Gender issues: what it means to be a woman at the College

The human race is extremely diverse, but we are all made up of the same things. No matter our genders, we are equal. Personally, I am a human first. But sadly, my gender has become a label. Everything for women is different. In college, women experience inequality, must ensure we are not making ourselves a distraction and must protect ourselves from men’s actions. These realities are manifestations of the lack of respect for women at the College, and this lack of respect has dual roots: the way in which some women portray themselves and also the way in which some men view women.

What more can we as women do in order to show that we are equivalent to men? What more can we do to protect ourselves? These questions inherently make gender inequality solely a woman’s issue, but this is a human issue. Men and women must stand together in order to bring about change. We must all realize when our actions are in the wrong. We must stop blaming victims, and stop disrespecting others and ourselves because of gender. We must portray ourselves according to the way we want to be treated. Once we step up and realize our thoughts and actions toward gender issues are wrong, we can finally begin to glimpse an even playing field.

(Photo courtesy of JenniferDienst on Flickr Creative Commons)

(Photo courtesy of JenniferDienst on Flickr Creative Commons)

I want to take a step back in order to understand what exactly “gender issues” are. There is no clear definition; every individual will have something different to say because gender issues entail a variety of conflicts. These conflicts include anything from gender violence to gender inequality. The main problems in the gender issue spectrum stem from the entrenched idea of gender superiority, which is only fueled by gender labels. When we say that men are superior to women, we are reducing people to their societal labels. We have no choice in what gender we have; therefore it should not decide our stance in society. However, these omnipresent labels create boundaries, and this is why we must work together to understand and rid the world of them.

There are many different schools of thought on gender issues. They are often polarized as specifically women’s issues or specifically men’s issues, but these viewpoints lead to the creation of entirely different problems. When people say gender issues are solely the concern of women, they place the blame on the way women portray themselves. While this idea plays a small part in perpetuating gender issues, it creates victim blaming, which is inherently wrong. When people say that gender issues are solely the concern of men, they place the blame on the disrespectful treatment of women by men and the idea of male superiority. While these ideas heavily contribute to gender issues, women must still portray themselves in a manner that constitutes respect. To understand gender issues as a whole, both of these takes must be combined. Placing the blame entirely on men or entirely on women only deepens the problem. The problems with gender issues are essentially human. Acknowledging this is the first step in creating a level world and campus.

With a new approach to gender issues, life would be completely different for women in the world and at the College. In a perfect world, women would no longer have to worry about societal stereotypes or preconceived judgments just because of gender. We would simply be able to go to class, wear what makes us comfortable, work hard and focus on the bright future ahead of us. It can be this way for all of us. We no longer would have to fear the bad decisions of people based solely on gender. Women could feel safe, respected and confident about who we are. We could all just live our lives the way we should: label free. But in order to achieve this, we all must change the way we think about gender issues.

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