Spanbauer: Everyone should be a feminist

Peyton Spanbauer

Everyone should be a feminist. If you’re not, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you probably don’t understand the term. And if you’re someone who has all the facts and still refuses to label themselves a feminist, you’re insane.

The feminist movement started in the early 20th century and slowly picked up speed before women gained the right to vote. But the suffragettes didn’t do all that for us to stop there. Today, feminism refers to the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.

There is some misconception surrounding the term feminist that I want to clear up. Feminism is not women trying to become the greater sex, nor is it about man-hating. And yes, some feminists back in the day burned their bras but we are not like that now. Today, the feminist movement is about reclaiming what it means to fight for women’s rights and pursuing those goals.

In countries unlike our own, female babies are sold or slain due to their lesser value compared to baby boys. Women are sold into or kidnapped into sex trafficking, and are even forced into child marriage. Girls aren’t allowed the same opportunities or education as boys. In some places, women aren’t even allowed to hold jobs or go outside without the escort of a male family member and are treated as property.

Closer to home, women in power are held to a different standard than their male counterparts. This past election showed this to be true. Hillary Clinton faced many sexist remarks during her campaign, a majority of those coming from her running mate and his supporters. Many Donald Trump fans adorned shirts and signs depicting the words “Trump that bitch” at numerous rallies for Trump and Clinton alike. On Trump’s part, he did very little to combat the blatant sexism of his supporters. He himself has even had numerous scandals involving things he has said or done to women.

One such scandal in particular includes an old interview where Trump bragged about “grabbing women by the p—-.” He then went on to dismiss his banter about grabbing women as simply “locker room talk”. This is a slap in the face to both men and women alike.

Men should be insulted that he would compare his belittling words to those that supposedly all men have, in locker room chatter. Women should be frightened and angry that our president would brag about assaulting women as if it were a badge of honor.

Furthermore, Trump dismissed allegations of sexual assault by stating that the women who had come forward were too ugly for him to want to have relations with. Since when can we brush off sexual violence by ratings of attractiveness?

Talk like this makes women fear for their safety. In our world, women are afraid of walking down the street alone at night. We are objectified by what we wear and how we appear. If we partake in sexual relations, we are labeled as a slut, but if we don’t, we’re a prude. It’s a double-edged sword.

On our campus, 1 in 5 women will fall victim to sexual harassment or assault. Women walk around with pepper spray on their lanyards and travel in groups late at night. We have to worry about where we set our drinks at the party and be weary of the boys who approach us.

What’s more, we still have the ever-present pay gap. As a woman, I can expect to be paid 79 cents to every dollar a man in the same position makes. How is anyone supposed to be OK with that? Women make up the majority of students on a college campus these days, which is an exciting and liberating statistic. But knowing that no matter our grades or level of education, we will still not be paid as much as the man sitting at the cubicle next to us. It’s infuriating.

If you are a woman, there are things happening in our society and around the world against women that should make us mad. And if you’re a man reading this, then you should open your eyes and see the subtle but ever present injustices and inequalities the women in your life are facing.