In my university classes the last couple weeks, we've been discussing issues of equity and discrimination. It's been fun, let me tell you. But while we've chewed on some big "isms" (a la racism, sexism, feminism), I've been impressed with my students' candor and vulnerability. Several students have admitted not understanding why feminism as a label could/should be important, and frustration at feeling unable to change a world that discriminates against people of color so freely.
|Image used with permission from gratisography.com
(If you'd like a quick and powerful look at some of the issues we've tackled, watch Bryan Stevenson's TED talk "We need to talk about injustice" and Sheryl Sandberg's "Why we have too few women leaders," and read "23 ways feminism has made the world a better place for men")
Especially when discussing feminism, I get a decent amount of push back. Most students seem to agree that equity is important for women and men, but that word leaves a dirty taste in some mouths. So I do my best to share insights and artifacts about feminism that paint a full picture of the term and it's history, and why modern agendas are so important for all genders.
And then I wake up and see that TIME has listed "feminist" alongside phrases like "om nom nom nom" and "sorry not sorry" and "obvi" on their list of potential words to ban in 2015.
ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?
The description, written by a woman apparently:
"You have nothing against feminism itself, but when did it become a thing that every celebrity had to state their position on whether this word applies to them, like some politician declaring a party? Let’s stick to the issues and quit throwing this label around like ticker tape at a Susan B. Anthony parade."
I'll stop "throwing this label around" when the pay gap disappears, when mothers aren't systematically punished in the workplace for caring for children, when men can access paternity leave freely, when women aren't asked what they were wearing before getting raped.
To use another phrase from their list: I can't even.
too angry for Xs and Os today,
Labels: #leanin, anger, banned words, Bryan Stevenson, discrimination, equity, feminism, NaBloPoMo, personal, racism, sexism, Sheryl Sandberg, Time