Politics June 15, 2018
Listen up, Uncle Johnny!
For most of us, it is a no brainer that women are up against many issues in modern society. We see them, we hear about them, we experience them. Women face discrimination in the work place, on the walk home, in our representation and on the home front.
However, there remain those who deny women’s struggles, putting any complaints women have down to personal ability. You may seem them on the news, in the White House or even at the Thanksgiving dinner table. In the face of misogyny, it can often be difficult to conjure up effective arguments. The discomfort and disappointment that comes from discrimination can form a lump in anyone’s throat. If you are willing to stand up to naysayers but unsure how to back up your argument, here is a list of current women’s issues you can confront your opponent with. We have also provided a description of each issue as a sort of script, but feel free to improvise.
Most of us have experienced catcalling at some point. While some may describe catcalling as flattering, a Stop Street Harassment study reported 87 percent of comments used in catcalling as sexist. The study also revealed that 57 percent of women had received unwanted sexual and/or physical contact from strangers. The main problem with catcalling is that it is most often unwanted. According to the University of Calgary, harassment is “unwelcome and inappropriate verbal or physical conduct.” Therefore, any form of unwanted sexual attention can be considered harassment. Few would argue that harassment is intended as a compliment. Furthermore, women experience catcalling more often than men. Therefore, it is not a man’s place to speak on the quality of the experience.
Standard school dress code rules include a limit on skirt length and punishment for revealing bra straps. This obviously targets women, or at least those who dress according to society’s standards for women. A rule that exists for women and not for men is inherently sexist. Many schools have stated their reasoning for these dress code standards as a tactic to keep girls from distracting boys. This unnecessarily sexualizes female bodies. This is particularly negative when considering that many of these females are not even at an age where they can legally have sex.
On the note of sexualization, one may turn to film to see a contrast in the way women and men are portrayed. For example, in several superhero movies, we see men in suits that cover their bodies entirely and emphasize muscle. On the other hand, the women are often clad in tight suits that emphasize breasts and bottoms. This is also often the case in the comics these movies are based on. Daily media outlets also sexualize women. This includes news channels, which often subject the “weather girl” to various sexual comments. The issue at hand here is an inability to see a woman beyond her body and how it can please a man.
In 2016, Time magazine reported that a woman earns 77 cents for every dollar a man earns in the United States. This number only goes down as we consider women of color’s earnings. Some people may chalk this up to the disparity between the jobs men and women work, and they may be right. The issue with this argument is women are often prevented or discouraged from entering higher paying careers, while men are pushed toward them. Gender bias often exists in the questions interviewers ask. Moreover, even once hired, the Computer Business Review reports women’s accomplishments being valued less than their male coworkers’.
Standing up for your beliefs can be exhausting and devastating. Being prepared with your argument is a sure fire way to assist in the debate process. Hopefully, with these four arguments for women’s issues, you can tackle that conversation with Uncle Johnny just in time for pie.
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