Women in the Media

Spring 2017

"Letter from the Editors"

Welcome to Girl Talk!

 

We are the editors, Eunice and Charlotte. Through Girl Talk Magazine, we hope to provide a forum for  people to discuss and be informed about gender related issues around the globe. With articles covering a wide range of topics and perspectives, Girl Talk is a magazine completely run and organized by high school students. Hearing from all genders and different sides of the political (both liberal and conservative), economic, and social spectrum is essential to us as editors! We are not a one-sided organization, and welcome critical and constructive discussion of  gender.

Our first issue, Women in the Media, revolves around the relationship between women and media around the world. It explores the different portrayals of women in the media, and shines a light on issues such as colorism, media sexualization, and Hollywood sexism. A special interview features Kim Raver, actress who plays Teddy on Grey’s Anatomy. She speaks about what it means to be a woman in Hollywood and advice for being creating a powerful generation of females. Multiple perspectives, with high school girls from Guatemala, China, and the US, are included in Women in the Media.

Although this first issue has a smaller writer base with articles primarily written by the editors and questionnaire responses, in our future issues, you’ll mostly see the work of our expanding staff, peers, and audience submissions, which we would love to receive! To submit articles, feedback, thoughts, and ideas, email us at Girltalkmagazine@gmail.com, or feel free to contact us through our instagram and facebook. We can’t wait to hear all the ideas you have to share!

Like any project, this all started with an idea. One of us had a crazy idea to develop a global feminist magazine, and approached the other who was extremely passionate about gender inequality as well. After multiple hours drafting content, Starbucks meetups, and design meetings, this idea transformed into a reality. At the end of the day, we hope to provide a platform for everyone, all genders and sides of the political spectrum, to discuss how gender plays out in our lives and on a global scale.

    Enjoy!

    -Eunice and Charlotte

"Global Questionnaire"

What do you want to be when you grow up?

 

This is a question frequently asked from adults to children who are growing up. Although people have natural interests and talents towards certain career fields, it’s interesting to examine the role of media that influences the answer to this commonly asked question, specifically in girls across the world.

 

Guatemala, age 14: “ I want to be a teacher. It’s hard for girls to go to school, and a lot of our families don’t think that it’s worth it to send girls to school. But I love school. I love learning new things, and when I’m older, I want to be a teacher to make sure that all girls will be encouraged to go to school and love learning as much as I do. “

 

United States of America, age 16: “ All throughout my life, I grew up with the media feeding me the image of a “beautiful girl” being shy, reserved, and helpful. I tried being that girl, but I failed, because I’m just the complete opposite. I love speaking out about the issues I’m passionate about, and I’m not afraid to stand up or start an arguement with someone who I don’t agree with. I want to be a lawyer when I grow up, and even if I’m never going to be that “beautiful” girl the media loves, I’m fine with it.”

 

China, age 17: “ My parents wanted a boy, and they made that very clear from the moment I was born. Although China no longer has a one child policy, back when I was born they did, and my parents left me here ( in an orphanage) so they could erase the one child they had, and start over. Because of that, when I was younger, I thought that male was the better sex, so whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said careers that would help people, help males, such as a nurse or cook. Now, that I know that I am strong, and women are just as strong, if not better than men, I want to choose a career that makes me happy. I want to be a scientist, for me.”

 

Guatemala, age 16: “ I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know who I want to be when I grow up. I want to be independent. All my life, in magazines, TV, and books, I’ve been told to rely on other men for help, and I’m tired to being seen as weak and unintelligent. I’m tired of only being praised in the news for my looks or only being a supporting character in the books I read. Maybe I’ll own a business, or be a doctor, or a lawyer, but whatever I end up becoming- I will be independent and my main goal in life is to support myself without the help of any other man.”

"Kim Raver Interview"

Charlotte interviewed Kim Raver, who plays Teddy on Grey’s Anatomy. She gave unique insight to the world of gender in the media, specifically in television and film, in a detailed conversation covering a wide variety of topics on gender, including role models, body image, how strong women are perceived, and her experiences in the world of acting.

