I’m a feminist, meaning that I believe that both women and men should be treated with the same respect and dignity. It means that I don’t believe that a person should be told that they can’t do something because of their gender, and that a person should not be sexually or physically violated because of their gender. Well, I don’t think that a person should ever be violated or told that they can’t do something for any reason, but reasons based on gender are thousands-of-years-old, deeply rooted issues in our world.
In our modern society, these issues range from basic human rights violations- such as girls being unable to attend school, girls being sold into sex slavery, or the epidemic of domestic violence and sexual assault against females- to economic issues such as women being paid less than men for doing the exact same jobs, to, in my opinion, less important things such as the fact that women have to tell men that they have a boyfriend to ward them off if they are not interested in them.
Too often, particularly in our online, social media culture, us feminists dwell on the petty issues that don’t matter in the grander context of injustice against women worldwide.
Yes, it’s annoying going to a bar an being hit on by someone whom I am not interested in and feeling the need to make up an excuse to get him to back off. However, I think it’s more annoying that women in Afghanistan can be jailed for fleeing their abusive husbands. It’s weird that 13-year-old Willow Smith was in a photo on a bed with a 20-year-old shirtless man, and some people on the internet blamed Willow and her parents for it and not the man. Yet, I think it’s weirder that the United States ranks 50th in maternal mortality rates worldwide (behind every other industrialized nation) because our healthcare system doesn’t provide affordable, accessible, and quality healthcare to all women.
Sexism is alive and well in our culture and affects so many aspects of a woman’s life. However, we really need to determine what our priorities are. Maybe if the Internet focused more energy and attention on the fact that there are 914 girls for every 1,000 boys in India (a ratio definitely not caused by nature) than why Beyoncé shouldn’t name her tour “The Mrs. Carter Show,” then we could make some actual progress in the world.
Finally, maybe if we internet consumers spent less time debating these issues in the comments of articles and more time in the real world doing something to combat them, then our society might be a better place.