Emma Watson’s United Nations speech, Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz’s sparking a revolution and Steve Santagati being ripped apart on national television for his views on catcalling are only several of the thousands of discussions on femenism circulating around the globe.
Here’s one more for Drexel University.
You often hear terms such as “feminazis” or on the other end of the spectrum “meninists.” being thrown around. But what exactly does this growing discussion consist of? Let’s start with a basic definition.
Feminism is defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men.” What does this mean? It’s simple; women want to be viewed as equal to men and not have a disadvantage when it comes to competing for something, just because they are women. But to achieve this, it’s important to first understand and accept that men and women are currently not equal.
Often, people believe feminism to be the equivalent of “man-hating.” This is not the case. When we say “women should be respected” it does not imply that men should be disrespected. Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.
But here’s the thing about women and men who consider themselves fememists, it tends to be a selfless act. I’m going to focus exclusively on economic equality. As an 18-year-old college girl that can afford to go to a private institution like Drexel University with a good chance of a future where I will make enough to support myself, there comes a point where making 77 cents for every dollar a male makes is unfair yet doesn’t affect me too much. Making $192,500 for the same job a male counterpart does for $250,000 wouldn’t make as big of a difference compared to if we were talking minimum wage.
Let’s break it down. Federal minimum wage is $7.25. And if a woman is making $7.25 at a hypothetical job, a man would be in theory making $9.41 for the same job. Now, for a woman working full time (40 hours a week) at minimum wage, she would make about $15,080 a year (without taking into consideration days off and taxes). In the state of Pennsylvania, income tax is around 3.07 percent, meaning that she would pay about 462.96 in taxes. This brings her total income down to $14,617.04 per year (once again, this does not take into consideration federal holidays and sick days). Now, if we calculate the same thing for a man earning $9.41, you would get a total of $19,572.80. And after factoring in tax the annual income of a man with the same job would be $18,971.92. The difference? $4,354.88; about 30 percent of a woman’s paycheck.
But feminism is not just about the women living from paycheck to paycheck, or the woman in Afghanistan who was forced to marry her rapist. It’s the fact that the “Lewinsky” scandal is referred to as “Monicagate” or “Lewinskygate,” even though Bill Clinton was the one in a relationship. It’s being punished for exposed shoulders and having so many restrictions on dress code in order to not distract boys from their studies. It’s glorifying Sam Smith’s approach to writing music about exes while degrading Taylor Swift for the same reasons. As girls, from the day we’re born, our gender is considered synonymous to weakness, incapability and inadequacy. It’s important to keep in mind that “feminism” is not a dirty word and it’s not about just women. It’s about equality.