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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Feminism: Two perspectives, one story

It must be said: feminism means a better future for everyone. Not just women, but really, everyone. Feminism is an integral part of an all-inclusive movement, one that everyone should want to be a part of. This movement aims to end racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination that infringe on human rights in the classroom, the office, the street, and the courtroom.

Andy Frakes
Andy Frakes

Just focusing on feminism, however, narrows the discussion a bit.

Women are capable of anything men can do, and then some; My parents both work at day jobs and they both take care of the house I grew up in; they definitely don’t fit a profile that suggests sexism or female oppression. My grandmother is 65, lives on her own and works full-time as a nurse. My early life was shaped, and continues to be shaped, by women that were fully capable and competent in day-to-day life. Growing up, it never even occurred to me that women ought to be considered inferior.

Women can lead corporations, run ultra-marathon distances, host talk shows, raise families on their own, write novels of great importance, paint masterpieces and so on.

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Men can clearly do these things too, but for some reason, women get more skeptical looks while doing them. And that’s a problem feminism intends to solve.

Feminism is best defined as the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Note the lack of misandry in this definition; there’s nothing to put down men or transgender people, it’s simply a movement for equality.

The putting down of men and insisting that the “patriarchy” has ruined everything has always been a staple of radical feminist speech. However, this doesn’t need to be the case, and where feminism is making the most advances is where women and men are able to work together.

Michael Kimmel, an activist and author based in Stony Brook University (SBU) in New York, has an important new project in mind: getting men to support the battle for gender equality. He is creating a program at SBU called the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities.

His goal, and the goal of the program, is to bring scholars and activists together to advance the gender equality movement. The program is focusing on things like the importance of involved fatherhood, supporting women’s reproductive rights and solving the problems of sexual assault and human trafficking.

Men have a lot to contribute toward solving the problem and the issues of a sexist society should not rest on women’s shoulders alone. Women should not have to endure catcalls while walking to work or to class. Rather, men should be taught from infancy that catcalling isn’t okay.

Women shouldn’t have to take self-defense classes and worry about walking home from parties alone, but rather men should be taught that sexual assault and coercion are inexcusably wrong in all contexts.

Women deserve the respect that they have not always received, and as far as rectifying this, late is better than never.

Women are more than their looks, more than their capacity for motherhood, more than any of the stereotypes laid upon them by society. Women do not have to shave their legs for you or shave anything for that matter. Women do not have to smell the way Dolce and Gabbana says they should smell.

Women do not have to smile for you, or wear pretty dresses or laugh at your jokes. They do their own thing, and they do not rely on you – they deserve the respect and consideration that men have owed them all along.

That is what feminism means to me, and I stand by that definition.

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