How Will You Find a Husband?

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had my mother, father, grandparents, and pretty much everyone in my life tell me that I need to learn how to cook. They told me to help them cook dinner, set the table in a proper manner, and clean up after the meal. Since I was young, I didn’t really have a choice but to do everything they said. However, I did everything with an eyeroll and a sigh of boredom. After a few family dinners of me stirring pots and placing plates strategically on the table, I noticed that my older brother Jordan didn’t have to help out at all. He was always just sitting with my dad and grandfather watching whatever was on TV while the women of the family worked away in the kitchen. Every now and then I would be sent to my dad to ask him to reach something from a high shelf, but other than that he didn’t do much to help make the dinner he was about to eat. I didn’t catch onto this for a few years, until I finally asked my mom why Jordan never had to help. Her response has stuck with me since I heard the words come out of her mouth: “Because he’s a boy, and you’re a girl. He does the boy things, and you do the girl things.”

That answer didn’t sit well with me. I remember being annoyed, and confused. I didn’t understand why cooking and cleaning were girl things, and what even qualified as boy things. From what I could tell, being a boy meant sitting on the couch until a female voice called out, “Dinner!” Then you moved over to the table. When I questioned her, my mom told me that Jordan would mow the lawn and shovel the snow when he was old enough, but right now I need to learn how to cook so I can feed my future husband and kids. Just writing this right now makes me want to call my mom and play her ***Flawless by Beyonce. Before, when I was told to help make dinner, I would blindly oblige and do whatever I was told to do. But now that I knew that I was being told to do so in order to feed the hypothetical future family I didn’t even want, there was no way I was partaking in that. Since then, the idea of being a mom-in-training irked me to my very core. Every time someone in my family suggested that I wouldn’t be able to find a husband without the ability of following a recipe, I shrugged and said that I would live a single life in a big home with a chef preparing my meals for me.

Now that I’m older, and understand how the world works better, I severely question the motive behind telling me that my role as a female is to clean the house, do the laundry, and make the meals. They never once told me that I need to learn to cook and clean so that I can be a functioning adult. No, they decided the best motivation would be telling me that if I don’t learn now, I will never find a man to marry me. The role of a woman in a household has changed drastically since my parents were kids. Back then, the mom made sure she had a drink ready for her husband when he finished work, and dinner was a mere 15 minutes away. I understand that this is how they were raised, and the ideas in their heads are ones that have been explicitly laid out to them for ever since they were young. But it shocks me that anyone would want to relay this message to young girls in today’s day and age. And it’s not just my family (I hope not, at least). Look at what toys are marketed to girls and what is marketed to boys: boys get monster trucks and remote control helicopters; girls get plastic kitchens and fake ovens.

 

From such a young age, girls are being told to get into the kitchen, learn how to cook, and get ready for a life of preparing meals for your husband and kids. But it’s time to show them that it’s okay to not like cooking, or not want a husband, or to be their own independent girl and woman instead of someone’s unpaid chef. We need our girls to realize that they are more than their gender, their race, their weight, and their ability to throw together a meal. They are a human being with an exponential amount of potential bursting at the seam. Raise the girls to know that they will find happiness, success, and love even if they can just barely make Kraft Dinner without burning it.

Hannah Schaffrath is a first year Public Relations student studying at Humber College in Toronto.

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Why are Feminists looked down upon in society?

Blessing Bunhu is a student at Humber College.

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Is there something wrong with modern feminism? First of all, let’s begin by stating what a feminist is. According to Webster, a feminist is someone who wants both males and females to have equal opportunities in society. Feminists want to empower equality for females all around the world against male prejudice. When I look at feminism, I think of equality for the minorities in the developing world, which are usually female. But at the same time it makes me wonder, is feminism really about equality for both genders?

Feminist movements have campaigned for women’s rights which includes the right to vote, to be educated, pay equality and equal rights within marriage.  Feminists have helped to protect women and had changed history for women to have a better future. I am a big fan of feminists; they inspire me to become one and they have helped to shape and change how society has viewed women in the past. As a feminist, I am afraid to say the f-word in public, because it has a lot of negative connotation that surrounds the word “feminist”.

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People tend to avoid saying or identifying themselves as a feminist, in fact, they tend to avoid the word as if it is some sort of virus that can spread. When people think of a feminist, they think of us as being male hater, and anti-family. There are so many stereotypes that have been portrayed by the media. With the help of the media, feminists are framed as people who are fighting for special gender-specific privileges for women rather than equality opportunity for both genders in society.