 

Girl Talk: As a woman in Hollywood, are you ever in situations in which your gender becomes an obstacle or problematic? (i.e. actresses, artists/singers, etc.)

Kim Raver: I don’t think I was aware that gender was an issue until recently. I’ve always been aware that there’s one woman role to fifteen men roles in theater, (which is where I started,) in TV, and in films. My mom was a producer when I was growing up, and that was the 80s, so she was one of the only women producers-I had this great example of women in the workforce. So, I think about the beginning of my career, and I now hear all these stories in media talking about an example of sexism or walls because of being a woman. It’s not until I reflect back [on moments in my career] and say, Oh, that was blatantly sexist. But I think part of women just say, Oh, well, that’s the way it is. When I watched Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton talking during this whole election I was so moved to be like, Oh, I’m actually not alone, and what has happened in the past is actually not ok. I think it’s really great that you’re starting this magazine because we can have more dialogue as women from a positive standview, rather than a blaming standview-that’s my goal with you. Not to bash the business, but to say, Ok, what can we learn from women in the industry and from that, how can we go forward?

 

GT: Do you remember any specific situations in which you’ve encountered sexism or your gender has become an obstacle?

KR: There’s been a lot of sexual advances where you go, That person is flirting with me, and I’m saying no to this flirtation because that’s not the way I get ahead in the business. In the last year, with the election and people talking about Trump and sexual assault, you hear all these really great women coming forward. Whether you are pro or against that, hearing all that great dialogue helps. There’s been many auditions with incredible representations, but you go to a meeting and there’s completely inappropriate advances which I would turn down because, again, I was raised to believe (and maybe this is naive) that because of talent and hard work, and yes, luck in this business, I’m going to move forward. I can’t control the other stuff. But then, there are amazing men out there who are in position of hiring and amazing women who are in position of hiring and they do hire you for your talent. Women have to learn how to navigate the system, and I think the system at this point in time is run mostly by men-which is changing. Women are finally having a voice and saying, This is not acceptable. The dialogue is definitely happening, and that’s really important.

 

GT: Over the last decade, has the perception of women in media improved or changed? How?

KR: It’s definitely changing-and I say changing-and definitely improving. We have a long way to go, especially when you look now at the election. Maybe people weren’t ready for a woman president, but for me, it was empowering to see Hillary running and it brought up a lot of dialogue. A specific example of a woman speaking up is when Jennifer Lawrence wrote an incredible letter speaking to equal pay. She brought up American Hustle and how even though she was the main draw to that film, she was not being paid the same amount of her male counterparts. I’ve experienced that-where people who don’t have the same experience or track record make more money because they are men. Jennifer Lawrence says in her letter that if, as a woman, you speak out and are advocate for yourself, you become labeled the “difficult one.” I’d love to see that change-where women can stand up for themselves, whether it be equal pay, more women’s roles, etc. Women are supporting women. Meryl Streep has a fund for women screenwriters. I definitely feel how a woman director is treated differently on set than a male director when she is of equal talent to other male directors. Because she’s a woman, there’s an immediate judgement. I do think it’s changing, and women are finding our voice. Ashley Judd has been outspoken, and Patricia Arquette demanded equal pay in her Oscar speech last years. It takes women to lay down foundations and start the dialogue. So I think it’s changing. Do I wish it were changing faster? Yeah. But I think we’re definitely headed in a positive direction.

 

GT: About body image...what effect do you think Hollywood and the media in general has on young girls who are struggling with body confidence?

KR: Body image has really changed from when I was first starting out. I felt like there was one way to look, and that was this super thin, one-size fits all kind of thing. Now, we see Jennifer Lopez, Serena Williams, Lena Dunham, Melissa McCarthy, the Kardashians... just so many different body types that are celebrated. There are so many different sizes, and there’s not one size that’s beautiful, so I love to see that that has changed a little bit. I don’t know what it’s like to be a teenager now. It’s so different from when I was growing up. I’m sure there’s pressure to be what is in fashion at the moment, and again, I’m not a teenager so I don’t know, but I feel like there’s less pressure to be one thing and there’s more examples to be different things. Even Lena Dunham-I’ve never seen someone so fearless on camera, not feeling like she has to conform. That’s because of talent. She’s just an uber talent and smart. In your generation, there’s much more embracing on finding your power, and that will also lead to success. I’m sure being a teenager there’s tons of images put out there, but at least now they’re diverse images.

