March is National Women’s History Month. Before it was the whole month, it was a week. Before that, we only had a day. Declared a national holiday in the 1980s, National Women’s History Month was born of the need to counter the lack of women’s history taught in schools.
Even today, women’s history is incredibly ignored through text books and school curriculum. The efforts of female scientists, anthropologists, mathematicians, social justice warriors, etc. are largely under-appreciated and ignored throughout history books, which only perpetuates the idea of a world created and ruled by men. The accomplishments by women are saved for sidebars and bubbles, pushed to the outline of a history curated by men.
When the March became National Women’s History month in 1987, Ronald Reagan wrote a proclamation, saying, “Women’s History Month is a time for us to recognize and salute women’s contributions to the American family and to society. Women have been making these contributions since this continent was explored and settled and America won its independence. Women continue to strengthen the family and enrich our lives with intellectual gifts, creative talents, and an indomitable spirit—in business, government, volunteer activities, religious life, education, health, the military, sports, the arts and many other areas.”
While Reagan’s proclamation focused more-so on the domestic contributions of women, it was still a landmark victory for women who had been pushing for recognition and equality for so long.
Those women were true grassroots feminists. They fought on personal and social levels for equal opportunities for women, taking every small victory as more motivation to continue to push for visibility.
“Women’s history is women’s right—an essential, indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision,” Gerder Lerner, former chair of the Women’s History Institute, said.
That long-range vision is often in the spotlight now. We live in the age of the ongoing #MeToo movement, where it seems that every week the sexist and vulgar actions of powerful politicians or celebrities are being revealed. In a time of such momentous social movement and inspiration, it feels like feminism is something you can’t help but support. To not, to say no to the feminist movement, would be to ignore the simplest notions of the idea itself: women deserve equal and fair opportunities and rights.
However, driven by the media’s portrayal of feminists as men-hating, angry and volatile women, fighting solely to be above men, the word “feminist” often carries a negative connotation. This assumption overlooks the intrinsic desires of women everywhere – to be treated fairly. At its core, feminism is not a movement of superiority. The goal of the feminist movement, much like the goal of Women’s History Month, is to achieve that visibility that is so important to the future of women’s equality.
With a whole month ahead of us, let’s take the time to celebrate the women in our lives. But beyond that, when March ends and we roll through the rest of the year, continue to celebrate and uplift the women around you. You don’t need a designated month to acknowledge the greatness of those in your life.
Also, don’t be afraid to proudly call yourself a feminist. It is time people know that feminism is not about placing women above men, but rather about ensuring equality for everyone, no matter their gender identity.
The Carrier’s editorial opinion represents the views of the senior members of the Campus Carrier and Viking Fusion news staff.
Bubble Banter: Feminism
Emma Webber, sophomore
In my experience, feminism carries certain negative connotations. This is the unfortunate result of the way some feminists choose to voice their opinions. The loudest voices tend to be the most passionate. The most passionate tend to be angry with the state of inequality in our country and history. Men and women are different. One is not deserving of more political or social rights than the other, but we are not the same. Differences ought to be celebrated, not turned into weapons against fellow humans.
Harleyh Merritt, sophomore
Feminism is strength, empowerment and courage. Being a feminist is more than just wanting things to change; it’s an opportunity to connect with likeminded people to make those changes happen. Feminism created a community where voices can be heard and those voices have a safe outlet to share their ideas and beliefs.
Emma Hatcher, sophomore
To me, feminism is the idea that women can do the same things that men do in society and should be allowed to do so.
Nolon Barry, freshman
I believe that feminism is important in the enforcement of equality regarding gender. When used to represent women equally, it is a wonderful movement of great value. I do, however, think that the idea of feminism is falsely projected when degrading comments are made about men in an attempt to represent females. It is important to keep a separation of what is feminist and what is sexist. When used appropriately, feminism is a valuable movement that has and will continue to have a lasting impact on society.
Noah Isherwood, freshman
Feminism always confused me as a kid. I heard some men (and a few women) use the term in a negative context, and I wondered what the big deal was. Part of me thought that feminists hated men in general because of… well, I didn’t know. As I grew older and began to understand the history of the movement, a light clicked on in my head: feminism isn’t about people being better or worse than others on the basis of gender, it’s about ensuring that all people receive proper treatment as humans, regardless of their gender.
Diamond Newsome, junior
To me, feminism means ensuring that women receive the same rights as our counterparts and doing whatever it takes to achieve this. Working together and supporting one another is a great start!
Jordan Stallings, sophomore
Like all things, (feminism) is wonderful until radicalized. I believe women are wonderful and they deserve respect and need to be valued like everyone else. Feminism can do great things, but those who play the victim card for silly reasons take away from real issues. Like the wage gap and being victims of rape. Like how in the Middle East, women are treated horribly.