Feminism is the New Black: Congressional decision indicates needed progress on gender equality

Sheila Gregory, Co-Editor

“It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals,” actress and United Nations Ambassador Emma Watson said in regards to feminism.

This eloquent statement so perfectly embodies the ongoing battle for equality.

Some mistakenly think this fight is over.

Unfortunately, there is recent proof of how resistant to modern thinking our lawmakers are.

A recent bill set in place to mandate equal pay for women did not pass in Congress. Every single Republican member involved voted no.

Voted no on equality.

Voted no on a basic right.

Voted no on progress.

I didn’t know we still lived in a society where skirts are not allowed above the ankle and where my place is in the kitchen.

My place is wherever I choose it to be and for the same pay as my male counterpart — thank you very much.

The kind of medieval thinking about a “woman’s place” is exactly why there is still a gender equality battle. The idea of one person not being worth as much as another has never, nor will it ever, have any merit.

With this specific fight, there’s an underwhelming amount of advocates. Not many people, especially men, identify as feminists.

Feminists are not man-hating, pant-suit-wearing, bra-burning beings intent on destroying every gender role that has ever existed.

Feminists believe a man and a woman are equal and deserve to be treated as such.

I’m sure if that was the widely distributed definition, many more would identify with it.

The negative connotation of the word, and, I’m sure, several uncomfortable encounters with so-called feminists, have deterred the vast majority of people from joining ranks and making a difference in the fight for equal pay.

While equal pay doesn’t have much of an effect on high school students, it will in a few short years.

For right now, it’s the same thing as being in a group project, doing the exact same — if not more — work as everyone else, finishing with no errors and getting a 78 percent while the rest of the group gets a 100. Which, incidentally, is the percentage of money women made in 2013 in comparison to men in the same jobs according to The Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

I would be furious.

So, the fact that women in our workforce deal with that on a daily basis is unacceptable.

But how can we expect things to be different when according to the Huffington Post, only 23 percent of women identify as feminists and actually work for change?

How will our predominantly male lawmakers view this should-be common goal as a priority with so little support?

If we are really going to combat this inequality on practices belonging to the middle ages, we need a voice.

A strong one, too.

One that isn’t afraid to label herself — and hopefully himself — as a feminist.

One where we stop seeing women as a gender, but as people, capable of whatever they desire.

So rise up, make our voices heard and let’s get the right we all deserve.

Let’s be feminists.