 

As I mentioned before I am afraid to identify myself as a feminist in public and I am not the only one who feels the same. Beyoncé has written an essay about feminist and songs that empower women and girls to stand up for their rights. “I’ve always considered myself a feminist, although I was always afraid of that word because people put so much on it,” said Beyoncé. “When honestly, it’s very simple. It’s just a person that believes in equality for men and women. Men and women balance each other out, and we have to get to a point where we are comfortable with appreciating each other.” I believed that feminism brings sisterhood together and that both men and women are fighting for their rights against prejudices.

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The feminist groups have become more complicated to identify in society.  Feminism has become a different ideology from what it used to stand for. People choose not to became a feminist because they fear the idea that feminist represents gender equality for women, but has failed to represent men as well. “People have very legitimate reasons to reject feminism,” says, Sheila Sampath, a Toronto-based race and gender activist. “It doesn’t surprise me that the narrative they’re responding to is the dominant narrative. That narrative itself is pretty racist, pretty capitalist and focused only on gender. To be honest, I reject that too.”

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But they’re feminists who had to keep on fighting for equality despite what the media and anti-feminists had said. Emma Watson publicly denounces herself as a feminist during her speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Emma Watson was assigned as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. She helped launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, in which calls men to help bring equality for women around the world. Emma Watson has helped promote education for girls in locally devolved countries.

I believe that men and women can be both feminists fighting for equality and if we all come together, we can make this world a better place. That’s what being a feminist means to me. So what does a feminist or being one mean to you? What is so wrong about today’s feminism that people are afraid to say the F-word in public?

“Feminist” is not a bad word

There’s a weird paradox in many people when it comes to believing in something. On one hand, we whole-heartedly reaffirm and reiterate the points and opinions of the people who agree with us. We excitedly nod and say “God, yes,” all the while brimming with anticipation to share our own views with those who see it our way.

On the other hand, when among a crowd that thinks differently, it’s not such a fun time. Depending on how they are, you might just want to avoid stupid conflict. You might care immensely about what they think of you. Or, the word you use to identify with your cause might have been tarnished by misguided zealots. Thanks a lot.

Here’s where that final scenario applies: feminism, the asinine, deplorable belief that two genders should be treated equally by all and have a mutual respect for one another. Ha! Crazy.

Negative portrayals of feminism have run rampant through society for a very long time. Change scares people, and those who are comfy in the seat they’re in don’t want to consider other ideals. The opposition works tirelessly to smear this reputation so they can continue to stagnate in their beliefs.

But of course, it’s not some good against evil battle. This is real life, and there are plenty of reasons why the word “feminism” can automatically rub someone the wrong way. Sometimes people are just plain intimidated by a cause. It becomes a delicate balance, and the way one should teach someone about a cause should mirror the way everything is taught: start off small. You don’t teach math by jumping straight into quadratics. Sell ideals by telling the audience how they benefit from this. However, becoming frustrated when someone doesn’t immediately see what you’re seeing is a dangerously easy ditch to fall into.

These things and others all add up to the widely-held belief that feminists are all man-hating bra-burning lesbians. That’s become the go-to image for the apathetic citizen, and that’s the image that people against feminism want them to see.

Because of this, some people look around the room really quick before informing you they believe in gender equality. Being firm in your belief, yet having to hastily explain yourself is no way to be. Worse still, people will publicly announce they support all items present on the feminist agenda, and then claim not to be a feminist. Yeah, okay buddy. You live on earth and require oxygen and all that, but you’re not like, a carbon based lifeform or anything.

I’ve been through this. I had a (shamefully lengthy) point in time where I believed we were treated completely equally, and that women who complained about it were just whiny uptight girls. See that? See how that stereotype was a reality to me? Don’t do societies, kids.

Yes, I thought catcalls were compliments and that there was absolutely nothing wrong and that gender issues magically based themselves on nothing, I guess. I know why people have these ideas. While it sure is easy for me to point at nothing and exclaim “SOCIETY’S FAULT!” we have to remember that we are society. It does not exist without us. There are people behind these negative statements and detrimental ideas, so many real living people who have to worry about family and who love their pets and really would just like some time to relax. They’re not evil, they just don’t know or don’t care. That’s what they were raised on. David Wong, executive editor of Cracked, writes that “Nobody involved in a conflict thinks they’re the villain,” and the things David Wong writes are the realest things I’ve ever read. This idea is no different.

