened by a color? Also, when it comes to activities, boys are also very limited. Whereas girls are not harassed for being a part of the basketball, soccer, or lacrosse team, if a boy so much as dares to pick up the pom-poms or put on leotard, he is in for a rough time. But sometimes the taunts go too further. At Folsom Middle School, a twelve year old boy committed suicide. He was endlessly bullied by his classmates, which was the cause of why he took his life. Why? Because he was a cheerleader. All because he chose to not take up football or wrestling, he is no longer with us. According to his parents,  Ronin was a child “not afraid to follow his heart, and we did everything in our power to allow him to pursue his passions while protecting him from the minority that could not understand the specialness he possessed” (Kalb). All because of the close-mindedness of others, and their rejection of a male cheerleader, a mere seventh-grader found it necessary to take his life.

A rising concern in the feminist community is the growing popularity in “meninsim,” a men’s right activist group. From what I can gather, these men are trying to rally against some of the double standards that do not work in their favor. Upon typing “meninist” into a Google image search, here are some of the posts I found:

Some of these claims are rightly made. Men shouldn’t have to feel obligated to do things for women, just because they are men. And there is definitely a double standard on men’s preferences in women and women’s preference in men. Women shouldn’t have the ability to discriminate against men who don’t suit their personal, while men are ridiculed when they even make the slightest negative comment on a woman’s appearance. But the third photo here is what is wrong with meninsm. Meninists are actively advocating for their own rights, but are ignoring women’s desperate needs. And what most of these guys don’t realize is that feminism actually advocates for men’s rights, too (Wow, what a concept!). The common misconception of feminism is that it does not fight for gender equality, but for the superiority of men. They may feel threatened because more powerful women are coming into the world, and realizing that they have purpose, too. The rise of women does not mean the downfall of men (Hart).

Feminism is the promotion of gender equality, which includes men. If you see a women who claims to be a feminist, but is really just hating on men all the time, call her out on it. People don’t seem to realize that feminism also deals with the destructive way that society has been telling boys to “man up.” It’s feminism that says that men deserve to be heard, too. It’s feminism that says that a man’s emotions are valid, and that their problems are just as legitimate as female ones. It’s feminism that says that “meninism is not a thing, because as I said before, the problem is still the patriarchy. As Emma Watson said in her UN Women Speech, “It is time that we all perceive gender (equality) on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideals” (Watson). It’s time for men and women to join together, and create a world where everyone is seen as equal, regardless of their gender.


Works Cited

Hart, Lee Anne. “Meninism On the Rise.” NightVale. Welcome to Night Vale, 13 February 2015. Web. 28 February 2015.

Kalb, Loretta. “Ronin Shimizu, Folsom Seventh-grader who committed Suicide.” Sacbee.com.  Sacramento Bee, 8 Dec. 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2015.

“Traits of a Real Man.” AskMen. Ask Men, 26 February  2015. Web. 28 Feb. 2015.

Valenti, Jessica. He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 OTher Double Standards Every Women Should Know. Berkeley: Candlewick, 2008. Print.

Watosn, Emma. “He for She.” Youtube. Youtube, 21 Sept. 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2015.


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Sexism and Feminism in the Media

When it comes to the media, there a very mixed opinions on it. Some view it as the root of all evil, while others idolize it. So when it comes to feminism and sexism, there are many different arguments and points on it.

miley  nick-jonas-sexy-flaunt-magazine-cover

In the past couple of years, some of our Disney stars have begun to grow up. When Miley Cyrus came back on the media’s radar, it was because of her new “sexy” look. After the release of her “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” music videos, many people found her new personality and antics as wild and out of control. But when Nick Jonas came out with this photoshoot in which he his stripped down to his underwear and even shows the camera a little bit of butt crack, he is praised for it and the media claims “he is coming out of his shell.” Society needs to stop with the double standards, and should defer from having two opinions over the same issue just because of their gender.

