Feminism is not a bad word

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Skyler Black

Here are a few facts about myself. I am 22 years old, I was born in Oklahoma, I am male and I am whole heartedly a feminist and no, that isn’t a bad word. Why am I required to state it in such a way? Well that, my friends, is what is troubling with America.

We are a country of opportunity and prosperity as long as you are a white male. As a white male, I see my privilege and try to use it to reach out to topics that are brushed to the side. Trust me when I say this; I am fully aware that the United States has improved drastically in the department of equality. Women are gaining more rights that should have been given to them from the beginning of time. But people are so terrified of calling themselves feminists because certain people have given the word a negative connotation, that the progress has been moving at a snail’s pace.

The word itself stands for equality. It does not stand for a gender being better than the other. It does not stand for hating males. Feminism stands for the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men. Sadly, it is so much harder for people to wrap their heads around because of the way this country was created. We are a patriarchal society that laughs as women, who are literally our equals, struggle to gain a stable foothold in the fight for rights, and I say down with the patriarchy.

In a country where the leading presidential candidate has body shamed, talked down to and utterly mistreated women, it is not surprising that the hardships are still here. The wage gap is one such issue that exists which baffles me. According to a Congressional report, the gender pay gap is the widest in rural states such as Louisiana, Utah and West Virginia. Furthermore, statistics from the US Census Bureau stated that for Georgia women working full-time, year-round, their median earnings were 78 percent that of men’s.

In 2010, Women comprised 47 percent of the total US labor force; that is a number that is going nowhere but up in the upcoming years. With that being said, how is it that we as a society deem it acceptable to pay women in the same occupations less than men? Is there some countrywide understanding that is lost to me about how women in the workforce are not as efficient? Well, that understanding is incorrect. According to an experiment by an independent research consultancy known as the Ponemon Institute, women tend to work harder and longer than men. As a man in the workforce, I can testify that, in my case, the majority of women work harder than I do.

Our nation needs to understand that every citizen within it is equal in his or her own way. With the majority of working class men believing that they deserve more, we must work to change the attitude of new workers developing careers in the upcoming years. We must also remove the negative stigma behind the word feminist. Without the new generation’s help, our society is doomed to repeat the mistakes of the former.