So, y’know, we are the future, break this terrible cycle, etc. You’ve heard these motivational go-get ’em things before. While being the change is a very nice thing to aspire to, it’s ultimately just your goal. Thats like motivating someone to climb Everest with “Get to the top!” That’s the idea, but like, rationing and climbing equipment and stuff.

It has to start with acceptance. You’re not supporting your cause if you don’t say it audibly and confidently. Being okay with yourself and this thing together is step one, and there is no physical way to skip step one.

So have you taken that first step yet? Do you have glorious ideas about how to shape the world for the better? Still too nervous to admit it to others? That’s okay if you are, though. I was too.

Tabitha Summerhayes is a full-time PR student at Humber College.

Because I don’t have a Penis: Inequality in the World of Sports

Laura Chittim is a sports enthusiast and attempted blogger from Humber College

Now, before you presume this is a feminist bashing man for ‘all its wrong doings’ post, let me assure you, I am not one of those people. I am simply, a 23 year old woman who feels that because I don’t have a penis, I’ve been treated differently my entire life. You see I’ve always played sports; rep basketball, baseball, badminton, karate and the list goes on, all predominantly male based if not completely the guys team. Why, because I didn’t have a choice, there weren’t enough girls to make a girls only team, and in reality why does it matter, I could beat most of them anyway, but I digress. On these teams there was always at least one guy who didn’t want to play with my sister or myself all because we were girls.

I would think, what gives? I’m really no different; I have as much skill as the next person on the team. why so much animosity? Still when I play my Sunday night hockey, the guys treat me differently. Now I’ll make a point: I’m not very good, but competitively I’m treated differently and the only reason I can think of is because I am a girl. This makes me think of the ‘Like a Girl’ campaign used to depict the difference of how children and adults react to ‘acting like a girl’,and the odd outcome, the children believed girls and boys were equal, where the adults displayed them as weak, unintelligent beings. If you want to see what I’m talking about watch the video here. It’s like once guys hit a certain age we lose equality, maybe because we’re now depicted as sex symbols, possibly it’s because of knowledge passed down from generations ‘that the only place for a woman is in the kitchen’, or more likely society depicts women to be weak and that it’s irregular to see women even playing a sport on TV.

On that note, I dare you to go to a sports channels broadcasting schedule and tell me how many times you see ‘Women’s__________”. I took to the challenge, and out of the 5 TSN stations I came across nothing. NADDA, ZIP, ZERO NONE. How are our young girls suppose to have a female sports idol is they can’t even see one except for every four years during the Olympics.

With that another side note….. Women’s sports are slowly making their way out of the Olympics, or long fights have had to be made to add them like; hockey in 1998 and women’s ski jumping in 2012.

Even at 23, it’s hard to understand why, because I’m a girl in the 21st century I’m not depicted as equal on the field/court/ice. The worst, girls that do play sports are considered different by many of their peers being called names, like butch or stereotyped as being gay. Since 1897 women and society have been pushing for equal rights; being considered a person, the right to vote, the right to an equal wage so why is it taking so long for the world of sports do to the same? (To see an interesting timeline of the evolution of woman’s right check it out here).

Some disturbing facts:

  • Women make up 54% of college students and only 43% of college athletes.1
  • Title IX compliance has been driven by law suits and threats of law suits. Although the law states that schools that violate Title IX will lose their federal funding, in thirty years no school has ever lost federal funding for not complying with Title IX.
  • Male college athletes receive 36% more scholarship dollars than female college athletes at NCAA institutions.1
  • Men’s college athletics receive more money than women’s in scholarships, recruiting, head coach salaries, and operating expenses.1
  • Men have substantially more employment opportunities than women in college sports. Women are 16.9% of the Athletic Directors, 44% of the head coaches of women’s teams, 2% of the head coaches of men’s teams, and 27.8% of the full time athletic trainers.

Note, Title IX of the Education Act opened athletics to women and girls, it’s the American Amendment for sex discrimination in Athletics. More Info Here.

In all, I don’t think I’ll ever get it. That because of my biological make up, I will not be as good as my brother, friend or neighbour. What differences can be made to make this equality possible?