What Women’s History Month truly means

Ali Smith, Arts & Leisure Editor

Feminism can mean something different to everyone. However, a line must be drawn when any kind of progress turns from moving forward in love to moving backward in revenge.

March is Women’s History Month, which can mean many things for different kinds of people. According to the official Women’s History Month website, this national celebration began in 1981 when Congress passed a bill requesting the president proclaim the week of March 7 as Women’s History Week. From there, glass ceiling breakers continued to press boundaries, eventually pushing for the entire month of March to be declared Women’s History Month in 1995.

From there on out, celebrations have included the efforts of suffragists, the women silenced and abused in the past, the strides women have made for themselves and others and the appreciation and uplifting of women in general.

Thus, this month means many different things to women.

However, what Women’s History Month does not mean is degrading men for 31 days, and that is where I personally draw the line.

When scrolling through social media and overhearing conversations this month, I have felt that it is better to be feminine than it is to be masculine, as if being anything other than feminine this month prompts the “men are trash” and “men owe us something” dialogue.

Just because we want to be celebrated does not mean we have to step on the backs of others to get there.

Is this not retroactive?

In her book “Everyday Sexism,” author Laura Bates wrote, “This is not a men vs. women issue. It’s about people vs. prejudice.”

Women, too, are capable of prejudice against other women, whether they are conscious of it or not. This internalized prejudice is called internalized misogyny.

This month, it is important to remember this concept emphasized by Bates: not all men are against us and not all women are for us.

Although it’s nearly impossible to be a young woman without also being objectified by a man, it is also rare to be a 20-year-old without having experienced the mean-girl phase of life, whether that be giving or receiving.

One in three women are sexually assaulted; we hear these statistics all the time and those are just the numbers we know about.

But how many women do you know without a middle school horror story or drama to spill about how horribly their fellow women are treating them in the workplace? The examples go on.

Thus, women abuse isn’t just a man’s problem: we are to blame too, just in our own ways.

Not only are we ruining each other’s self-esteem through this shameful process, but we are also telling men it is OK to treat us this way.

Speaking of “Mean Girls,” don’t you remember the famous line from Tina Fey, who starred in the cult classic, about feminine power?

“You have got to stop calling each other sl*ts and wh*res. It just makes it OK for guys to call you sl*ts and wh*res.”

If women don’t show love toward one another, how are we to expect men to? Should they not follow our lead?

After all, “women are the real architects of society,” as Cher once said.

And that is something I can be proud of building.

Rather than making Women’s History Month a month against men, would it not be more productive to instead make it a month about achieving love for women? Can we not improve things by showing appreciation for the women of yesterday and today, and to make this world a better place for the women of tomorrow?

This March we celebrate those influential women who have achieved just this, and I personally have so many idols, past and present, who influence my feminist point of view.

Zendaya is one of those strong female role models who is so prevalent in modern media right now, and has already made so many strides for women in her lifetime. I believe that she has so much more to offer to the feminist movement in the large remainder of the rest of her career as a public figure.

Her feminist philosophy is something I have always tried to live by, staying firm in my belief that feminism is about the uplifting of all.

“A feminist is a person who believes in the power of women just as much as they believe in the power of anyone else,” Zendaya said.  “It’s equality, it’s fairness, and I think it’s a great thing to be a part of.”



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