Editorial: Generation is breaking barriers, but still work to do on women’s rights

Posted: December 1, 2016 in Editorials, Opinion

     I find it most preposterous that it’s 2016 and yet we’re still having arguments about whether someone should have their human rights or not.
     I could go on for ages about how this could be a step backward for all oppressed groups, but this opinion piece is going to zero in on the women of the world. Women as we know make up 49.6 percent of the human population, and yet in some people’s eyes we’re seen as the lesser sex. A hundred years ago, we were treated more like property rather than human beings. In some places, we had a curfew, and if we were molested, our offender just had to pay our father some silver and then marry us. We have been perceived as sexual objects for as long as we can remember, especially now in our modern culture and media. Not to mention some of Donald Trump’s alarming statements about women that he simply dismissed as “locker room talk.”
     If there’s anything I like most about my generation, it’s the many barriers that we’re breaking. We’re working to normalise the LGBTQ+ community, and gender norms are slowly being left behind. However, the ideology of gender norms and gender stereotypes is still an ongoing thing, even if it’s been diluted. Parents who believe in gender conformity are enforcing gender norms on their children from a young age. Young boys are expected to play outside and with toy trucks, while girls are taught to be pretty and play with dolls or other pink sparkly objects.
     When I was younger, gender norms weren’t really forced on me at all. I played in the mud and dirt with my brother, and I loved the thrill of running around outside and getting scraped up when I took a fall on my wobbly toddler legs. I was a tomboy kid, with minimal pressure to “act like a lady.” I’m not too different today, though I do still find some enjoyment in “feminine” things like fruity soaps and lotion.
     One of my biggest pet peeves yet is the over-sexualization of women in the media, especially in advertising. Countless times I’ve seen commercials where a woman is displayed almost more as a decoration than a human being capable of independent thought and actions for the sake of selling a product. And women are viewed sexually in society in general; many a day a woman will be walking down the street minding her own business, when she gets cat-called by someone on the side of the road, and it’s often a rather suggestive comment that makes her uncomfortable. Then there’s the victim-blaming. If a woman is assaulted, people will often ask what she was wearing when it happened. Some will even say that she was “asking for it.” I yearn for the day that women are seen as human beings rather than objects that are there to please others. As a modern society, we’ve made progress, but we’re not there yet.
     Women do make up almost half of the human population, so there shouldn’t be any reason that we shouldn’t have our human rights. After all, we’re humans too. And I’m talking about all women. Women of color, women in the LGBTQ+ community, and women of all faiths. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter who or what we are, male or female, because all that matters is that we’re here to do good for the world.

Editor’s Note: This article is the opinion of the Cougar News Blog writer Savannah Barr. It is the second in a series of stories about serious issues such as depression, eating disorders, and women’s rights.

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