The ‘F’ word

I have an apology to make. About a month ago, a woman was practicing yoga upstairs in the Recreation Center of Sonoma State University. As I was leaving the building, a couple of guys walked by the room and one of them stopped.

He was looking through the glass walls and was ogling her. He grabbed his friend by the arm and forced him to stop and stare too. They talked about her body, her attractiveness, etc.

To that lady, I am sorry. I should have said something articulate like, “hey guys, that’s not cool. She is more than her body and you two have no business objectifying her. Get out of here.” Or less articulate, “seriously? she’s trying to work out.” I’m sure she would have said it herself, but she was too busy to deal with the stares of a couple of “mooks.”

Men, to our slight defense, this type of objective behavior is being taught to us by our society. The term, “sex sells,” is proof of that. However, that excuse is not good enough anymore. The world we live in doesn’t allow the luxury of ignorance. Society teaches men and women to have very different roles in life, but change begins with this generation.

On Sept. 20 Emma Watson spoke to the United Nation about gender inequality. She recognized the feminist movement has become synonymous with “man-hating,” and how that be- havior must stop.

Both women and men must work together to achieve gender equality. By definition feminism is, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” We have not achieved this yet. There is an unbalance when it comes to social roles and gender stereotypes. Men, this might be hard for us to grasp, but it’s the truth. Men don’t truly understand what it means to be hit on by some sleazy person so much so that they are required to leave.

Men don’t understand how it feels to be catcalled. Nor do men understand the fear of walking alone at night and being assaulted or raped. Worse yet, to be date raped by someone they thought they trusted. Furthermore, due to social norms, men aren’t supposed to show their sensitive or emotional side. We fear the criticism of our peers. “Man up, grow a pair, don’t be such “enter multitudes of derogatory remarks.” Why is emotion a sign for weakness in men?

Men and women are people. People have feelings and emotions that need to be expressed. It is as simple as that. It’s time to put the gender roles aside and see people for who they are; humans with unlimited potential. Women account for half the population in the United States. This being the case we would expect that, politically, those same numbers would correlate with power in government.

However, females hold only 20 percent of the seats in the U.S. Senate, and only 18 percent in the House of Representatives. Women have made great progress politically but they should also have more representation in their country.

Economically, it’s the same sad story. Women get paid less for the same job and same work as men. According to whitehouse.gov, women on average make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. So if a man is paid $50,000 a year, a woman who is working that same job will only make $38,760 for the exact same work.

This generation must close the gap. I have signed the online petition for the “He for She” campaign and vow to view women as my equal politically, socially, and economically. Our society can only benefit from achieving this goal.