By Tamera “EON” Pillay, Staff Writer
If you support equality for any one group, you should support equality for women. Supporting women, their history, their earning of rights, their work encompasses many other groups, one that you might fall into.
Jieun Lee, 27, a doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia, is completing her graduate certificate in women’s studies and teaching “Multicultural Perspectives on Women in the United States.” Recently, Lee assigned her class of students a selfie project.
“Our selfie project was to take a selfie with any kind of object or visual material, easily found in your everyday life that could be interpreted as either racist, sexist, heterosexist, or as pro-LGBTQ, pro-women’s empowerment/rights in the US,” Lee said.
The purpose of this project was to make people become more aware and critical of the social constructs all around them.
One student took a picture with a quote from a World War II monument in Washington D.C. that said: “Women who stepped up were measured as citizens of the nation, not as women…this was a people’s war, and everyone was in it.”
The quote came from Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby, the director of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps during World War II. Her quote refers to how women had to step in and take on hard, laborious jobs that men had to leave behind in order to support the war effort. To many in the class, this quote made it seem like prior to this, women were not considered citizens. At the same time, the quote also takes away their womanhood once it has deemed women as citizens.
Another student referred to an image from a page from Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ) magazine. The image promoted the movie “Sharknado.” The men pictured were dressed in full-body diving gear, but the women were dressed in alluring swim leotards; the men had flippers, the women had heels. See the image here: www.gq.com/story/sharknado-cast-survival-tips.
“Maybe, it’s because they want them to die,” Lee joked.
The comment received unanimous laughter, but is there some root of truth in that statement?
Objectification makes a person’s presence worthless and there are so many stigmas and stereotypes that allow women and minorities to be objectified.
Women are further along now than they were in the early stages of the women’s rights movement. The movement and its history progress with time, yet many problems still exist.
One of the biggest issues today is that women still receive about 78.1 cents to every dollar that a white male makes, but minority women earn even less. For example, Latinas earn 55 cents to every dollar a Caucasian male makes, according to a 2013 report by the Center for American Progress.
For this reason and many, many more, women across cultures uphold a magnanimous reputation, and they should be known as women’s history month draws to a close.
- Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink became the first Asian American congresswomen in 1965 and co-authored the Title IX Amendment of the Higher Education Act.
- Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Ida B. Wells were African American women who spoke and acted against the ill-treatment of minorities. Truth escaped slavery and was able to take her children away from slavery as well, winning one of the first cases ever to be won by an African American against a Caucasian male. She also spoke at numerous women’s rights conventions. Note her “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech delivered in 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, OH. Tubman helped numerous African Americans escape slavery via the underground railroad. And Wells was one of the first African American women journalists who spoke against lynchings.
- Pulitzer and Nobel prize-winning, women writers, such as Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, have written from a very distinct, minority perspective.
- Dolores Huerta is the Latina activist that inspired the phrase “Si Se Puede” and advocates for workers’, immigrants’ and women’s rights.
- Sonia Sotomayor was the first Hispanic Supreme Court judge.
- LaDonna Harris helped found Americans for Indian Opportunity.
Because of these women, many are inspired to improve their understanding of women’s history and seek empowerment for growth.
March marks a month to honor women’s history. Alpha Chapter sisters participated in a series of events spotlighting women empowerment at the University of Georgia from March 21 to 27.
“Women’s empowerment is believing in yourself and having the confidence and dedication to do anything a man can do, at their caliber or higher,” said Dominique Parker, 21, a Georgia sister of Delta Phi Lambda.
Lee gives her inspiration to be a feminist as well.
“My inspiration comes from women who have suffered from oppression in all its forms and have shared their experiences for the world to know,” Lee said. “Women—like the ‘comfort women’ during World War II—who were, and still are, suffering from discrimination and exploitation.”
“Feminism is strongest within women’s lives,” she continued. “I do not think feminism is just a word, but individualized worlds. I think the most important thing people should know about feminism is that it is not exclusive, singular, or didactic. It lives and breathes with inclusive, multiple, and stimulative issues for women. Feminism/empowering women is a process, and the process is the goal.”
EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: All personal statements, beliefs, and opinions in this article are subject to the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jade Times and/or Delta Phi Lambda.
Featured Image: Special to The Jade Times
- Rudi Williams
- Special to The Jade Times