How many times have we all heard the contradictory phrase, "Well, I believe in gender equality, but I wouldn't say I'm a feminist." Girl, no. To this day, the feminist movement is derailed by people's unexplained allergy to the word. Students in a Duke University course called Women in the Public Sphere were disturbed by society's widespread misconceptions about the feminist movement, so they decided to launch a campaign aimed to challenge existing stereotypes surrounding the big, scary F word. What started as a class project has gone viral.
The group hung posters up all over campus featuring students completing the statement, "I need feminism because…" The visual message is powerful because the students pictured come from all walks of life, a reminder that there is no "typical" feminist. From unequal pay to rape culture, the students address why they identify as feminists and why the movement is still so necessary. An op-ed published in the Chronicle, Duke's student newspaper, provides the cold, hard facts for students who doubt the movement's vitality: Women with a master's degree earn 72.7% of what men with equal education earn in the same position. In 2011, only 2.4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs and 6.7 percent of Fortune 500 top earners were women. The U.S. ranks 70th in women in government. One in five women are victims of sexual assault. And most importantly-- about one in two people on Earth are women, so why aren't we treated with equality?
With pundits, politicians, and structural inequities trying to reinforce dominant gender norms, it's so important that we remember all that feminism has accomplished as well as the goals left unachieved. "Like" Who Needs Feminism on Facebook and follow their tumblr to see updates from people around the world. Share your own story because we all need feminism.
Image sources Who Needs Feminism
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