The Ways Young Women Hinder Gender Equality
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7 Ways Today's Young Women Are Hindering Gender Equality

The future is in our hands, ladies.


For the first time in history, women have the opportunity to obtain full equality, but it may be us females who are preventing this from happening. As a young woman who's just started her college career, I've been exposed to the many ways my female peers encourage sexism, and whether we are aware of it or not, some of our everyday doings as women are holding us back from obtaining complete gender equality and positive attitudes towards women. If you're a woman fed up with our current situation, then this list may help you reevaluate your efforts in the women's rights movement and inspire you to make changes in areas you never realized were problematic.

We support sexist media 

Our culture is filled with media that objectifies and devalues women. Whether it's rap music with references to rape, movies about women who can only find happiness by falling in love with a man, or TV commercials featuring scantly dressed women, we are exposed to sexism on a day-to-day basis. What's worse is that many young women buy into these sexist references. Many college girls have playlists that are filled with rape-related songs and spend hours watching TV shows and movies that focus on women finding their worth through men.

While it's hard to avoid many of these forms of media, young women are still making a conscious decision to let these sexist forms of media play a role in their lives. This type of sexist exposure certainly impacts the way young women view themselves and the ways they should be treated; their support of sexist media demonstrates female compliance with what they see and hear, making men feel like the objectification of women is acceptable when it indeed is not.

We diet and exercise to be thin 

Even though we speak for gender equality, our actions and attitudes towards ourselves speak louder volumes and go against everything we stand for. While we march the streets chanting for a chance to play a bigger role in society, we go back to our homes and skips meals or spend hours at the gym so we can become smaller.

Our impact in this world is growing smaller as our bodies shrink; it seems as though we've forgotten that the only way we'll change the status quo is by taking up more space and not giving ourselves up to unnecessary societal standards. While it's perfectly ok to utilize diet and exercise for healthy living, it's dangerous to obsess over body image, and this obsession could be one of the big factors holding women back from social justice.

We prioritize our dating lives over our personal lives 

A young woman's love life is perceived as a crucial aspect to her college experience, and many female students are on missions to find their future husbands during their four years on campus. Although many college relationships are healthy and end up working out long-term, young women will put their dating lives before their personal needs since they are obsessively concerned with finding love.

When women willingly sacrifice their studies, friends, and interests in order to meet men and engage in sexual activity, they're giving into the stereotype that young women are looking for husbands and don't have any career or life goals. While we advocate for more control over our lives, we still let men influence our choices and even let them take precedence over the things we love and feel passionate about. Our willingness to give up our lives to men suggests that ending sexism isn't a priority, and this could prevent us from gaining a more respectable role in the world.

We put each other down

Young women have a tendency to treat each other poorly; we judge each other, exclude one another, and are constantly trying to find ways to be better than the woman next to us. This shameful behavior is a big reason why we aren't seeing much progress in our fight for gender equality. When we don't have respect for each other, how can we expect respect from our male counterparts? We've abandoned sisterhood in order to compete with one another. Instead of bringing each other down, we should be building each other up so we can be a unified unit and start changing the world together.

We dress to impress 

While it's completely acceptable to dress up because you want to, doing so to impress men or fit in with a group of girls certainly is not. Many young women have latched onto the idea that the way they dress defines who they are, but this notion is completely false and detrimental to the women's rights movement. While women are occupying their time worrying about what outfit to wear, they're taking time away from becoming more informed on what's happening in the world and in politics, making them less inclined to vote and represent the female population. Phrases such as "dress to impress" are big reasons why women feel more inclined to absorb themselves in fashion over knowledge, and the result is an uninformed female population that doesn't have the passion or insight for how to better their lives and the lives of their daughters.

We stay silent 

Most young women have the tendency to keep quiet even when they're faced with uncomfortable situations. When we're in the car and hear a song with cruel language towards women, we don't ask the driver to change it. When a man is being inappropriate, we don't tell him to stop out of fear of embarrassment. When we don't speak up and stand up for ourselves, we willingly allow sexism to prosper. Surely it can be difficult to be the woman that speaks up when she feels uncomfortable, but the only way we will see change is through women who aren't afraid to voice their concerns and put people with sexist attitudes in their place.

We don't identify as feminists 

Choosing to identify as a feminist or not has become a very controversial topic, and the true definition of the term has become lost in the arguments that are for and against the term "feminism." Recently, thousands of young women have come out bashing feminism and choosing not to identify with feminists, and passionate feminists have criticized them for not supporting women and their fight for equality.

This divide among women is toxic and certainly interferes with the efforts both sides are making to earn respect and equal rights. Let us not forget the real definition of feminism: women being equal to men. It is not about having more than men or preventing women from living traditional lifestyles; it's also not about being a trend that goes out of style that should be condemned by women who think they hold themselves to higher standards than feminists.

No matter what your other beliefs are, if you believe women should have equal respect and opportunities to men, you are a feminist. The drama we've created around feminism is no different than the drama we faced in high school; we are better than that. Feminism is a sisterhood, and the idea of women working with each other has been deeply damaged by our unwillingness to work together. In reality, we should all be feminists.

"Feminist" can mean something different for everyone, but we should all stand for each other and end the stigma that women aren't capable of making change because they're constantly in competition with one another. The only way we will make a change is by being unified and setting aside our pride so that we can accomplish something great. The time is now, ladies.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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