(BBC News School Report) New Age of Feminism

(Reported by Santa Popkess, Year 8)

It’s debatable whether or not the word feminism has become synonymous with “woman’s rights over men’s”, rather than gender equality. Modern feminist movements appear to be driving a wedge between certain groups of people based on how vocal they are with regards to this issue in particular. Now feminism is an issue of not only women having disadvantages because of gender, but also now men being degraded and oppressed with unjust accusations. Men are deemed misogynistic and chauvinistic for merely holding a door open for a woman, which is ironic because furthering unnecessary conflicts between genders is precisely what feminism should aim to avoid.

Many men are on the receiving end of abuse. As I stated before men are labelled as objectifying woman simply by holding a door open for them; this not only is damaging because of the lack of logic but also paints feminism as hatred towards men. In my opinion, this is anti-productive for many people in society to become accustomed to, as true feminism should be about equality and nothing but. If anything, it’s more anti-feminist to assume the man is doing it for any other reason than simply to be polite. What if a woman holds a door open for a man? Is she doing that to prove she is capable of holding a door open herself? No. She’s most likely trying to be helpful. To automatically recognise that the person holding the door open for you is of the opposite gender and then get offended is far more destructive, in my opinion, as it promotes not gender equality but in fact people not helping each other. It causes unmerited arguments that oughtn’t to have been had.

These destructive ideas also will lead more men assume that all woman play the victim. This isn’t true as I’m certain many women see that for example: not all men are misogynistic, not all victims in cases of domestic violence are because of the man, and not all rape victims are women. For the men and women who do genuinely want gender equality, it’s awful that the cause has now become a subject rifled with far more discrimination and negativity than it should contain.

In addition to this, key feminist issues need to be prioritised. Focusing upon the example of unequal executive pay, admittedly, it is bad that woman working in high up board room jobs are being paid less than their male counterparts. However, so many avid feminists are pouring hours into perfecting their ‘against unequal pay’ campaigns, but not focusing on the issues that truly matter: the significant percentage of women who are r being deprived of their basic human rights. For example, about 36% of women globally have experienced either physical or sexual intimate violence. In U.S. 83% of girls aged 12 to 16 have experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools. In England, 1 out of 5 women (aged 16 to 59) experience some form of sexual violence.

In many countries across the world, people are too scared to report such crimes due to the extreme social stigma it provokes. So surely in a job where you already earn more than the average person and are in the privileged position to have many people supporting and debating this cause in (and against, in all fairness) your favour, maybe it’d be far more beneficial to society and woman’s rights to put this issue on the back burner and focus on crucial humanitarian issues (such as violence and domestic abuse).

Feminism is not something that should be in agreement with anti-male sentiment, isolation and aggression. As a young teenager who spends the majority of her week in school surrounded by boys and girls around my age, there is a noticeably significant degree of peer pressure to fit in to the social standards and stay within the barriers that are set for you. To expand on this, boys for example aren’t expected to open up about their emotions, indirectly encouraged by ‘friends’ to bottle up what they feel. With regards to mental health and stability, I fear that maybe people in my school, perhaps even my class, are suffering with issues at home, with friends or even something as severe as depression, without anyone close to them being aware of it.

Gender stereotypes are in fact imprisoning us all. If I were not labelled as a girl, what would I been classified as? The answer is human. Behind gender is the truth that we are human beings and no, my point is not that we should all disregard our genders, but that gender should be what box you tick on a form ‘boy, girl, other’ ;it should not be the factor that determines what standards we are set by society.

Although we still have issues to do with equality, I believe it is our duty to fight harder for gender equality and to begin to enforce more movements to assist other countries to take action – countries without such laws as ours. We are in a privileged position within the United Kingdom and need to utilize the influence we have: for example our easy access to social media and right to freedom of speech. We shouldn’t have reached a stage in society where we must fight for equality and feminism. We should live in a world of peace, understanding and tolerance, not one defined by so heavily by division.