Posted by Anonymous Young Feminist
The hardest thing about watching Obama's campaign and subsequent inauguration: we still failed to hear mention of equality for women. Somehow in the last 90 or so years since the first feminist revolution we have forgotten an entire history of sexism. What makes female oppression so unique is this: it is spread across almost all cultures, religions, traditions, countries, races, histories and governments. It’s not so cut and dry as black and white, because as my boyfriend aptly pointed out last night: women need men, and men need women. The relationship between the races is not the same. Even in a horribly racially divided society, we can still on the very baser biological level, survive. This is one of the many reasons we've forgotten, and continue to ignore, sexism.
I did not feel inspired by Obama's election. I thought to myself: this seems okay. He is black, after all. A minority that must be represented. But what about the silent majority? When will I hear someone stand up and make people confront the fact that oppression of women is so deeply rooted in our culture that we don't even believe it still exists. When will I hear someone stand up and say, "Feminism is not a dirty word!”
Well, maybe I’ll just say it now: FEMINISM IS NOT A DIRTY WORD.
As part of a younger generation of women (I am in my twenties), I have continually felt attacked both by men and other women for calling myself a feminist. There seems to be a general idea attached to the concept of feminism: that women believe they are ultimately superior to men and thus would like to do away with men altogether. Perhaps the most startling demonstration of this idea was in an undergraduate law class, for which I led a discussion on feminist law. One woman chimed in that "men are discriminated against too. Women are so selfish to think they deserve more. I feel so sorry for men for having to put up with feminists." ... !!!!!!! Needless to say my head exploded. I couldn't understand why women would not want the same rights as men! Perhaps my peer was afraid if she demanded better treatment, she would scare away all men and die alone.
Back to the point before: women need men. This is perhaps what's preventing a majority from demanding better treatment. It seems as though, since we got the vote less than a hundred years ago, we have settled for marginally better on the surface, rather than demand what we initially wanted: freedom to individuals with the same civil rights as others. Freedom to be viewed as an individual regardless of gender.
This all sounds so terribly familiar. Freedom to be an individual not judged based on a pigeonholed cultural group to which no one has a choice of membership?
All I want to say is this: in the midst of an American triumph, a political statement, a human rights revolution, I still feel under-represented. Actually, I feel unrepresented. Because no one even acknowledges that it's still a problem. Ask anyone if they think women deserve more rights - guaranteed most people would believe the sexes are now equal. Then count how many women presidents there have been: none. You can change the laws, but you can't change history.