Gauslin explains why we need feminism. (Lauren Gilman)
Gauslin explains why we need feminism.

Lauren Gilman

Girls Just Want to Have Fun-damental Human Rights

March 16, 2017

Is feminism really even necessary anymore? This is a question I’ve been asked far too many times as a feminist who is very blunt about my views. Miss Representation is a documentary I feel explains the movement appropriately. It educates its viewers about the inequalities women face. Some of the things covered are the discrimination women receive in CEO and other business positions, and valuing people as a whole opposed to stereotyping based on gender.

According to American Progress, women hold only 4.6% of Fortune 500 executives and are 8.1% of top earners in the United States. This inequality starts after graduation; women receive the same education level as men, but balancing home life generally falls on their shoulders. Traditional gender roles push women to take on the majority of home responsibilities, putting them at a disadvantage with less time in the workplace.

Feminism is often confused with misandry; as a feminist, I have had to explain the difference between feminism and misandry on multiple occasions. Feminism is defined as, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes” (Merriam Webster) while misandry is, “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men” (Merriam Webster). A large misconception occurs between the two, but misandry puts down men aggressively, while feminism strives to put women at the same level as men: Equality among genders.

Miss Representation discussed the feminist implications of the very real wage gap in our society. According to PEW Research Center, women (in the exact same position as men) make 86 cents out of every dollar that men make. This is an issue because according to Single Mother Guide, one in four children are raised by an unmarried mother, with  40% percent of them below the poverty line.  Because single women generally make less, and have no other source of income, this is especially difficult for them.

A large problem women face is the extraordinary amount of criticism they receive due to irrelevant issues. Women are criticized for what they wear, if they wear makeup or not, and even their age. This was displayed when controversy arose among viewers of Miss Representation as it showed images of scantily clad women. The documentary used these images as an example explaining why the patriarchy is detrimental. It continued this in explaining the stereotypes women face, and dissecting media. Miss Representation digs deep into this topic and exposes the media for making girls feel insecure in their own bodies by photoshopping their idols and diminishing their self confidence.

Not only is the patriarchy damaging to women, it negatively affects men, through ‘toxic masculinity’. Toxic masculinity is most closely defined as the negative societal standards men face just for being men. Some of these are that men are discouraged from showing too much emotion and the societal assumption that men are always violent.

Miss Representation blended together facts and interviews of powerful women in an elegant, eye-opening experience. It was a truly inspiring documentary and I would encourage everyone to watch it, female or not.

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