Letter to the Editor: Civil exploration of feminism reveals benefits for all

By: Courtney Dobson

In regards to a recent article published in the Hi-Line, Some feminism goes too far, and the outbreak that surrounded it, I believe there are a few things that should be cleared up. As plainly stated at the opening of the article, according to Dekutoski, feminism is: “advocacy (public support) of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality of men.” There is no source listed for this definition; however, the official Webster’s Dictionary definition is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”

In short, feminism is a near synonym to equality and aids both genders. When read carefully, you’ll notice that neither definition claims that men or women are above one another, as it is true that both genders face oppression in different aspects of life. Here lies the fatal flaw: discussion took place over an inaccurate portrayal of the nature of feminism. However, there is no shame in making mistakes, so I’ll break it down.

This article, and most of the following discussion, makes feminism out to be something reserved for women, whereas it is for everyone and each gender can benefit. Nowhere in the article is anything said about what feminism does for anyone but the heterosexual, American, female, and it completely ignores the existence of male feminists. The feminist movement promotes safety for male rape victims, breaking down the barriers of male masculinity standards and diminishing gender roles. It also acknowledges female rapists, male on male rape, and female on female rape.

Some feminism goes too far touches upon female “feminists” who shut men down and seem to hypocritically aim for female supremacy. Revisiting the definition, evidently these people are not feminists. They can call themselves what they please, but if they believe their gender entitles them, they’re working against equality; they are misandrists. Back to my good friend the dictionary, misandry is “a hatred of men.” If they don’t work for equality, they are not feminists.

Next, the article addresses the wage gap, deeming it debunked and totally untrue. Again there is no source cited for this, so I’m not sure which study is being referred to, but I believe the most common one to have been conducted by Stanford. The truth of the matter is that there is no released study that can accurately prove or disprove it. The study by Stanford does not account for qualifications, position, length of employment, performance, etc. The only credible, available studies are comparisons of average incomes. Because no precise study has been administered on a large scale, we cannot say that a wage gap does or does not exist.

Expanding further on inequality in the workplace, the article states: “sex discrimination in the workplace is illegal since the enactment of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1946.” Just because discrimination has been made illegal, does not mean it doesn’t happen. Laws are not always followed, nor are crimes always recognized, reported or tried in court. Nevertheless, publicly-known instances of discrimination in the workplace on all aspects of gender, sexual orientation, race, etc. continue to happen. Two infractions that have garnered media attention in recent years include Godfrey v. City of Chicago (Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho) and Robertson v. Hunter Panels, LCC (Danaher, Donahue, Fazzini).

Females obtaining plenty positions of power is also listed as a reason for why “modern feminism” might seem unnecessary. Dekutoski said these positions include “highest offices of political power in many countries.” According to the United Nations, globally there are currently 12 females who are head of national governments. I will admit this is amazing progress, but since there are 196 countries in the world, only 6.1 percent of governments are led by women. This is probably much due the fact that in many countries females wed and bear children at a younger age, so they often don’t finish school and are expected to stay home with children even more so than here in America. Not only does this limit females, but males as well. Men must work, rather than stay home with their children as they may want to do.

The final point I would like to make about feminism is on the global scale. The end of the article addresses third world country inequalities such as legalized rape. I was glad to see these issues mentioned but perplexed because it seems like it is being said that these are not matters that (“modern”) feminism addresses. Nowhere is it stated, nor do any feminists I know believe, that feminism only applies to Americans (or each their own country), because I believe we all know how well off we are in America. Many feminists do what they can to help out women and men in foreign countries. A good example is CFHS senior Katarina Walther who is currently planning a drive through the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council, which will provide women in third world countries with feminine hygiene products.

Being a caucasian, upper middle class, heterosexual, cisgendered (meaning I identify with the gender assigned to me at birth), able, educated, female in America I am not afraid to acknowledge that I am one of the most privileged people in the world. Although I am a feminist, I do not play the victim, as many say we do. I am fully aware of my capabilities and consider myself to be quite ambitious. After high school I plan to attend Northwestern in Chicago (or a similar university), receive a degree in General Human Resources, attend law school receiving a degree in International Human Rights and eventually become a civil rights attorney. Finding my place in feminism has empowered me to do what I can to help those who don’t have the privileges I do or are unable to see their potential due to antagonists.

I wish for a world someday where a transgender, Pakistani Muslim or a gay, South American atheist is on the same level as a heterosexual, American-born Christian. My aforementioned privileges should not put me ahead of anyone, aid my future success or even be considered advantageous in life. However, I plan to use the prerogatives I was given at birth to help spread fair opportunities for all.

With respect to the outbreak on social media following the release of “Some feminism goes too far,” I think that some students need to take a step back and ask themselves what they are trying to accomplish. I believe that all should be able to voice their opinions publicly, as I am doing now, but I don’t believe it is beneficial to tear others down in a classless, slanderous manner and attack others’ opinions with their own — especially over the Internet. I’d like to note that members of both “sides” in the argument were guilty of disrespectful conduct. I have personally never seen an argument online end positively. Has anyone ever swayed your entire outlook over an Internet fight?

Sometimes we must face the facts that an opinion is an opinion, and not everyone will agree with you. I fully anticipate that this will be picked apart, and that’s OK. I ask that you keep an open mind, consider all viewpoints and never stop educating yourself in order to maintain an informed opinion.

If you do have an opposing stance or I have said something that offends you and you’d like to discuss it, don’t hesitate to stop me in the hall and share it. We all span the ages of 15-18 years; let’s start acting like it.

—Courtney Dobson

Junior

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