Over the past month or two, there has been a lot of talk of sexual abuse and unhealthy relationships on YouTube, one of the world’s largest media platforms. It first began almost a year ago when it came to light that Alex Day, who had over one million subscribers at the time, that “[he] created situations that put people under enormous pressure” (Baker-Whitelaw). Many came forth saying that they, personally, had been part of a manipulative relationship with him. More recently, Sam Pepper had become possibly the most infamous YouTuber yet. Pepper is known on YouTube for his prank videos, but one went too far, and led to the downfall of his career. In his video ‘Fake Hand *ss Pinch Prank,’ he is seen roaming the streets of London grabbing the butts of passerby women as a ‘joke.’ Some of previous videos before this one had been pretty close to crossing the line as harassment, but this one definitely received the most buzz. After all of the hate that the video received, some girls began to confess their less than enjoyable experiences with Sam. Dottie Martin says that on date with the YouTube star, who had well over two million subscribers, “he tried to touch me around my chest area,” also that “he was holding my hand and he put it on his crotch area and moved it closer, but I pulled it away.” Later after Sam had gone, she says: “I felt I was doing something I wasn’t meant to be doing, which was refusing.” Is this not wrong-that a women, a person, a human being, would feel like it was their fault for refusing, when they were the one’s on the receiving end of potential assault? (McCamley). But Sam Pepper has been known to go even farther than a little butt pinch or boob grab here and there, he has been accused of rape. Days after his ‘*ss Pinch’ video had been uploaded, one person chose to speak out. In the video below, an anonymous girl tells of her experience with Pepper at his apartment in Los Angeles. She went in not knowing what to expect, not being familiar with his online persona. Only after minutes after her arrival, Sam had led her to his bedroom. Even after she had repeatedly refused him, he kept coming on to her. He then forced her onto his bed and stripped both of their clothes off. Despite the fact that that he overpowered her, she kept refusing. While committing the rape, he kept telling her “Shut up, shut up,” until he was satisfied and then just walked up and left the apartment, with her still in his bedroom. This is a man that had an audience of two and a half million people, made up of mostly impressionable young girls. If these are the type of people that media elevates, then what is it teaching today’s youth? That it is normal and acceptable to be in an abusive relationship. That women are susceptible to this kind of thing, that they are not allowed use their voice.

Also, there cannot be equal rights if their is not equal censorship. In movies and other related media, a woman’s boobs are not allowed to be shown. If they are shown, the movie automatically receives an R-Rating, and people under the age of eighteen are not allowed to legally view it. Why? The anatomy of our breasts and breast tissues are structure, except that the female one has a dramatic increase in fat after the age of puberty (Israel).  paragraph continues under photo

man-vs.-woman-nipple

Yet, when a woman is seen without a top on it is obscene and she is labelled as a slut and some other terms far much worse. But if a guy posts a topless photo, he’s considered self-confident and no one thinks anything of it. The majority of teenagers in this day and age see humans killed in the movies and play video games in which they can shoot and torture people by the time they are eighteen – I think they can handle a nipple.

Taylor Swift is arguably one of the most talked about celebrities of the past decade. It has been rough on her, having all of her life out in the open for the world since she was sixteen. One of the biggest things the media loves to speculate about is her love life. In one interview, she says, “You’re always gonna have people who say, ‘Oh, she only writes about ex boyfriends,’ and frankly, I think that’s a very sexist angle to take. No one says that about Ed Sheeran or Bruno mars. They’re all writing songs about their exes, their current girlfriends, their love lives. And no one is raising a red flag there” (Merrick). Taylor makes a compelling argument here. No one is incessantly bashing Ed Sheeran for singing of his past loves. No one is hiding outside of a male celebrities house, hoping to snap a picture of them without make up on.

Also, in the year of 2013, in the top grossing films of the year, only 15% of the protagonists were female, and only made up about 29% of all major characters. If that was not bad enough, they only comprised 30% of all speaking roles. Women remain drastically under-represented in the world of film (Lauzen). No one can argue about these facts. When are we going to stand up against such blatant misogyny?

But the media is not only a voice for the sexists of the world, but also one for the feminists. Recently, Emma Watson gave a very compelling speech at the United Nations on feminism. This has spurred many other celebrities to “come of the closet” as feminists, as pictured below.    paragraph continues under photos

whoopiBenedict-Cumberbatch-ELLE-Feminism-TShirt1obama-feminist

YouTube is also a very positive media platform, where after the outing of Sam Pepper, it spurred a lot of discussion about sexual and rape culture, helping to  inform their audiences about healthy relationships. This including the music video for a song called ‘Consent,’ by a popular comedy duo Jack & Dean, where the song talks about the importance of consent in a relationship and sex in a comical approach. Also, there is the song ‘Little Games,’ about breaking the social construct of gender roles, performed by an up-and-coming YouTube musical star Benny, a fifteen year old boy. Colbie Caillat, an already well-known name in the music industry, recently released the music video for her song ‘Try,’ in which she and a handful of her famous friends strip off all of their make-up. The song teaches girls that they do not have to try so hard to be liked by everyone, that they need to keep it slim, or go shopping all day, if it doesn’t make them happy. There has been a release of some very pro-feminism commercials released: one by Always, and the other by the NFL. In the commercial from Always, titled ‘Like a Girl,’ they address the degrading phrase ‘like a girl,’ which is often used to mean weakness or unsatisfactory. By the end of the advert, it makes you think that ‘like a girl,’ could also mean do the best that you can. In the NFL’s No More video, different football stars stand up and use their voice to help end domestic violence.

The media is a very mixed bag. So just be wary of what you see online and in the tabloids. Try to view the world through a feminist lens!


Here are the videos that I mentioned in this post. I highly encourage you check them out!

Consent:

Little Game:

Try:

NFL:

Always:

Anonymous Sam Pepper Confession (WARNING: Explicit Content):


Works Cited

Baker-Whitelaw, Gavia. “Alex Day and the dangers of YouTube celebrity culture.” DailyDot. Daily Dot, 15 Mar. 2014. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.

Israel, Beth. “Anatomy of the Breast.” Mammary. Beth Israel Health Care System, n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.

