THE F-WORD #5
CANTA issue #6, 2017
This week’s ‘Ask a feminist’ question: “Why do we need feminism in 2017?”
We live in a highly gendered world. Right from our birth (or even before it) parents, society, schools, peers etc segregate us based on our expected interests, characteristics and lifestyle –determined by genitalia– before we can have a say on it. This is limiting for all genders, more so to women and trans-people, as our society is structured in favour of heterosexualcis-males.
Girls and women are expected to undertake home and family related roles, more so than men are. As a result of these expectations, it becomes difficult, for instance, for girls to envision and pursue interests in areas traditionally thought of as male bastions. At university, this is reflected in the number of women enrolling to science and engineering and the number
of men enrolling in arts and social work courses. We believe these expectations need to be questioned. Violence: Even in 2017, women form the overwhelming majority of domestic violence victims.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, 1/3rd of women experience violence from their intimate partners. Similarly, the gender divide in suicide is also significant. A majority of those who commit suicide are men. Scholarly analyses link these phenomena with expected gender roles. For instance, men are generally expected to be tough and ‘in control’ within family structures.
Similarly, men are dissuaded from expressing emotions from a very young age. These issues, among many others, are the reasons why we need feminism today.