As a continuation of Opinion’s “Modern Feminism” piece, the Smoke Signal has compiled voices from MSJ students about their thoughts on feminism and gender equality. Share your answers to these questions in the comment section below.
Do you think there’s gender equality at MSJ?
Abhinav Adduri (12) – “The importance of gender equality is stressed, but not always practiced at MSJ. There are some students who aren’t as concerned, but at least an attempt is made. The girls here are much less submissive to male domination than might be prevalent elsewhere, but at the same time I think the mindset is not completely gender-equal. Attitudes like not expecting girls to be in Computer Science classes are an example of this.”
Kathy Liu (12) – “I think at MSJ it’s pretty equal in terms of genders, because of our diverse makeup of the school ethnically. Gender equality is not really such a big difference to us here. I think it’s a lot better than most schools, partly because we’re also focused on different things. Especially in teachers and staff, we don’t really see that kind of prejudice, so we don’t really think of it so much here at MSJ.”
Albert DangVu (10) – “There can be no such thing as gender equality in an uneducated society that doesn’t know how to appreciate and love. Not only do we need to teach the people who make up the society about the world around them, but we need to truly care for one another – to interact. We need to realize that though this world might be a horrible world, it’s the only one we have so we have to make the best of it with love. Only then can we have gender equality and a better world to live in.”
Kate Lin (10) – “While gender inequality and stereotypes may not be at the forefront of our minds, it’s a very real problem here at Mission. As a girl interested in the STEM field, it’s always discouraging to participate in STEM related clubs/activities only to discover that you’re one of two girls in the entire club. Part of the reason for this huge gender gap is that gender roles are so deeply ingrained into our heads. We cling so tightly to the image of femininity in females and masculinity in males that we have created this problem of gender inequality. Only when we can look beyond one’s gender and stop expecting females to be weak and shallow or males to be tough and smart can we really move past this problem of gender equality.”
What can be done to promote gender equality at MSJ?
Ashleesha Sathe (10) – “I think we can tone down the dress code quite a bit, because it sends the message that a boy’s education is much more important than a girl’s!”
Anirban Datta (10) – “First of all, recognize that gender equality is an issue that affects males as well as females. The perpetuation of stereotypes affects everyone involved in the picture. By heightening awareness, we lay down the foundation for disseminating beliefs in a more cordial environment. Second, promote women and men into fields that are not traditionally associated with each other’s gender. This is necessary to diversify current society. Third of all, we can’t control for society. It’s only an initiative that people can strive for, not the government nor anything else involved in the picture. The burden is on all of us to attain this goal, but it is slowly being realized, and therefore, what do we really need to do? Nothing, really. Everybody is literally speaking out for this issue, and change is occurring. Opponents, namely conservatives, are looking like jokes at this point and the incredibly liberal state that we are in is changing course rapidly. But, at the end of the day, it is up to the women and the men in the spotlight that really sculpt cultural attitude.”
Do you identify yourself as a feminist?
Haroon Rasheed (12) – “I do not know enough about the feminist movement to identify as a feminist. However, with the basic knowledge that I do have on it, that it is about equal rights for men and women, I am all for it.”
Jennifer Wei (10) – “I am a ‘whatever’ that believes in gender equality. There is such a negative connotation with feminists these days, but I know some people who believe that females are equal to males also identify as feminists. So, to be honest, I don’t care too much about titles; I just believe that gender does not define a person and that gender should not be a limiting factor for opportunities. If a feminist is defined as someone who believes that neither sex is better than the other, then I AM a feminist. If a feminist is defined as someone who believes that men are intrinsically inferior and that women are the superior sex, then NO, I am not a feminist.”
Aarsh Shah (11) – “I would identify myself as a feminist because I do believe that both genders need to be more equal and people need to treat men and women the same. I think the stereotype surrounding the feminist word is that they only support females and not males. But I do strongly believe that both genders should be treated equally and if we do that the world will become a better place. You need perspective from both genders. Right now many CEOs and top government officials are male, I think if we can change that so more women can occupy those spots we would make our nation and the world a happier and safer place. However, that change starts with us: we can stop putting down other genders and associating stereotypes with them. By doing that we are showing that we believe in gender equality and hopefully others will as well.”
Joanna Wu (11) – “I do not because I believe that the current use of the word “feminism” implies that males are always treated better and do not experience similar situations, but I believe that is false. In addition, some feminist things I hear always sound like they are bashing men, but I don’t think it is right to raise an idea up by bashing down someone else. I do agree with the idea that gender equality is important and hope that other methods to solve this issue are sufficient.”
Julian Kim (10) – “I consider myself a feminist because I absolutely despise gender stereotypes. I believe that men and women are equal and that the word woman should not be used to describe people as weak.”
Steven Wang (12) – “The short answer is that feminism isn’t really relevant to our society anymore. The current view most people have is that women should indeed receive the same rights, privileges, and opportunities of men.”