Lauzen, Martha M. Ph.D. “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: On Screen Representations of Female Characters in the Top 100 Films of 2013.” womenintv. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.

McCamley, Frankie. “YouTube star Sam Pepper faces sexual harassment claims.” NewsBeat. BBC, n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.

Merrick, Jules. “Taylor Swift’s 1989 secrets and response to SEXIST song speculation.” YouTube. YouTube, 19 Oct. 2014. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.


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Feminism and Why We Need It

When most people hear the word “feminist” many things go through their mind. Man-hating women. Women who believe that they deserve special privileges. But none of these are what the they truly believe in: equality. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, feminism is “the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power,  and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way” (Cambridge Dictionary). Some don’t even see the problem, not understanding what the fuss is about, and that men and women are treated equally now anyway, and don’t understand all the fuss that is being made about it.

Well, I see a problem when asking a trio of eighth graders what they thinking women are capable of, they respond with “sex and making sandwiches.” I see a problem when I see a boy being shamed in the hallway for wearing a pink shirt. I see a problem when girls being sent home from school everyday because their clothes are deemed “to distracting for other students,” showing us that a male’s education is more important than theirs.

Most instances of gender discrimination often goes unnoticed, because they have become so normal they are almost invisible. Like why are all of our sports not co-ed? Why do we have separate bathrooms, separate sections in the stores? Why are we segregating ourselves? Why is it so ignored by our society? Sexism has become so deeply ingrained into our society that it is not even addressed. There are many parallels between racism and sexism. According to Laurence Thomas, a professor of philosophy and political at Syracuse, “racist attitudes are relatively easier to give up than sexist ones” (Thomas 240). In his essay, “Sexism and Racism: Some Conceptual Differences,” he wrote: “If a black were to report to his colleagues (all of whom are white) that he had just been called a “nigger”…his colleagues would convey considerable sympathy for having been subjected to such extreme vocal abuse. But if a women were to report to her colleagues (all of whom are male) that she had just been called a “chick,” “fox,” or even a “dumb broad,”…they would be less inclined to view her as deserving of or in need of sympathy” (Thomas 239-240). Racism is usually taken pretty seriously, but feminism is not. We need feminism because it would simply acknowledge that everyone is human and deserves the same treatment.

Feminism is also desperately needed because sexism quickly grows in the minds of today’s youth. When we were in kindergarten we were asked the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We hear the little boys say police officer, firefighter, doctor. And from the girls we hear ballerina or fashion designer. What is this telling the girl in corner of the room who wants to go into the military like her father, or the boy who aspires to be the the best stay-at-home dad he can be? This is showing them that just because of how they were born, they have to follow a pre-set ground of morals that tells them what they can and cannot be.

I also find an issue when it has been proven that yelling the word ‘fire’ is more effective than yelling the word ‘rape.’ I see something wrong when NFL player Ray Rice is suspended for only two games for abusing his fiancée to unconsciousness, while a sixteen game suspension is assigned for the smoking marijuana (Morris), which is sending all of us a clear message that abusing another human is less important than abusing a drug. I see a problem that cheerleading is no longer considered a sport when boys are part of the team, showing that boys can’t be taken seriously if they do something that is traditionally feminine. I need feminism because even though it is statistically proven that women vote more than men, but they still make up less than 20% of the seats in Congress, and because there is still a 23% wage gap between men and women (Cavanagh).

Being a feminist is not about what you look like, how much makeup you wear, what gender you are, or who you date. Feminism does not mean punishing men or belittling them. Feminism isn’t about making women strong. They already are. It’s about changing the way the world perceives strength.

this is feminism

Works Cited

Cambridge Dictionary. Cambridge Dictionaries Online. Cambridge University, 2014. 18 Oct. 2014.

Cavanagh, Casey. “Why We Still Need Feminism.” huffingtonpost.com. Huffington Post, 18 Sept. 2014. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.

Morris, Benjamin. “The Rate of Domestic Violence Arrests Among NFL Players.” fivethirtyeight.com. ESPN, 31 July 2014. Web.  24 October 2014.

Thomas, Laurence. “Sexism and Racism: Some Conceptual Differences.” Encyclopedia of Ethics: P-W. January 1980. Web. 18 Oct. 2014.


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A Quick Intro

Over the next year, this blog is going to advocate feminism. Not the man-hating, destroy the patriarchy, bra-burning type of feminism, but what feminism really abets: equality.

People are often hesitant to state their stance on feminism. They are often scared about being viewed as being some sort of crazy woman that goes around preaching about the importance of vaginas and how make-up will be our downfall. Or they are a guy that is afraid of being stripped of their masculinity by confidently saying that they are a feminist. Or they just truly do not care about equal rights and are fine with the world being as misogynistic as it is.

I am going to try to educate about the truth of this cause and how vitally important it is for the future of this world. Subjects involving gender roles, rape, media, and segregation are going to be discussed all in the hope that people we see why feminism is so needed, why everyone needs their human rights.