No lessons to learn from Derulo, as per usual

Kayla McLane

“Damn baby, you got a bright future behind you.”

I first heard these lyrics while browsing the snack selections at Cat Trax and cringed. Is my behind really the entirety of my worth?  I strongly hope not. Thanks, Derulo, for the “compliment,” but no thanks.

Many have heard the popular rap song, “Wiggle,” by Jason Derulo. The last lyric of the song speaks to the disgusting ways in which the worth of a woman is being determined not by her brain, heart or soul, but instead by her body. The problem of sexism resonates throughout all of society and affects every aspect, even music.

While this genre of music is not everyone’s taste, it is still an influence on our society. Despite the sexist lyrics, the song remains powerful and popular. According to Spotify, approximately 161 million people have consumed its catchy tune. This music is influencing people and that is not okay.

Songs such as this one are accepted forms of music within society, and are played in public spaces such as our favorite place to get late-night snacks. The idea behind the entirety of this song is the same idea that keeps women out of high-paying, intellectually-challenging jobs such as politics and engineering.

The idea that a woman’s worth is nothing more than her body creates a lack of self-confidence that hinders women from challenging themselves among their male peers.In the year of 2015, many of us are wondering why are we still struggling in the fight for gender equality? Why is there another article about the topic, another discussion, and another outcry? It’s because we haven’t fixed it yet. Yes, we have come a long way, but not far enough.

Gender inequality and sexism are issues that are rooted in society. From the outwardly small things such as obscene lyrics to the majors and jobs that women are encouraged to pursue.

The fact that society still sees certain jobs and majors as being male or female is the basis for much of sexism in the workforce. Society tells students that women should be nurses and men should enroll in the college of business.

Before ever choosing a college, boys are being pushed toward engineering and science while girls are leaning toward teaching and healthcare.

While NMU is very equal in terms of its male to female ratio, some departments are still weighted heavily in favor of males. Ruth Watry, Ph.D, is the only female professor in the political science department.

“I’ve been at Northern for 15 years and I’ve been the only female in the department the entire time,” she said.

Watry, like her colleagues, went to school for a substantial amount of time in order to earn her title. Unfortunately, having the same credentials as one’s colleagues is second-rate to the gender of the individual.

There have been many instances in which Watry’s title was determined not by her 13 years in college, but instead by her marital status.

“They (students) will call me Ms. or Mrs. but will call the male faculty professor or doctor,” Watry said.

In today’s society, it is still acceptable to refer to your male professors as a different title than their female counterparts. This is incorrect because it is done in spite of the actual title that an individual deserves based upon their educational level. Society has shaped us to believe that a professor with the title of “doctor” is automatically a male, and we are shocked when we are proven wrong. We need to realize that gender does not define success in the workforce. 

“I worked just as hard for my degree,” Watry said.

I believe that a woman’s intellectual capabilities far exceed her gender on the hierarchy of importance. Women should be praised for their intellectual achievements and leadership accomplishments instead of their behinds, Derulo. Until we fix this issue, women will continue to be classified as lesser in the workforce. It all starts with us.

We need to see worth in our sisters, mothers and girlfriends. We need to see worth in ourselves.