Feminism stirs student opinions

A group of girls eats lunch together in the hallway. "In a way, being a female or a minority adds to your confidence. You feel strong for being able to stand the discrimination," Rebecca N. said.

A group of girls eats lunch together in the hallway. “In a way, being a female or a minority adds to your confidence. You feel strong for being able to stand the discrimination,” Rebecca N. said.

Since the suffrage movement of the 1850s and the “second wave” of feminism in the 1970s, gender politics have raised controversy and heated discussion. The debate over feminism is far from finished, though; Oakwood students voice diverse opinions about the movement, and some even dismiss its worth today.

“I do think it’s mostly a thing of the past. It’s just about equality between men and women, and we’re not done yet, but we’re definitely getting there,” Andrew K. said.

Other students disagree.

“I think feminism is more relevant now than ever,” Fredrerick T. said. “A lot of people mistake feminism for female empowerment, but at its roots it was about making people equal. There are situations like divorce cases where women almost always get the children; women are empowered, but there’s no equality under the law.”

Whether they call themselves feminist or not, most students do have something to criticize about gender treatment in our school and society. A major talking point is women’s underrepresentation in fields like science and technology.

“As it is right now, men dominate 80% of the field of science andwomen get 20%. It’s a problem because females can be as brilliant as males, but men still hold the top jobs,” Joseph G. said.

One club in our school, Femineering, aims to encourage women to pursue careers in engineering. This brings up yet another controversy, though.

“I think there is gender discrimination in clubs like that. There’s no men’s version – why do we need to separate the genders? Dividing ourselves doesn’t make us equal. People say let the boys do their own thing, let the boys do their thing, but that’s not equality,” Joseph G. said.

Others argue that gender division isn’t the same as discrimination.

“In sixth grade they split us up for sex ed. I think dividing the genders is necessary to a certain extent for women to feel comfortable. They need to have a sense of community,” Rebecca N. said.

Events that cater specifically to females and exclude males get mixed reviews from students. Some think that flipping gender roles for one event solidifies roles elsewhere – the event becomes an exception that strengthens the rule.

“Powderpuff  Football is discriminatory in a way. It says that women can’t play football, so we had to give them their own separate game,” Frederick T. said.

But for others, they’re still a step in the right direction.

“Turnabout’s a good move because it gives chances for the girl to ask out the boy, when usually boys have to do it. Girls can ask boys to other dances, but they don’t,” Joseph G. said.

Whatever happens today, the only certainty is that discussion will continue for quite some time – or forever, some say.

“I think there will always be a gender imbalance. I think there always will be some degree of discussion. You still see discrimination today,” said Rebecca N.

By Bailey Gallion

gallion.bailey@oakwoodschools.org

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