The feminist fight is one that the general public tends to sweep under the carpet.
In other words, the feminist movement is often overlooked as a useless fight. Far too many people believe that the women’s fight is over.
Speaking from the perspective of a 17-year-old male, I believe that it is not hatred towards women or a belief that they should be in a lower status or portrayed in a certain manner that keeps us from moving forward, but rather a lack of knowledge for the actual causes being fought for in the feminist movement and the long-lasting effects these issues have in society.
My high school feminist studies and activism class has opened my eyes to domestic as well as international issues that devastate our world. These issues include young girls as far away as India, Nigeria, and Pakistan who are deprived of an education because their families can only afford to send one child to school or believe that the younger brother deserves to get an education more than his sister. Or girls living in the city in which I live—New York—being kidnapped, trafficked, and raped to make money for their pimp.
Prior to taking this feminist studies class, I was oblivious as to what feminism was really about. I saw feminism through the lens of a teenage boy.
To most teenage boys, feminism is not often taken seriously. I believe that the reason for this is the fact that the media is so convincing in their ways of degrading women combined with the lack of women’s studies and feminist education courses offered (with the exception of my school) at the middle and high school level.
I have never come across any boy or girl that has taken or has even been offered a feminist studies class in high school. While it may be uncommon for a 17-year-old boy to take part in a feminist class, I am thankful that I did.
Since it is rare for teens, yet alone teen boys, to take any women’s studies courses, boys often depend on societal norms and the media to teach them who women are and how to treat them. For this reason it is no surprise that so many young men treat women in such a degrading fashion.
One industry in particular that holds an incredible amount of influence towards young people is the music industry. One genre of music in particular, hip-hop, has glorified a world where women are subjugated to men. Songs about powerful women are scarcely written or sold. Looking through my iTunes library, I found only few examples of songs that tell the story about a strong woman or one that speaks on the empowerment of women. Instead there are many degrading and sexist songs about women. Mainstream music needs to display more artists and songs that portray accurate depictions of women and their struggles in our world.
I think that the future of feminism needs to target young people. Young adults and teens are the ones that are going to run our world in the future so targeting them will help bring change to the future. I really do think that many more middle and high schools should offer feminism courses in order to bring awareness about women’s and gender studies, so that kids can grow up not being ignorant about important issues that conflict our world.
In addition to schooling, it is important that the same outlet that helps corrupt the minds of young people everywhere—the media—is held accountable for what they display. Media outlets are in need of content control of the kinds of images they produce and until that is put into place, media outlets will continue to portray women as inferior sex objects.