I was going to post a fun, casual, catch-up kind of blog post but then I read a blog post from another blogger that made me stop completely in my tracks.
It was like one of those blog posts that you read that makes you completely shake your head and throw your hands up in the air.
Basically, her point was that women shouldn’t be fighting for anything and that they are not marginalized. (Among many other things that were…ugh. Halee and I have been discussing this post for a while. I suggest that if society ever frustrates you, to discuss with a friend your perspectives and viewpoints. Also check out Halee’s blog!)
*takes a deep breath*
Okay, listen. I’m going to take a moment and be real with you all here. Each and every person has their own beliefs and experiences. I am a young, ethnic woman soon to be working in a male-dominated field and industry. I’m an Asian American woman who was born and raised in Illinois, and I attended a liberal university in the college of Chicago. Therefore, I have interacted with and know a very diverse group of people and have had very different experiences than other people. I get that.
In my everyday life, I have constantly had experiences that were sexist, racist, discriminatory, and terrible. When I worked at a healthcare nonprofit one of the veterans refused to acknowledge or even talk to me (he would literally ignore me and not even say hello, as if I was an object) because of the fact that I was a Vietnamese woman. All of my (older, Caucasian) coworkers literally told me that I was making it up because I was the youngest person in the office, and also because I was a woman. An older male coworker justified the racism and discrimination by telling me that I just had to accept it because I was a young ethnic woman.
It was as if they were telling me that I did not matter and that I should not have been treated with decent human respect based on my ethnicity and my gender.
When my brilliant, PhD candidate TA told us that she had a child my freshman year of college, everyone stopped asking her questions about the class. They only asked her questions about her child and why she was getting a PhD when she was also a mother. She was visibly uncomfortable and literally had to ask my male classmates not to ask her any more questions about her child. Literally, before she mentioned that fact people asked her plenty of questions about biological sciences and her research. I remember seeing the look on her face and immediately sensing the struggle that she had to endure to be taken seriously as a woman in the field of STEM. That was one of the very first moments
That was one of the very first moments that I quickly realized that being a woman in STEM, and being a woman, in general, is difficult. And that feeling has never faded.
And every day in my life, no one ceases to remind me that not only am I a woman, but also an Asian-American woman.
It is irrefutable that women are marginalized and face gender discrimination. Plenty of people skew stats to their liking and claim that there’s no visible evidence, but it is so obvious that attitudes about women need to change. Just because you have not been marginalized, discriminated against, or faced sexism and racism does not mean that it doesn’t exist.
It’s a terrible, entitled, and privileged viewpoint to things, and it is just plain sad. By believing that something you don’t see is non-existent it perpetuates this belief that it is permissible to ignore and dismiss serious problems in our society. It is undeniable that women continue to fight for their rights and equality because it is something that we still do not have.
I could yammer on for an incredibly long tangent about feminism and sexism, but I’ll stop myself. We live in a society where women cannot wear and dress how they want. Compared to other countries, yes, women have more rights in the United States but they still do not fully have equal rights. We claim in the United States that women can become president, but elected a completely unqualified (among many other things) over a woman who was tremendously qualified for the position.
We claim that women can wear and do whatever they want but women are sexually assaulted and then always shamed and blamed. How many times have you heard, “she shouldn’t have worn that,” or “she shouldn’t have been there,” or “she shouldn’t have put herself in that position?” Countless times. And the fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter where she was or what she was doing, she still should not have been sexually assaulted. Instead of teaching women that they have to watch out for themselves and that they MUST watch what they’re doing, how about we teach people not to sexually assault people?
How about we teach consent? How about we stop perpetuating this belief that women need to watch themselves and be afraid, and instead re-evaluate the beliefs we are putting into our society?
There are so many instances of women being treated unequally and unfairly. It’s so common and something that each and every woman endures whether or not they acknowledge it. I don’t want my daughter to grow up in a world where people think it is acceptable to tell her that women are supposed to behave a certain way, or that they are only allowed to have certain interests.
I don’t want her to grow up in a world where she is paid less than a man and treated differently because she is a woman. I don’t want her to live in a world where men are making choices about her body and she is taught by society that she must constantly be watching out for herself or afraid of what might happen to her. I want her to grow up in a world where she believes that she can do truly anything she sets her heart and mind to, and where she feels safe and knows she matters.
I want her to grow up in a world where she believes that she can do truly anything she sets her heart and mind to, and where she feels safe and empowered. I want her to empower other women, instead of fighting against them like everyone else perpetuates. I want her to know that her body and her choices are hers and that no one, especially a man can make (or force) those opinions, choices, and beliefs on her.
And most importantly, I want her to feel like she doesn’t have to work extra hard to be taken seriously. I want people to attribute her success to her hard work and her perseverance. I want her to be able to know she is good enough, and not feel like she is less because she is a woman.
Every day, I wonder if that will happen, or if my daughter will be reminded every day that she is an Asian American woman through misogyny, sexism, and discrimination.
“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”
― Rebecca West