OPINION: Feminism; it’s not just for girls

Jack Steele Mattingly

In my life, I can easily count way more female friends than guys. I’m not sure how it happened. I grew up close with a mom and a sister. Most of my classes were a female majority. I never did sports so I never bonded with any teammates. Needless to say, I have now become more close to girls in a platonic way.

Now I’m not weirded out by this, in fact, I don’t think it’s weird at all. It’s just natural to me. It wasn’t until the cruel slap of reality made me realize how ‘weird’ society thinks it is. But that’s the problem with how our society raises us(well, just one of the problems). We teach little girls to cover themselves up and that every man with a penis wants to ‘bed’ anything that shows a bare shoulder. Personally, I don’t see why I can’t stay the night at a female friend’s house without people feeling like I’m trying to destroy the ‘system.’ I was just trying to watch Shrek, not destroy the patriarchy. But I guess I have to.

The fact is that rape isn’t one-sided. Men rape women. Women rape men. Men rape men. Women rape women. And so on. We can’t treat women like they’re objects and we shouldn’t treat men like they’re monsters. There is only one certainty; rape  is wrong. And some people seem to think that rape is complex. It’s anything but. It’s any nonconsensual sexual act. That means getting someone incredibly drunk and taking them home. That means betraying a friend’s trust just because of your lust. That means anyway in which you have sex with them when they don’t want to.

So how is this a problem? Are there some people that actually support rape? I doubt that number is more than 0.001% of the population. No the problem is people don’t understand rape. It’s not just a woman being helplessly taken over in a dark alley, which is often the first image that comes to mind. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice statistics, only 26% of rapists are strangers to their victims. This means that almost 3/4 of victims know their rapists, which is even scarier. People aren’t being taught properly what rape is and honestly, it should be pretty obvious that it’s wrong. You just have to make the definition well known. Rape is one of the worst things we can do to each other. I know some people suggest that rapists are messed up in the head, and that may be the case, but if they’re being raised in a society that isn’t telling them that rape is wrong, then society is to blame. Because people are just pretty messed up if they aren’t taught and just act on pure emotion. We perfectly outline that murder and stealing aren’t good, but sometimes people forget to mention rape. Especially when we treat women like targets.

And rape is only one part of the problem. There’s still discrimination, negative connotations, and general inequality that comes with being a woman. I know so many girls that would make way better leaders than boys yet I know they might not get the chance. If a guy thinks a woman has no value “outside the kitchen” than I doubt we should treat him as what a man is. I don’t think any one can call themselves a man if they consider their female counterparts as inferior. Gender roles are a strange thing we have set up that immediately teach our children how segregated men and women are more than they should be. And if a woman is getting less for working more than a man, how can we claim ourselves to be free and fair society?

In Manual, I know we have a more liberal environment which tends to make us more apt to be okay with more liberal ideas like feminism. Or as some of us call it; civil rights. But feminism often gets misunderstood. Just because the name suggests it is ‘for women by women’; it’s really more ‘for everyone by everyone’. Because feminism is about equality. The only reason it suggests women empowerment is because, well, there weren’t very powered to begin with.