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How I Define Feminism

There are many components that can go into the definition of feminism, each being unique to each person. Here is what I think feminism is comprised of.

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1. Equal Pay for Equal Work

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Equal pay for women is probably what comes to mind for many people when they think of what goes into feminism. While equal pay for women is important, and women getting paid less should not be happening, it is important to not leave other people, such as black and Hispanic people. Pew Research Center has collected data, and has found that "White men out-earn black and Hispanic men and all groups of women" (Patien). If each of these groups have the exact same qualifications, there is absolutely no excuse to be paying them less. Not only does paying each person equally for the same work benefit the individual, it also benefits men. Many households have both adults working. Wouldn't it be beneficial for the man if his wife was making the same as her male counterpart? So why yes, it is important for women to fight for this change, it is also important for men to see why fighting for thus change is beneficial for them, and society as a whole.

2. Avoiding Gender Stereotypes

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As it can be assumed, this character from the sandlot did not mean this as a good thing. Why is "you play ball like a girl" an insult? Well, one gender stereotypes is that girls are supposed to be dainty, and they are not strong and as good at sports as men are. This is one of many gender stereotypes that end up effecting the self esteem of children from a very young age. Gender stereotypes not only negatively effect girls, they also have a negative and limiting impact on boys. Boys from a very young age are expected to be tough, and to avoid showing their feelings by not crying. This can cause men to later show unhealthy ways of channeling their feelings, such as being violent. Another gender stereotype is that women are the ones who do the house making, such as cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children. However, wouldn't it be advantageous for men to know how to cook, so they can feed themselves instead of expecting there will be a woman around to cook for them? It's strange that our society has made up these gender roles, because there is no DNA in females body that makes them better at cooking, cleaning, or taking care of children. There is no reason that those things should be gendered.

3. Fighting Against Rape Culture

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Currently in our society, women are socialized to be wary of their surroundings. From a young age, they learn to take precautions, like avoiding walking home alone at night, watching their drink at a bar, and carrying protective weapons like pepper spray or a knife. Even with many women having their guard up in potentially dangerous situations, many women and other people are still being the victims of sexual assault. The reason for this, is because of the rape culture in our society. Too often, we normalize and excuse sexual violence in the media and popular culture. Many have heard the saying "She asked for it" when regarding a victim of sexual assault, maybe because her outfit was considered "provocative" by the aggressor and others blaming her. We also excuse men's behavior by saying "boys will be boys". Even our school systems contribute to rape culture. Schools often have a dress code, requiring girls to cover up, and not expose their chest, their shoulders, or too much of their legs. These rules are put into place so that hey can avoid the males getting distracted by females, and inhibiting their education. But instead of saying and doing these things, why aren't we teaching males not to rape? If we were to teach boys from a young age that women are not for their consumption, then sexual assault would not nearly be as big of an issue.

4. Intersectionality

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Intersectionality points out that individuals can face multiple threats of discrimination when their identities overlap a number of minority classes, such as race, gender, age, ethnicity, health and other characteristics. An example of this may be a woman of color who faces racism and sexism in her daily life. While intersectionality is often applied to women, it’s not just women who are affected by this overlap of discrimination. For example, a man from a Hispanic background could face xenophobia in today’s America despite being a US born citizen, along with having low economic status. Intersectionality also describes the higherarchical nature of power and how belonging to multiple discriminated classes can mean that one’s issues are ignored. In feminism, its important to look at individuals as a whole, and see how society may be limiting them based on the factors listed above, and how feminism can help to make life more equal for everyone, not just women.

5. Challenge & Fight the Patriarchy

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Patriarchy is a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. While the dominance of men over women may not be as bad as when women did not have the right to vote, and were seen as property of men, masculinity is still societal valued over femininity. This can be seen when a women is dressing more like a man, and it is not viewed as a bad thing, but if a man dresses femininely, he must not be a "real man". Patriarchy hurts everyone. Patriarchy puts people into strict boxes, previously mentioned as gender roles, which hurts everyone, especially people who do not fit into these boxes, such as transgender folks, or people who do not identify with the gender binary. Patriarchy also hurts women in the sense that they are less likely to be in positions of power, such as being CEO's of companies. This happens because women are seen as less powerful than men. Even if they do end up being in roles of power, they often face discrimination, and tend to take on male qualities to be taken seriously. Patriarchy also hurts men, putting pressure on them to be financially supportive. They are seen as the ones who should be the protector and the provider, and may face social repercussions if they do not do this.

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