The discrimination and hardships that women have faced are barriers that have been placed since the beginning of times, barriers that need to be knocked down and rid of.
In the times of the Classical Age women were thought to have been evil and wicked, representing everything dark and cold. Aristotle had set the stage for distinction between what it meant to be female or male when he supported this notion and brought up biological factors to try and prove his point. Women have been subject to discrimination for far too many years. Numerous philosophers concluded many reasons as to why women are inferior to men, yet none of them make any logical sense in today’s world. Empedocles said that women have no active role based on the fact that women can not physically reproduce on their own. This conclusion is particularly interesting to me when thinking about the fact that men can not physically carry children and they themselves are not able to reproduce on their own without an egg to fertilize and create the offspring. Why is it that people will use any excuse in order to maintain dominance, even when that excuse is fallacious? Women have been silenced for too long. Even in today’s society there is the ongoing stereotype that we are inferior, our opinions don’t have significance, we are not capable of such great knowledge. How would the men of our past have felt if they faced the discrimination and scrutiny that we women have faced for hundreds of years? How can we speak when our own language doesn’t have the right words to do so?
In the Spanish language there are masculine and feminine endings for nouns. Some words, particularly those that are often associated with the stereotype of women, are only feminine. There are many words that are associated with the feminine gender that are strictly used in feminine construction. They are often associated with household duties, a role many women have been forced to play over the years, a role that we are just now being able to breech out of. While there are words like job that are in the masculine construction, something that women were prohibited from acquiring for many years, a place of work where women are fighting for equal rights and equal pay. It was not until the 1950s that the word señorita was created, finally allowing there to be a distinction that not all young women are married, nor do they have to be. Why was it not portrayed from the beginning, as it was for the word señor, that the person whom is being discussed can either be single or married?
Although this is a large dispute in this language, there are also complications that arise when forming words in the plural form. In order to put a word in the plural form in Spanish you must take into account whom you are speaking about. If it’s a situation where there is both a man and a woman involved, it must be put into the masculine plural form. This is indicating that when amongst more than one gender, the male is dominant. In today’s society there is more than just two genders, we have cis-man, cis-woman, non-binary, transgender males, and transgender females. If we have so many different genders and different personalities in this world, why is it okay to perceive only one of them as dominant, and the rest are subservient? Who is the one who determined that males are dominant? Would it be absurd to think that perhaps Adam and Eve were created equal, but men chose to overtake women and prove their superiority and dominance, making us inferior by fault?
It is so often that people compare their physical attributes and successes to prove who is most dominant, but how is it fair to women in this case? What if both woman and man started out with equal strength and ability, but men decided to be superior and take on the role of hard-labor? Through evolution their muscles would have evolved to adjust to the force being put on their bodies, while women would have been left with similar strength to their first generation since they weren’t allowed to participate in any labor. The same would go for comparing the successes of the two genders. Men have always been dominant in terms of being given opportunities. They have been able to conduct research, travel places to study their hypotheses, get a full education, and pursue any career they desired. While the men were doing this, women were forbidden from being given these chances and instead cooked, cleaned and maintained the household. It would simply be unfair to compare two individuals of opposite genders who have been in two completely different situations, would it not? In the world of 2018 we have what seems like an infinite number of personalities. Men who appear “manly” are known for liking activities like sports, fishing, hunting, and yard work. But there are also men who like dressing up, teaching children, and cooking; activities that used to be associated with “women roles.” There are women athletes that are much stronger and determined than many men but despite their accomplishments they are still stigmatized for their birth-given sex. We have women doctors who have gone through the same schooling as men and have overcome every single person that has said to them phrases like “it’s not worth it,” or “women belong in the kitchen,” or “why don’t you pick a career that suits you more, like perhaps teaching?” How come is it that even when a woman overcomes a man in every aspect, she’s still considered inferior?
I as a woman had people to look up to growing up, people of my sexuality who accomplished great things. Women like Amelia Earhart, Marilyn Monroe, and Susan B. Anthony were my role models, showing to me that with hard work I could accomplish many things. I had examples to follow, but before these women the pickings were few. Men did not allow women to be so successful that they could become role models for children. Instead they took credit for the spectacular work that women had accomplished, like poor Rosalind Franklin whose ideas were stolen by three men who later won a Nobel prize. Throughout the years men have stripped us women of our ideas and of our dignity, forcing us to stay on the back burner while they get to do what they want and we take care of their children and houses. It was even made difficult for women to explore science because the science language has excluded women since the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. How come men would go so such extents to make us inferior to them when they could have just as simply accepted us as equal genders so that we could live on the earth in unity? Everyone born on this earth has an equal right to inhabit it and form their own identities, yet men had restricted both women and people of color from being equal for hundreds of years. What has happened is injustice, but it is intelligence that will pursue.
We’ve been trained our whole lives to associate our worth with our sexualities and our appearances, now it’s time for us to dissociate our successes with traits of which we can’t change and proceed onward with equivalent genders.