A Q&A With Wildcats on Feminism

Siena Zarrell, Staff Writer

   Throughout U.S. history, several movements have gained recognition for advocating for the rights of various minority groups, the most memorable being the African American Civil Rights movement reaching its peak in the 1960s. Now it is our time, and the feminist movement has gained support internationally as it exposes the injustices in politics, social standards, and the career field for women. Although Dictionary.com has a set definition for feminism, it’s a word that means something different to everyone because everyone brings different experiences with gender bias to the meaning. Many West Ranch Wildcats also have their own experiences at such a young age and with it comes their personal definitions of feminism.

 

Kate Aquino:

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Okay, so what feminism means to me is that not everyone is able to express themselves and everyone’s allowed to do whatever they want. There’s this privilege that men and women equally both have.

 

Q: Have you ever encountered sexist/gender-bias experiences in school or in general, life?

A: So, I guess that in general, like in sports, growing up when I was a little kid, I was more of the boyish, you know so to say, quote on quote, you can’t play certain things like you can’t do this if you’re not a guy. But then, once you beat that so-called stereotype that they have on you, it’s kind of fun actually.

 

Q: Do you think there’s a downside of being a feminist?

A: There’s only a downside if you believe that there’s someone else stopping you. There’s always going to be a downside in everything, but if you believe that there’s something greater and you have a purpose for it, then work hard, man, and life will go great.

 

Q: Is there any woman who inspires you right now, and why?

A: Oh my goodness, so the woman that inspires me right now today is — hold on, I’m thinking — yeah, it is my grandma, ‘cause my grandma is a real G. She’s a real strong woman, because growing up, she’s like … not even here in America, since it’s more accepting now to be a more stronger person. But back then in growing up in Asia, I guess there’s this higher sea in men like how all these ‘men are better,’ but she faced it, and she got here and she is strong, so yeah. Grandma Days.

Tia Gemechu:

Q: What experiences have you had with gender bias in life?

A: People just make those certain stereotypes, like girls aren’t as strong as boys, like girls have certain toys at home and boys don’t — I just … I don’t like it.

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: What does feminism mean to me? I guess it’s showing strong pride to be a woman, and like the different things that we can do that are the same as what men can do like equality.

 

Q: What does it mean to be a ‘real man’?

A: I guess in my view, being a real man is being like aware of how women feel and like not talking less of them or bringing them down or like separation because of their gender.

 

Q: Do your parents have different standards for your brothers compared to you?

A: I think they wish more for me — not more — but they expect more from me.

Angeline de Vega:

Q: Do you consider yourself a feminist, and if so, why?

A: Yes, because I think that there are a lot of people who don’t have equal rights compared to men. But even in today’s world, you learn in history that women were oppressed, and even today, we still have to hold marches, and we still have to get people’s attention when it should be a normal thing by now.

 

Q: Do you think sexism has gotten worse or better nowadays?

A: I think it’s gotten better because more people have noticed it, but like right now, I’ve seen a lot of people on social media: There have been girls who have been raped, and people say like, you know, ‘She deserved it,’ like ‘She was wearing a short skirt or she was wearing a tank top,’ like ‘She was asking for it,’ which isn’t right because nobody actually deserves that.

 

Q: Have you ever experienced sexism in your life?

A: Yeah, I think everybody does. For me, like in our band, there are four guy drum majors; we haven’t had a girl in two years … I think that’s sexism.

 

Q: Do you think there is pressure for girls to have ‘perfect bodies,’ and why?

A: There’s a lot of pressure with anybody. I mean, people who are skinny — people hate on them because they’re too skinny — and people who are considered fat are hated on because apparently they’re fat. I think everybody has a different body type; there’s never a perfect body type.

Giann Espino:

Q: Do you believe there are pressures that both males and females face to have the perfect body, and why?

A: Yeah, I think so. Well, I know a few people who get judged by their own family or their own close friends ‘cause the way they look like or the way their bodies are shaped.

 

Q: Do you think that’s wrong?

A: Yeah, I think it’s wrong. And when I was younger in seventh grade, I used to get picked on myself because I wasn’t your perfect body shape or whatever.

 

Q: Why is it important that we respect one another despite our differences?

A: I believe that we should all respect each other, obviously, and I think that it is important to be equal because we’re born equal, but not everyone is treated equally.
   It is remarkable that high school students have so much experience with gender bias in society, but it has contributed to their ability to voice their opinions on feminism and empower one another. These Wildcats are just a few who have used the injustices against them to push for gender equality tomorrow, the message of the well-known feminist movement.