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Opinion | We’ve come so far, but we still have a long way to go in struggle for equal rights

Rachel's Reflections

Editorial Editor

Published: Monday, January 14, 2013

Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013 22:01

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, women’s rights is an ever-present issue. Yes, even now in the 21st century not everyone is considered equal.

Yes, almost 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, not everyone—regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, et cetera—in this so proclaimed “land of the free” where “all men are created equal” is, in fact, free and equal.

Well, yes all men who are male are created equal, in the sense that they can do many things in society without their gender being used as blame or reason. However, women and non-cisgender people are merely one fraction of people who do not have this basic privilege.

Cisgender means having a biological sex that matches your gender identity and expression, resulting in other people accurately perceiving your gender. Cisgender privileges are benefits of having a biological sex that aligns with your gender identity. The majority of the world would declare themselves cisgender; however those of non-cisgender identity are, of course, an important and ever growing presence in society.

And of course, women are not still considered equals. But when it seems that there are so many women present in high positions in society, haven’t we achieved equality?

Not quite.

When I say equal, I mean being treated on par with what should be the basic standards of society- treating everyone how they would want to be treated individually. Treating everyone with respect and as—novel concept—human beings.

Nobody should buy into preconceived notions or subject to labeling stereotypes. The stereotypes that follow women around are not only given to them by the male population but are also astonishingly by some of their female counterparts.

How often have you heard women putting other women down by calling them “sluts” or saying they don’t like “girly” things, such as wearing make up, or maybe they think like a guy and call all other women catty. They think of themselves as “different” or as some sort of special snowflake, different not from anyone else but specifically from other women.

Bad news, but this doesn’t make them special—it’s made them perpetuators of misogyny. By categorizing all women as catty or only those who participate in stereotypical “girly” activities, they are assuming that all females are the same. Despite whatever gender norms you may believe that all women think the same, all women are different.

Some like football, some like reading, some women are emotional, some speak three languages and there are some who are various combinations of these traits. Some women have boyfriends, some have girlfriends, and some wear lipstick, while some don’t shave. Some women have kids while others of us are worried we’ll drop our friend’s baby.

So, please stop claiming you don’t act like a women, or begging all females to act like real women because there is no one, clear universal definition of what a woman is. The point is that all women are different. Everyone is different. The only true thing we all have in common is that we are human beings.

If the one thing we all (the entire population; let’s think big here readers) share is that we are all human beings, which alone should (arguably and in a perfect world) make for equality. Obviously this is not the main issue of which we are forced to deal with; it is, I feel, however a start.

By taking on one issue at a time, such as the rights of oppressed humans, non-cisgenders, equality for homosexual and heterosexual or equal treatment for women and men, it leads us toward a better understanding that all humans are created equal and that we are all essentially the same, if only in a general manner. But it means that yes, all humans have emotions, wishes, goals, fears, desires, et cetera.

Yes, women are not quite equal to men, in several aspects. But this is not our only issue. (If anyone has been paying attention to recent political and social matters going on in this country, this should warrant an “obviously”.)

Treating everyone as though they are the same—as though they are human—is a good start toward equality. It is not the only solution though.

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