Have you ever noticed when you truly open your eyes to a problem, you start to see the impacts of the problem all around you? At the start of this month, I decided to really open my eyes to how women like myself are treated in the workplace, at home, and in the organizations we volunteer our time to.
"As with any cause, posting a photo on Instagram and using feminist hashtags isn't enough. To make real systemic change, we must challenge sexism and really any 'ism' when we see it displayed before our very eyes."
Many women have lists much longer than mine. Lists that also include sexual assault, abuse from their partners, and workplace microaggressions that can make the workplace a nightmare. These would be less of an issue if male allys would speak up and stop turning a blind eye to what's happening to women in their homes, their workplaces and in the organizations they volunteer to serve in.
WAYS YOU CAN MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE
There are plenty of ways you can make an impact, especially if you are a male ally for women. Here are a few ideas:
Men and women aren't treated equally in pretty much every country in the world. In fact, in some countries, women are treated as second-class citizens who aren't even allowed to get an education.
Today is National Women's Equality Day. I regard myself as a feminist. I am someone who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. I think everyone should hold this belief. Please go into this post with an open mind. I do bring up some points I've heard from very conservative speakers and give my thoughts on them.
1: WOMEN ARE EXPECTED TO DO EVERYTHING
I find myself incredibly lucky, partially because I chose to be with someone who doesn't push the narrative that a woman needs to be the one who not only bears a child and raises it, but takes care of the house and likely has a full-time job as well.
A lot of women do much of this work by themselves. That's not to say that a father doesn't change his child's diaper every now and then.
It's been perpetuated in TV, movies, and in real life. The man comes home, grabs a beer, and flips on the sports channel while the mother is rocking the baby, praying that the touchdown celebration doesn't wake him/her.
Don't get me wrong. If I had a life where I was capable of being a stay-at-home mom, I'd do these things without protest, although I would want some time to myself after taking care of the house and children all day. But some don't share that desire and very few can afford to live a single-income lifestyle.
2: WOMEN DO GET PAID LESS THAN MEN
Personally, I would rather spend time with my kids than working my way up the ranks of a company, but that isn't entirely true for everyone, and it isn't feasible for most families in this day and age.
Women are constantly told that, because we bear a child, it is our responsibility to raise it and nurture it. We are pressured by society, some by our partners, and by our emotions. It takes two to make a baby, so two people should be raising the baby. I do see why pro-choice advocates are so upset by this. Men don't want a say in how a baby is raised until it comes to the choice of abortion. Then they say "it is half my child, so I should get a say."
If there were that much concern by men in the first place, there may be fewer abortions.
Anyway, I have the same human urge to move up the ranks in my job as any man. Maybe more of an urge. But, if my husband made more than me and someone needed to stay home to be with the baby, I would be expected by society to leave my job for a few years without question to take care of the child.
3: WOMEN ARE POWERFUL BUT ARE CONSIDERED WEAKER
But because of the whole muscle mass thing, women are always viewed as weaker. We get terms like "you throw like a girl" or "you fight like a girl" hurled at boys and men in our life and it is an insult. These things are taught at a young age and no one thinks anything of it. It just adds to the sexism that already exists in our nation.
4: WOMEN ARE CONSTANTLY SEXUALIZED
I like to use hashtags like #prettyandplussize or #bigbeautifulwomen on my photos in hopes of inspiring other plus-size women to build their confidence. However, I usually end up getting an inappropriate DM or comment.
Another thing I remember is being followed around in Walmart by a guy who asked if I "wanted to come over to his place." And before you ask, no, I wasn't wearing anything low-cut or "sexy." I was wearing a t-shirt, basketball shorts, no makeup, and a messy bun.
HOW YOU CAN BREAK THE SYSTEM
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.