Staff Editorial – Emma Williams
Feminism is the belief in the equality of the sexes. The problem with society is that this definition can often be misconstrued by one’s own experiences with the word.
Women have been historically disadvantaged by having to fight for basic rights like the right to vote, the right to education, the right to own property and on and on and on—the same rights that were simply handed over to white men in positions of power when the U.S. Constitution was drafted.
Feminism simply seeks to bring all women up to the same level of respect and power as men. Women have fought for their rights for decades, and today, we are at a place unimaginable in comparison to the original suffragettes. Progress was made because all women were in agreement that something needed to change and were willing to work together to achieve their one shared goal. And things have changed, to say the least. Women now have more rights and respect than ever before, but that does not mean there is not still progress to be made.
However, today, not all women are on the same team. Women have spent so much time fighting each other that they have forgotten what the fight is all about. Society took a long vacation from exploiting women because other women have done the job themselves. That is not to say that women are excluded from society; the issue lies in the fact that men are generally in positions of power that dictate how the rest of society functions.
Obviously, the goal is not to get all women on the same page. Women come from all different backgrounds and will have different opinions, but we can control how we view each other. Women need to take charge of the world they are living in because, after all, it does no good to simply blame society and go on. We need the persistence to take charge and control our lives, but we have to first learn how to not fight with one another. Take The Network staff as an example. We are strong and confident girls who are not afraid to voice our opinions, which could have easily created a constant environment of tension and argument. Instead, we choose to applaud one another when someone uses their voice to support themselves and stand up for what they believe in. We come from different upbringings and opinions, but we are also able to work together and support each other, learning from one another’s contrasting views. We end up achieving our shared goal every month to create a newspaper we are proud of. When women respect themselves and one another, we can achieve.
Just one way in which women are pit against each other is in the media, strongly influenced by appearance. Looking in the mirror has become a daily struggle for many teenage girls around the world. Since the dawn of time, society and Hollywood have been setting unrealistic beauty standards that have become commonplace and, rather than questioning them, many women have just given up—or worse: given in. Young women need to be raised up and supported in their appearance instead of being forced into a one-size-fits-all mentality. Other than the fact that this idea is not physically possible, it is also detrimental to mental and physical health.
Women have faced many challenges throughout history and body image is one of them. While some progress has been made, women still have a long way to go, and the only way to achieve these means is through a united front with all women.
Society has created competition through a woman’s appearance since the moment an ideal body type was established, but we do not have to destroy each other in order to feel better about ourselves.
Too often, women are seen judging one another for indulging in makeup or wearing tennis shoes when others are in high heels. It is simply more productive to support one another.Of course, not all compliments have to be rooted in appearance, but sometimes a girl just needs to feel supported in order to have confidence. When society only makes us feel inferior, we can fight back by validating and raising up one another.
So girls, support your fellow girls.