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Failed Feminism

Houston middle school posts misogynistic quote garnering attention

Photo+courtesy+of+Nathan+Martin
Photo courtesy of Nathan Martin

Photo courtesy of Nathan Martin

Photo courtesy of Nathan Martin

Nathan Martin, Staff Writer

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At the start of the school year in a Houston middle school, a quote that supports a sexist point of view from received mounds of criticism from Twitter, resulting in the removal of the Sydney Biddle Barrows quote. It read: “The more you act like a lady, the more he’ll act like a gentleman.”

Feminism often times gets portrayed poorly by radicalization. The definition of a feminist as quoted from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her essay We Should All Be Feminists “is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.” 

Since the beginning of humanity, people continuously separate themselves with gender, race, religion and culture. The divisive principles humans live by, in the long run, proves  detrimental to nations. In history, unrest in democracy stemming from unfair advantages repeatedly occurs. Evident in the rise of the civil rights movement, first-wave feminism and even in the present as Americans realize the injustice caused to Native Americans in the past.

  The type of thought process associated with the quote encourages young students to become divisive. When dissecting the aphorism, the writer expects women to reflect on their own actions while also reflecting on the actions of men, and to conclusively change their own character with hopes to change the others around them. This thought process configures young women in a way to blame themselves.

Has someone hurt you? It is your fault.

Has someone cheated you? It is your fault.

Has someone made you feel inferior? It is all your fault.

Even the terms, ‘act like a lady’ and ‘act like a gentleman’ impose strict ways people express themselves. It implies a hidden ‘rule book’ of the expected actions of boys and girls based on their gender. All of these culturally derived from decades ago, so why reference them? Because people dislike change. Like the basic rule of inertia, a person retains a tendency to stay the same and to resist adjustment.

In reference back to the definition of feminism, all sexes need to try to fill the void of unequal treatment. Boys need to learn that their emotions matter too and that, in the grand scheme, the blame of bad behavior on those around them isn’t right. The quote teaches that if a girl acts out of tradition, people owe her no respect.

The basic practice ideally is that all people’s emotions and mannerisms matter. All behavior deserves equal treatment regardless of composition. People deserve better than classification as a ‘lady’ or ‘gentleman’ and instead as an individual person with individual meaning and thought. All people hold different qualities, so treat them as individuals and not as a group of one gender or the other.

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