By Sierra Rothermich A son and his father are in a horrible car accident. The father dies on impact and the son is rushed to the hospital with severe injuries. The surgeon looks at the son when he arrives at the hospital and says “I can’t operate on him, he’s my son.”
Sexual Assault is scary and unfortunately very real in every community across the United States. But it’s annoying when people categorize a certain group to be the only ones that commit these horrible acts. For example, “Mexican are rapists.” Which is not true for all Mexicans. Although comments like these offend people like me, who proudly identifies with being Mexican-American, we (News Flash!) also are affected by sexual assault. I notice too that it is extremely hard for these stereotypes to be broken when people with power have enforced such ideas onto a certain group. Among the many struggles the Latino community faces, rape and assault happen to be one of them.
In the Latino community, it is very common for men to praise other men when they have been with many women. So, this builds the self-esteem of these men when they harass a woman. When a woman does not desire to be with that man, one common thing I have heard is, “She is playing hard to get. She knows she likes it when I bother her!” Hence the terminology, Rape Culture! In an online article, I read about the way rape culture is a “Militarized Culture.” A form of oppression that is used as a weapon to degrade mostly women and it is also the notion that only certain people get raped, because of the way they dress and the way they act. In addition, Rape Culture includes not acknowledging that the men that rape are rapists.
During my three years at the University of Idaho, I’ve experienced several instances of women being shamed based on their clothing choices. Getting ready for a night out with my girlfriends usually entails picking out outfits we feel confident in. We embrace each other’s style and feel empowered by the freedom of being able to wear whatever we desire. However, last weekend, things took an offensive turn.
During a party, a guy came up to one of my girlfriends, (who was wearing a black long sleeve, low cut shirt,) and told her to, “Cover up” three times. My friends decided to set a social moral standard and asked him to leave the party, because we would not condone those types of comments. The guy attempted to excuse his behavior by claiming, “I’m from a small town.” As much as I wanted to say, “The size of your town shouldn’t indicate the size of your brain,” I realized I must understand what caused a thought process like this and the answer is: Society. So, if I want to help change the way society thinks, defensive comebacks will not be effective in educating people on their flawed logic…
Oh no! I said it. The other “F” word. Right now, your blood is probably boiling. You clench your fists, as you begin to tell me, “Oh, I am most definitely NOT a feminist!” Slow down. Take a breath. I bet your idea of feminism is “feminazi women,” or the idea that all feminists are lesbians and man haters. While that can be true, (you do whatever you want girl), feminism is not defined by articles written by the Men’s Rights Activist Facebook page.
What is feminism?
This word is thrown around by people every day who do not understand what it means. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definition of feminism is, “The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” That’s it. Not, “We hate men,” or “Women are superior,” or “You cannot be a stay-at-home mom and be a feminist.” None of that. Simply…equality. Feminism is the idea that what is between your legs, or what gender you identify with inside your brain, is no limitation on the goals you can achieve.
In my personal belief, feminism is all about choice. I can choose to pursue a college degree. Choose to get married. Choose to be a career woman and decide whether or not to have children. That is the beauty of feminism. These life choices are not forced upon anyone, and both men and women can live outside gender norms. And, guess what?…
I don’t need to be in a romantic relationship to celebrate this Valentine’s day. Instead I will be celebrating this year’s Valentine’s with two of my closest friends I have made since coming to college. How are we celebrating? By getting a piercing and watching our favorite show. Insert smiling emoji here * We also are probably getting or making dinner at the end the day and, of course, do some more homework. What is a life of a college student without some homework? I am content with that. I get to be with my little family away from home.
I am also celebrating my self-love.
Because, what is better than showing some love to myself? I don’t need anyone by my side telling how me how much they love me when I got me. To all my single ladies out there–put your hands up! You’re amazing! Remind yourself that you are hardworking, beautiful, and capable of doing anything–All on your own!! Look at yourself in the mirror and just look at how beautiful you are.
Because, you are your own person. There is no one quite like you. So unique. That is what makes you beautiful. Therefore, on this special day I will be pampering myself. Which will probably consist of: face masks, a shopping spree (on a budget), and reading a chapter of a book I have just started. Small things like this can make a Valentine’s day pretty perfect. I don’t necessarily think it has to be something expensive or out of this world to make Valentine’s Day very special.
Feminism is defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary as, “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” The simplest definition of feminism is truly just the idea of equality. If that is what feminism is, why is it controversial? Why do so many people find the idea of feminism inherently discriminatory? There are two main reasons that seem to stand out.
Many assume that the 21st century is a time where women are not discriminated against. That feminism has already done its job and is no longer necessary. Many do not consider what women face in America to be sexism.
Others find no issue with feminism, but with “radical feminism.” They don’t agree with man-hating and violence. Some still mention the notorious bra-burning that characterized second wave feminism as a descriptor of “radical feminism.”
To address the first issue, it is important to consider the treatment of women across the globe, not just in the United States. There are women suffering from extreme discrimination in all walks of life. For example, the World Health Organization conducted a study about violence against women that concluded that around 15% of women in Japan and a staggering 71% of women in Ethiopia reported some sort of violence by an intimate partner. They also found that worldwide, almost one third of women who have been in a relationship experienced either physical or sexual violence by their intimate partner. Women around the globe residing in countries such as India, Africa, Pakistan, and even some Eastern European Countries also experience discrimination in the form of honor killings, acid attacks, child marriage and forced prostitution. In 155 countries, it is still legal to discriminate based on sex, according to a recent World Bank survey. Within the US, violence such as mutilation and honor killings are less common, but women experience discrimination in many other ways. Women still are subjected to harassment, rape and pay discrimination.
Image is everything. And everywhere. Whether it’s on the internet or in magazines (or anywhere else, to be honest), we are being told what it means to be beautiful. Yet America’s perception of beauty has changed throughout the years, and we’re having a hard time keeping up. For women, we are seeing airbrushed images of models with not much diversity. For men, we see chiseled chests and 8 packs with, again, not much diversity. The majority of the images we see do not reflect our population in America. Looking at the photo on the right, it’s clear to see that we are NOT being shown accurate representations. (Picture on the right depicts avg. woman size, avg. female model size).
*For those of you that are curious about men, the average weight and height for men is about 194 pounds and 5’9. The average male model is 150 pounds and 6’0.
The comparison of ourselves to these images can be incredibly dangerous – mentally and physically. So what can we do about it? Well, the body rEvolution at the Women’s Center has some ideas. Continue reading “Time for a Body rEvolution”→