Problem of Complacency
We are a complacent generation. We accept things as they are explained to us and we are hesitant to challenge the norm. All the opportunities that we have allow us to be comfortable. Yet we would be lying to ourselves if we honestly said that we believed that everything was fair and we lived in a completely just society. Everywhere you look you will notice discrimination. One of the biggest revelations I've had this semester is that women (as a group) are treated poorly at Colby College and no one cares (hell, no one notices a lot of the time).
Earlier in the semester, I watched one of my friends declare herself a feminist in a room full of people. I saw faces cringe, eyes roll and an occasional smirk. She then continued to ask students to raise her or his hand if they believe in equal rights for men and women-- because if she or he did, then that person is a feminist. Feminism is normally associated with negative connotations-- hairy legs, overly aggressive crazy women that hate men. But it is a social justice term seeking equality for every gender.
Take a look at the Colby we know and you'll become aware of the ridiculous amounts of sexism. On the weekend, did you attend a party where men are placed in dominant position (pimps, Santa, G.I. Joes) and the women took on subservient roles (hoes, Santa's sexy little helpers, Army Hos)? Think of sporting events--men's games are largely advertised and more likely to be attended than women's games, why? Our academics are gendered as well, as men and women are expected to pursue certain majors and the popular female majors are considered 'soft.' What about sexual harassment--women are more likely to be harassed, expected to face harassment and then blamed, ignored or accused of lying. In the dining halls and the gym-- women more than men are forced to be self-conscious of their appearance. Concerning appearance in general, a female's wardrobe provides more pressure as it can send messages about sexual availability or gender conformity.
And if you want to talk about sexual availability, what about men and women who have a lot of sex? Usually it's the women that are labeled "slut." Negative labels are always placed on women-- loud women are thought of as "shrews" and aggressive women are called "bitches." Language alone has male biases; day-to-day words (such as freshmen) always represent males. Men, how many times has a decision you've made, a response you've had, a way you looked been questioned depending on what time of the month it is? I feel pretty confident saying never. This list can go on forever and when you're dealing with this on a daily basis you really become aware of mistreatment and the overall inequality.
Awareness is the first step in challenging complacency. Women as well as men need to be more observant of the world around us. What stereotypes are we allowing to be perpetuated? We need to speak out against inequalities and stop settling for "just enough." We also need to get angry when we are denied respect when we address these issues and stop being so complacent. If you are sitting there and thinking a) this occurs everywhere, we can't change it or b) this is bullshit and not true; well then you're BEING COMPLACENT and that's a problem.