1. What if....everyone was a feminist?
I recently watched Chimimanda Adichie's TED talk on Feminism and her experiences with discrimination based on her gender. She raises this question on the relevance of feminism and the whole thing makes me wonder how much everyone's life would change if there was true equality between the sexes. For those of you who are not familiar with Adichie, she is a Feminist and Political activist that I find very inspiring, and I highly recommend watching her videos and reading her books because they are truly brilliant. Anyways, she in this TED talk she talks about the stereotypes by which feminists are labeled by and the ways in which women are still discriminated against. Although her examples are mostly experiences that she mostly had in Nigeria, I still think that most of them are very applicable to today and also to my life.
I think that the biggest example I can think of is in gym class. I enjoy staying fit and I've taken gym all four years of high school, but there are obviously some stereotypes about women's physical abilities in comparison to men. This year, my gym class is co-ed. The weird thing about stereotypes is that, if enough people start repeating them and believing them, the individuals in which they target start to believe them as well. In my gym class there are 58 people...13 of them are girls. I find this ironic because, in a society that promotes gender equality, the gender that we try to equalize give into the stereotypes targeting them regardless of the equality that we create. The teachers recognize it as well. The first thing my teacher said was "Wow. 60 people and only 13 girls.". I wonder what would happen if those numbers were even? Would we be picked first for teams? When we play dodge ball, the teachers make it easier for us, by only allowing the guys to throw with their non-dominant hand or only allowing us to get out if we at hit with the red balls. Just because I am a female doesn't mean that I can't whip a ball as hard as a guy can.
The funny thing about this is that men automatically think that feminists hate them because we with for political, social and economic equality of the sexes. However, that is not true on any spectrum. I feel like feminists are perceived so negatively because men have always been assumed to be the dominant gender. Even today, it's known that the higher up you are in the system, the fewer women you will find. I think that this is partly because of the stereotypes that are directed at us, but also because young women and girls start to believe them.
There are so many things that we can wonder about this topic.... how things would be different if we were only taight a different way...told something positive about gender equality.... or even understood by more people than just other feminists. For now... I guess some things must be left to the imagination until more progress is made. We've come a long way, but there is still a long way to go.