[ted_talkteaser id=1906]“I asked myself the question that Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and my boss, asks all of us, which is: What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?” Sandberg said. Her answer: “I would get on the TED stage and talk about women and leadership. And I did. And survived.”
And let’s be honest, she didn’t just survive. Her talk has been viewed more than 3 million times so far. It spawned a best-selling book, Lean In. In fact, with her talk, Sandberg launched a full-scale movement[ted_talkteaser id=1040]: there are now over 12,000 “Lean In Circles,” essentially support groups for working women, across 50 countries. “I’m grateful, I’m honored, I’m happy,” says Sandberg. “And it’s the very beginning.”
In today’s talk…
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“Feminism” is viewed as a dirty word-one that seems to be synonymous with bra-burning, men-hating females who don’t shave and rebel against the cultural norm. Although we might be seen as rebellious, since we often speak up against the injustices in our society, we do not hate men, and we do not burn our bras. By definition, a feminist is a person who believes in the political, economic, and social equality of men and women. Before starting college, I would scoff at people that call themselves feminists. Before college, I thought I knew everything. I thought that men and women were equal, and I thought that feminists were overdramatic and closed minded. Oh how wrong I was. I attend an all women’s college in New York. I did not choose to attend this school with the intent on becoming a feminist. I chose to attend this school because of the great education I would receive. My school’s slogan is “women of influence.” This school has opened my eyes to the world, and to the injustices that women face every day across the globe. If I did not attend this college, I would be a very different person than I am today.
Women are constantly seen as objects that can be easily controlled and manipulated. The media portrays us as sex objects, used to sell products, and to put images in young girls heads that they need to look a certain way. Women are constantly being degraded because of our looks. We’re too thin; we’re too heavy. If your breasts aren’t a certain size, no one will desire you. If your skirt is too short, you’re asking for rape, but if it is too long, you are seen as a prude. Young women are exposed to these things on a daily basis. They strive to be just like the women they see on television, in magazines, and on social media. They strive to be seen as desirable in the eyes of men. Media fuels our insecurities to sell products promising us unrealistic things. This diet will help you lose 10 pounds in a week! Yeah right. By women being seen as objects, we are seen as being easily manipulated and controlled. Men are taught to take control of their surroundings, be in control of themselves. Women are taught to be submissive to the man, to let them control what we can be. In advertisement, 90% of ads feature women, and only 10% of ads feature men (who are often accompanied with a sexually objectified woman anyway). The ratio between men and women is 1:1 in this world. How come we don’t see an even 50/50 split of men and women in the media? Because that is not what sells. Sex sells. Manipulations sells. Empty promises sell. To me, this is bullshit. Girls should be taught to love their bodies for the way it is, and not try to change it to reach impossible standards. I would rather have a little meat on my bones and have curves than starve myself to look like a skeleton.
Not only is the media controlling women, but politicians are as well. I feel as though our country is slowly regressing as more countries are progressing. Politicians are pushing anti-abortion laws, anti-gay laws, and laws that prohibit women from controlling our bodies. As a woman, I am beyond outraged. There is no reason that MEN in politics should have a right to control a WOMAN’S body in any way, shape, or form. I don’t see any regulations put upon men’s bodies. They are half of the problem. Instead of pushing all the problems onto the woman who carries a child, put some responsibility on the man as well. It is easier to unload a gun then it is to wear a bulletproof vest and hope for the best. Why wouldn’t we strive to teach men to use protection, to have safe sex, instead of victimizing the woman. Once the woman gets pregnant, it is suddenly all her fault. It takes two to tango. It takes two to make a child. By decreasing sex education in schools, by increasing anti-abortion laws, by restricting contraceptive use for woman, it is not solving the problem. A woman dead-set on getting an abortion, will find a way to get one, whether it is legal or illegal. By not educating the youth, you are damaging their future. If all they know is that abstinence, they will not know how to have safe sex. They will be uneducated and not know the risk of having unprotected sex. They simply don’t know!
Also, whenever a woman says no, it means no. It is never her fault for being raped. Teach boys to respect women and respect their choices, instead of victim blaming the woman.
Women are not treated equally. We still get paid less than men, 70 cents to every dollar a man makes. Women are taught to just take what comes to them, be submissive, instead of speaking out about the wrong-doings that are happening to us.
I was raised by a woman who did not want her children to have to rely on a man. I was raised to use my voice to empower others, as well as to stand up for myself. When I see something that I know is wrong, whether it is bullying, whether it is a guy trying to take a clearly drunk girl home, whether it is cheating in school, I speak up. In college, using my voice is my school’s main objective. Although my major may be nursing, I am also taught to be a strong, independent woman with a VOICE. Not just any voice, but an important voice. They teach me to use it in a way that will spark a debate, instead of a fist fight. They teach me to use it to raise awareness for an issue. They teach me to use it for people who can’t. It takes one person to start a discussion. If one person is brave enough to speak up, more will follow.
I am a modern day feminist. I strive for equality for my sex. I strive to have control over my own body. I will not let anyone tell me otherwise. I want to educate people on what is going on in the world. I want to break the stereotype of a feminist. If you see me on the street, you cannot tell I am a feminist. I look just like everyone else. I am proud to call myself a feminist, and I am in great company. Hilary Clinton, Eleanor Roosevelt (who also got a degree from my college), Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Beyonce. All these women are influential, powerful, and take pride in their sex. They strive to stand up for injustices in our society. We should all strive to be like them.