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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Columns

The violence of a world without feminism


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Feminist ideals are the least controversial, yet those concepts are shrouded by misinterpretation and a hysterical anxiety that women’s liberation is synonymous with male subjugation. Anti-feminism, however, seems nearly synonymous with female subjugation, a double standard that painfully impacts the lives of women and girls every day.

Feminism aspires to realize the truest ideal of human equality, which should be uncontroversial and acceptable, objectively and intellectually. Feminist issues concern the rights of women, but the entire human race becomes restricted from advancement when half its population is systemically oppressed.

We should all be feminists because it is logically and morally beneficial to every man, woman and child in the world. When half of the population is released from gender bias, gender-based violence, female genital mutilation and child marriage, everyone will see the benefits.

As for those men and women who are not feminists and do not see a future in which they will ever be feminists, they betray a fundamental human responsibility to ensure that equality is given to all.

This responsibility is invariably ignored by us all at some point. It happens so often and we constantly live within that neglect that it becomes banal. That is how the world’s saddest atrocities happen.

Feminism is discussed as an intellectual concept, but it all comes down to power and agency and who owns the female body and mind.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization found that, across the globe, women and girls face a significant gap in accessing education. While accessing education is a global presents an issue to both sexes, the opportunity to attend and finish school is less attainable for girls.

While we have seen progress in breaking down this educational barrier, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics found that 16 million girls worldwide will never have an education, and of the 750 million adults in the world without basic literary skills, two-thirds are women.

Though it might frighten people to fully believe in the powerful, ethical reverence that feminism provides the world, the truth is that we should all be feminists. This revelation is larger than whether you believe in an inferior or superior sex.

Feminism has an image problem. In the United States, it has a history of excluding women from nonwhite backgrounds. A few pockets of contemporary feminism lack intersectionality, which has led to serious consequences for an unquantified number of women.  

Every day you choose not to be a feminist, women around the world suffer violent retribution for seeking out education, employment, equal pay and the right to control their own bodies.

Feminism is a political act, but it is also an instinctual understanding of justice. The  forces of oppression in a violent patriarchal society are reinforced when we neglect feminism, and oppression is always violent. 

Assistant opinion editor Mia Valdez is a creative writing senior. She can be reached at [email protected]

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