Combating Gender Stereotypes: On a Lighter Note

By Tristan Miller-Lammert, Trending Writer

Gender equality is a hot issue in 2016. Most people have something to say about it. Regardless of where you stand, however, the outlook for women in 2016 feels positive. It seems like more and more people, businesses, and groups are coming to terms with the idea that your gender should not affect your life negatively. You should not be treated differently or have different opportunities based on your sex.

Whereas some people get annoyed with overly aggressive feminism, recent examples are not that extreme. After a Rhode Island man wrote to a newspaper with condescending and sexist comments about women’s yoga pants, a peaceful march was organized in his neighborhood. Although his intent was not sexism, the comments he made were offensive.

He attacked women, who wear yoga pants, with comments about their bodies and age. Despite how offensive it actually was, a Facebook community based around the march posted “Please do not come for a fight, you will be shut down”. They even asked Alan Sorrentino, who made the comments, to join, but he declined.

In addition to a peaceful message about gender equality, the protestors also collected unused hygiene products for Sojourner House, a non-profit for victims of domestic abuse.

On a bigger scale, mainstream media is headed towards more equality. According to the UK’s The Guardian, only ten percent of news stories focus on women with only four percent challenging current stereotypes. Despite this, it is proven that showing women in power or questioning authority inspires other women.

When a woman in Afghanistan saw another woman from her village ask President Karzai a question on TV, she felt very empowered. “I like her courage for asking. When the ladies ask questions of officials , I become encouraged and proud of them”.

Media has the powerful ability to reach billions of people, inspiring and empowering them to challenge oppression and age-old stereotypes. Nepal’s show Sajha Sawal, Common Questions in English, is all about interviewing women and locals in their villages. By doing this, they avoid the usually male-dominated studio environment, which can influence their answers and suppress their voices.

In addition to the potential in media and peaceful feminist protests, UN statistics are also positive. In 46 countries around the world, women hold more than 30% of seats in parliaments. In Southern Asia, the ratio of girls to boys enrolled in school went up from 74 to 100 to almost equal between 1990 and 2012. Globally, two thirds of developed countries have achieved gender parity in primary education.

These statistics show us that gender equality is looking up in 2016. Feminists and everyone who support equality have a strong force of improvement behind them.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 8th print edition.

Contact Tristan at

tristan.millerlammert@student.shu.edu

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