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  • Amy Do

Member Development: Feminism

Left to right: Zoe, Eline, Kseniya, & Kelly.

The business world is a cold and confusing place. How is a woman supposed to get by with her weak handshake and scatter-brained self? Surely it’s not very convenient to conclude every business meeting you attend by snapping the wrists of every female business associate you meet. Think of the nation’s GDP!

Luckily for business people and orthopedists alike, a handy little thing called feminism is making its way around corporate offices everywhere. Here at Baruch, Kseniya, Eline, Zoe, and Kelly of WIB’s Membership Development committee—have gathered some of the brightest and most intelligent women of our generation to begin the spread of feminism into the heart of capitalism.

As the Vice President of MD, it was Kseniya’s job to ask the world: “What is feminism?” Some people may think this is a multi-layered, complex, and politically faceted work worthy of scholarly debate, but some people are wrong. As Kseniya explains, at its core, feminism is the belief and the advocacy for equal rights between women and men—no more, no less.

Eline, one of Ksenyia’s project coordinators, describes the absence of this very simple concept in terms of wage inequality in the workforce. Women get 79 cents for every dollar a man makes by doing the same job. This is very infuriating because with $1,000,000—a man would be able to buy himself very mediocre low-end housing in the Manhattan area, but a woman with her $790,000 could not afford to do the same. That wage gap has essentially robbed her of available housing opportunities faster than a real estate agent working in Manhattan.

The women of WIB agreed that workplace inequality was indeed garbage. After breaking up into groups of 3-4 people to discuss their own experiences with inequality, everyone came to a consensus that feminism was undoubtedly needed outside of the workplace as well.

Women in their everyday lives are often times on the receiving end of some unwanted, highly annoying, and stupid catcalls. Zoe, another member of MD, showed a video of these inane power dynamic pseudo mating calls in action. However, Zoe later notes, even though the woman in the video appears to be very self-assured, the constant daily harassment from men can actually play a part in lowering a woman’s self-esteem. She starts to question herself: “Why am I being treated like an object, is it because something in my appearance promotes promiscuity?” To which Pratima, our lovely president, replies, “No.”

Catcalling is a form of control the caller uses to enforce their dominance over somebody else. In essence, this form of harassment is used to make women feel unsafe, as the cat-caller’s goal is to intimidate. When this happens, most women have a few choice fingers they’d like to throw, but as our president pointed out, sometimes refusing to acknowledge the intimidation is also the best course of action. There are times when answering back to a catcall can actually put you in harm’s way, and not responding does not make you a bad feminist. Actually, there is basically nothing—short of not wanting equal gender rights—that can make you a bad feminist. Being a sexual being certainly doesn’t. Yet, for some very inexplicable reason, people certainly think it does, and that type of reasoning is affiliated with what is known as slut shaming.

Kseniya says, “Don’t do that”, and she is absolutely right. Slut shaming puts women down and limits their sexual and personal freedom. Women who do this to one another will only reinforce the double standards placed on women and men. But even more importantly, this type of behavior would not make Michelle Obama happy, and she should never not be happy.

As Kelly, the final member of MD explains, Michelle Obama is a feminist icon—someone who should be looked up to. Her Let Girls Learn program promoted the fair and equal education of young girls who were not getting the same treatment as their boy counterparts. Through this education program, young girls get to experience gender equality and hopefully because of this exposure to equal opportunity learning, they can learn to embrace the spirit of feminism.

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