In the age of the annual Women's March and the #MeToo movement, it's easy to claim that we live in a reformed society. A society that respects women and treats us as equals. A society that doesn't automatically question our everyday decisions, questions not posed to males. While women in America have made incredible strides in the fight for equality, the double standard unfortunately still exists.
However, the way in which we choose to discriminate against and admonish women for being themselves has changed. Inequality is no longer about preventing a whole gender from voting or keeping women out of the workplace. Instead, it is in the subtle comments made about our everyday choices. "Why is she wearing that?" "She's asking for it." "She's too nice." "She's not nice enough."
It is in the negative connotation that still comes with the word "feminist." Since when did a term that stood for equality threaten the rights of others? Last I checked, a feminist, by definition, was someone who supports equality between sexes. So why do people still have a problem with it?
Equality is about more than just passing laws that support all individuals.
True equality is achieved when individuals of society change their thoughts and mannerisms. When a female rape victim is no longer asked first what she was wearing or if she was drinking or if she in any way made a man feel like she wanted something that she clearly didn't want. When a woman isn't passed up for a promotion because she doesn't fit the "image" that the position was looking for. It is truly incredible how we, as a society, have normalized this inequality.
Women have no way of winning in a society that is programmed to criticize their every choice. Either she's a prude or she's a slut. Either she's too timid or she's too aggressive. Either she wears too much makeup or she doesn't care at all about her appearance. She is never enough. We are never enough.
If he screams, he's passionate. If she screams, she's hostile. Why? Why is it that the automatic response toward females is one with a negative connotation? We shouldn't have to apologize for being ourselves, and we sure as hell don't need to be held to an impossible standard that doesn't pertain to men. How can women be expected to reach their full potential if we're still being torn down?
It's time we start changing the way we think. And this isn't just about women supporting women. Men, this applies to you, too. How can we ever strive for equality if it's not present at home, at school, or at work? Change starts with the individual, and it's about time for some change.