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International Women’s Day causes controversy

Lauren Paquet, Editor

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March 8th, 2017, also known as International Women’s Day, brought feminists all over the world together to celebrate the history and strength of our gender. As with just about everything these days, there were of course many people on social media offended by or against the feminist culture. Many anti-feminists had a lot to say about the matter, and what surprised me was seeing girls my age protesting the day.

Scrolling through my Twitter feed, I expected to see empowered women and men tweeting about their appreciation for women–and don’t get me wrong, I saw plenty of it. But I also saw angered men talking about “When’s International Men’s Day?” and equally infuriated women to my surprise. It made me sick that some girls out there don’t appreciate their own gender, and not to mention, everything that women have suffered from and fought for for hundreds of years–not just in this country, but every country.

First of all, feminism has been given a bad rep, in my opinion, due to its misinterpretation on social media. The word feminism itself means “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” I think sometimes people forget that we are fighting for equality, not superiority over men. Women have had a lot more rights to fight for than men throughout history, from voting to equal pay to places in religious and political occupations–and some of these rights we are still fighting for.

Also, it makes me sad that some men don’t see that they can be feminists, too. It actually could benefit men who take on roles that throughout history have been meant for women, such as being a stay-at-home dad. Feminism also stands for men’s rights, and it stands for making it okay for men to express emotions like women have been more known to do. Emma Watson, a practicing feminist, put it perfectly when she said, “We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.”

I am a feminist, and in no way do I think women are superior to men. Throughout history, men have been seen as more important and more beneficial to society simply because they have been expected to be the ones who bring in the income. I think feminism is all about closing that gap and equalizing the sexes, and making it normal for both sexes to take on any occupation they want and to get equal pay for the same job. It’s saddening to see women who don’t call themselves feminists because it’s like they’re okay with everything that’s happened in women’s history. They would be okay if they didn’t have the right to vote, or the right to receive equal pay as men, or the number of other things women have struggled with. I can’t help but think that these women don’t truly understand what feminism is, and it makes me wonder how many more people out there don’t know what it is and what it means either.
I think it’s important to make feminism known as a peaceful way to fight for women’s rights, and both men and women should feel comfortable and proud to call themselves feminists. It’s about fighting for what’s right, and International Women’s Day is supposed to be about showing appreciation for women and recognizing what they have endured throughout history. Yes, men have struggled, too, and that’s why International Men’s Day is on November 19th.

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The student news site of Biddeford High School in Biddeford, Maine
International Women’s Day causes controversy