Tuesday, January 24, 2017

We as Women Need To Stand Together

Feminism is a word that has acquired a negative connotation over the years. A few years ago, if you would have asked me if I was a feminist, I would have laughed in your face. I would have said, all of these feminists are just women who hate men and do not actually understand what oppression means. Now I will admit I am far from political. If you ask me anything about the last election, I could not tell you a thing. I can admit that I did not vote in the last election nor did I pay much attention to it. However, I can proudly say that I am a feminist. A few days ago the women's march took place. Unfortunately, the march had much backlash. A lot of negative posts I saw regarding it came from women. Here is my problem: no person is perfect. Therefore, who are we to judge the individuals who have a desire to stand up for what their own beliefs? Who am I to tell a woman that she just needs "to get over it" or that she "doesn't understand what oppression means?" As a woman, I stand for all women. Whether you're democrat or republican or independent, I support you. I may not necessarily agree with everything, but I understand that my own opinions do not have a right to dictate how other people live their lives. Just because you personally have never been discriminated against as a woman does not mean that there a millions of women in America who do not get discriminated against. Just because you do not have a desire to take birth control/do not need birth control does not give you a right to tell a woman to just keep her legs shut and call it a day. If you are lucky enough to not ever endure sexual assault, do not tell the women who have to get over it. I understand that here in America women do have a lot of rights. However, we are still so far away from being equal among our men. Now I know some of you are saying that women are not designed to do everything a man can. To an extent you are right. Yet, in the workplace, women can do just as much as men and yet they are still treated unequal. I am sure my mother could tell you countless stories about her experience working in a male dominated field. I, too, can recall a time in which I experienced discrimination. As a women educating my way into a science field, I have labs several times a week. In this specific lab, I was assigned to an all-male group. My professor looked me in the face and said "don't worry. Just stand there and look pretty and they'll do all the work." He had the audacity to tell me, a well-educated student, to just stand and look pretty. At first, I thought it was a joke but I was very wrong. My group and I got to the first section which entailed quite a bit of math. The group leader was giving assignments only to get to me and not give me an assignment at all. He said I was welcome to check everyone's work, but other than that I could just relax. Even when I checked my peers' work, none of the people in my group would listen to me. This continued on for the entirety of the lab. No matter how much I argued with my lab group and the professor it was the same reaction: a laugh and a simple "sweetie, it's okay." Now this does not even come close to what some people face, but it was enough for me to understand that as a woman of science I am going to have to push myself harder than most would. I have seen so much hate these last two days about women telling other women to suck it up. Again, we as women have to stay together. I actually saw a post where a woman told another woman that work discrimination does not exist and called her a "libtard." Is that what we have become now? Name callers? This goes both ways for women and men: name-calling never wins an argument. In fact, it comes across as more idiotic than anything. Moreover, arguing about someone's own personal experiences is ridiculous. If you have not experienced something, do not tell a person who has that they should get over it. We need to stop letting our political views and personal opinions get in the way of us being decent human beings. It is so easy to be kind. It is so easy to be understanding. Just because you may disagree with this women's march does not give you a right to tell the women who have been beaten by their loved ones, who have been sexually assaulted, who are simply speaking for the women who do not have voices, to suck it up. Just because you have not experienced it, does not mean it does not exist in America. This is more than just women's rights. This goes for everyone. I am so saddened by the hate spread from people with opposing political views. The truth of the matter is that each of us individually has the power to make a difference in this world. We need to be decent to each other. If someone is trying to tell you something, hear them out. Listen. Then speak. You may find yourself learning something you did not know before. More importantly, watch your mouth. Your words are so much more powerful than you believe. You can be kind and disagree with something. I have a friend who has political views differing from my own. But when he talks politics, you don't see me calling him a "libtard" or bashing his views. I simply nod my head and say "I never though about it like that before" or "I don't necessarily agree but I see where you're coming from" and end the discussion. Proverbs 18:21 says "the tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Even the Bible says that we must choose our words wisely. So I am ending this post with a dedication to all of my fellow women out there. You are so loved and so strong. Do not let anyone tell you differently. I long for a world in which we can stand together, both men and women, equally in peace. But this cannot happen if we are going to hate on any single person that tries to take a stand on their beliefs. Remember: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King Jr.

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