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Fight For Your Right

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Spectator

Rachel Kim, Editor-in-Chief

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  No matter how hard I try not to cave into the pressure that surrounds me, sometimes I give in. Blame it on peer pressure. Don’t ask me not to conform to society. I just want to fit in.

  With the pressure that surrounds us, we tend to forget about the responsibility that comes with being the “new age.” As my generation develops into young men and women, we tend to submit into a new trend without fully understanding or knowing what we are signing up for. This is seen in the uprise of feminism.

  For someone who believes in feminism wholly, the past months, even years, have left me quite shocked. It has been over 150 years since organized feminism really kicked off, and since then the idea of feminism had been seen as, according to Andi Zeisler of TIME, an “ideological punching bag.”

  We have meninists on your left. And we have women against feminism on your right. We also have Inna Shevchenko, the leader of Femen International who began topless protests in Ukraine. Nonetheless, she seems to be generally clueless about feminism as she claims, “We’re the new face of feminism . . . Classical feminism is dead.” Not only this, but she used every sexist stereotype that’s been recycled for ages in order to criticize feminists, calling them “unsatisfied” women.

  Feminism just isn’t what it set  out to be decades ago when it first sprouted. What it has become isn’t what I believe in either. So I understand why some detest  the movement. With so many celebrity influencers and advertising sales, feminism has become trendy. A commodity. A product to be messed with.

  Yet, even with its popularization, there are still positive aspects to feminism’s rising. Consider Elliot Rodger‘s retribution day in Isla Vista where he had his revenge against women after he assumed that no women would ever be attracted to him. His act of vengeance involved entering a UCSB sorority and murdering each girl in the house. In a video recorded by Rodgers before the act, he said, “I will slaughter every single spoiled . . . slut. . . . You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one, the true alpha male.”

  Or remember the Boston rapist who sexually assaulted a woman while pretending to be an Uber driver? Or Bill Cosby, who was finally brought down after years of operating in plain sight? It’s not a coincidence that the combination of feminist activism and social media is  what brought all these people down. All three of these men objectified women, and exposing the public to discussions about these types of savagery show that we are slowly merging toward better ways to protect women.

  Nonetheless, feminism’s recent popularity in society is a reminder that the best way to restrict the power of a social movement is to modify it. But we have only evolved into a new type of feminism: marketplace feminism.

  Taylor Swift. Gigi Hadid. Kendall Jenner. They have all publicly identified themselves as feminists during the era in which feminism became “cool.”

  Look at Kim Kardashian, who had all eyes on her during International Women’s Day when she posted a mildly censored nude selfie. It ended up being backed up by a great number of feminists as it, apparently, was seen as a statement for body pride on a day that focuses on women’s economic, social, and political status. I am not opposed to a woman’s body. I am not opposed to Kim K’s confidence. But you would think that the focus of International Women’s Day would be on improving the socioeconomic and intellectual well-being of women across the world instead of being on Kim’s body who, with 107 million Instagram followers, has plenty of other days in the year to do as she pleases.

   I am not saying marketplace feminism is entirely bad: it does help the movement get its word out. However I do believe in equality among both men and women, without one dominating the other.

  Celebrities’ thoughts are interesting and it’s powerful. I get it. But, attractive feminism and meaningful feminism have differences as one affects people who are worried about making a living wage or receiving quality education, while the other affects people who are worried about whether or not they’ll be the next Instagram name if they talk about how feminism rules.

  Having feminism that’s not connected to the idea of anger, man-hating or hairy legs is powerful. We should be focusing on strengthening the minds of women instead of feeling the need to conquer men or showing off a certain aspect of the body in order to accomplish a moderately unfinished movement.

  Our structured system forces us to conform to societal views; in this case, to marketplace feminism. Society, as a whole, is ever-changing, but in the process people don’t change. Rather, people conform to other people’s ideas instead of making a personal change. Many of us are afraid of being different. But to collectively push towards a better wave, we must all be more open minded and willing to change as society does in order for new ideas to flourish.

  We believe we are much stronger and think that we form our own views, yet this is not the case. Developing a movement requires coming face to face with the reality that the world has not evolved as much as we have been led to believe. Change cannot occur if the world is constantly thinking that women and feminism should only be cared for if they look like a Carl’s Jr. commercial or the “Blurred Lines” music video. And it does not help when a Kardashian jumps into the picture.

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