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Convenient feminists cheapen the movement
Published 7/24/2013 6:00:00 AM
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I describe myself as a feminist, an advocate for equality in the social sphere and in all aspects of life.

Because of this, I can’t condone the hypocrisy of cheapening feminist ideals by only applying them when convenient.

For the most part, feminism has opened opportunities for women, especially when it comes to economics. In 2009, about 47 percent of science and engineering degree holders between the ages of 25 to 39 were women, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

A study cited in AOL Jobs noted that people working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers make $34,420 more in comparison to the national average. This means as more women enter male dominated STEM fields, we begin to close the wage gap between the genders.

Overall, more women are receiving a paycheck in the economic world. The increased female presence in the workforce indicates the slow movement towards equality.

This is surely a positive change, but as men and women begin to reach financial equilibrium, we must consider what this means in a holistic and social context. Some women adhere to strict and traditional expectations when it comes to social behavior. They often take offense to a man who suggests splitting the check on a date. Others find it terribly rude when a man fails to hold the door open for her.

I condone courtesy and politeness in all matters of social behavior, but at some point, some women expect too much. Of course, I do not criticize all of the feminist movement; however, I shake my head at the women who demand to be both in the playing field and on the pedestal.

The definition of true equality should be the same for both men and women. Equality means freedom of the social constructs and rituals that confine both men and women. By breaking the expectations derived from gender roles, we give both men and women the equal opportunity to succeed both in the workforce and in society.

Women do not have the right to expect a man to take all financial responsibility when it comes to dating, just as men are not obliged to sex after an expensive night out at a fancy restaurant.

With true equality, the two genders should be held against the same standards when it comes to social behavior. Rather than adhering to the old standards when it is convenient, both genders have the responsibility to approach each other without expecting anything in return.

We live in a progressive age—one that grants both genders more freedom than ever. In favor of moving ahead, we must abandon the age-old gendered traditions that have bound us for so long. These dated social practices have no place in a modern world.

By abandoning antiquated practices, we engage in a new and more relevant form of equality.

I don’t mean to kill chivalry. Rather, society should redefine chivalry—to a set of rules that focuses on mutual respect rather than on a set of gendered expectations when it comes to dating and money.

In the end, all men (and women) are created equal. Why not treat each other as such?

-Michelle Chan is a sophomore animal science major from Phoenix. She can be contacted at 335-2290 or by The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.



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