My goggles have been a new addition to my school uniform this year. The scandal at Wellington Boys’ College and the Trump Protests juxtaposed with the celebration of International Women’s Day had them superglued to my face. You may not have heard of the concept, feminist goggles? Once you put them on, they don’t come off, you’ll see the world through the bell jar.
Sadly due to the current stigma around feminism people are wary to identify with it as it seems to have aggressive connotations. On a simplistic level, it’s the belief that men and women should be equal, not the same, equal. Although I am but a high school student with little life experience I cannot attest to enduring any of these gender issues in the ‘real world’. However, I do know how these issues exist in the daily lives of teenagers and the impact it has.
A big problem for young women today is the fear of another girl’s successes. Fueled by envy at others achievements, girls are tearing each other down and creating catty social hierarchies. This is because it is a popular belief there can only be one ‘it’ girl. This feeds unnecessary competition among women that we have all seen or experienced. In contrast to this, teenage boys have to live in a society with an appreciation for macho egotistic attitudes. Historically the idea of masculinity consists of a superficial toughness and dominance that our youth are pressured to embody. There is expectation for young men to mask their feelings and compartmentalise in order to ‘be a man’.
Today feminism is considered something trending or something threatening. However it is something that we as young people need to reclaim and revitalise. For the young women we need to build up. So they can learn how to empower themselves and empower each other. For the young men who need to be freed from the confinement of gender stereotypes. We can stand together in the pursuit of social freedom.
I invite you to join with me to reclaim this taboo term. Put on a pair of your own feminist goggles. Some may stare or mock. Many have told me to take mine off. But personally, I love the way they fit.
Student Voice – May 2017