 

GT: What are the beauty standards in Hollywood and media? Do you agree with them?

KR: One main thing is youth. That’s for sure a huge thing especially for women. Men can age, and they look at 30-year-old women and say that they’re too old to play wife of a 50-year-old man, which is horrifying to me. The face of beauty in Hollywood has definitely evolved. It used to be blonde and blue-eyed, and now you’ve got Kerry Washington and Viola Davis, who’s older. Hally Berry was a bond girl, and usually those women are coined as they “beauties.”

 

GT: Let’s say a woman was an outstandingly talented actress but she didn’t adhere at all to today’s beauty standards. Theoretically, do you think that would get in her way when it comes to auditions, casting, and success in general? Why and how?

KR: Yes and no. What is beauty? If you’re asking me what beauty is as opposed to a studio head what beauty is...I mean, is beauty just what is current at the moment? And then that’s what everyone wants? For me, beauty is when someone walks in the room and there’s an intelligence and energy that takes your breath away. We know it’s that person who is confident in who they are but also vulnerable and smart. Beauty is totally different than what it was in the 80’s. If you look different than what is the hype at the moment, then, yes, it’s probably more difficult to get representation and to audition until someone breaks that mold...until the Lena Dunham breaks that mold. When you’re first starting out, you’re always trying to do what someone wants-in an audition, or casting, and I realized that I can only be the best me that I can be and nobody’s going to be like that because it’s me. That’s when things really started happening for me.

 

GT: Do you think your answer to the previous question would be the same if it were about men?

KR: First I was going to say no, and that it was much easier for men. But then I think about many teenage boys, and I see now that there’s so much media around them, like body image, so there is already this pressure to conform to a ripped body and to be a certain way. When I was growing up, I don’t think guys had that pressure. So in a way, men today have to conform to a certain body image, but it’s a different game for men than it is for women. Women are not supposed to age, they’re supposed to have an incredible body. Hollywood sets the machine with all of the glossy magazines of what you should be wearing and how much you should be spending on a bag. To me, all that is is a perpetual feeding of the machine of how we are all supposed to be and I think that’s definitely much harder for women than men.

 

GT: What do you think constitutes a good female role model in the media for young girls? Who is your role model and why?

KR: I talked a little about this, but my mom is a huge role model for me. During a time in New York City when in advertising, there weren’t a lot of women working, and she started out in the lower position-most of the women who were in advertising were secretaries. That was not the path she was going to take, and she became the head of production at one of the biggest ad agencies. That was definitely forging a path that had not been there before. That’s incredible to see a working woman. It’s like that first question you asked me-where I’m in a situation and uncomfortable because of men or whatever-I didn’t really see it because I had an example of a rising woman, hard work, creative talent and supportive women around me. That was pivotal for me-to see that it was possible to persevere. To look back at the last election cycle, it’s incredible to hear Michelle Obama. I think she’s an incredible role model because she’s intelligent, compassionate, and is able to get her points across without being condescending or angry. As women, we have to find a way to get our points across in a different way than men, otherwise we get labelled as the “difficult one” or the “moody one,” whatever that is. When you look at women who have succeeded, I don’t want to say they’ve found a way within the system, but as of now, a majority of men are running the studio system and there are more [male] roles in films. It’s inspiring to find those role models because they know their responsibility to be a role model. Even someone like Beyoncé-she uses what she has in a completely different way than, for example, I would. When I think about body image and stuff like that, first of all, her voice and gift is incredible, but she also is unapologetic when she’s up there dancing in whatever she’s in. It’s very freeing to me. And again, with Lena Dunham, she’s put her talent first and let the rest of the stuff around her fall out. Those examples are very strong women who know there’s going to be a backlash, which is incredible because so many men don’t have to have that backlash and don’t have to deal with that. So many women are able to confront that...that’s a really powerful message.

 

GT: Are you content with the pop/Hollywood culture young girls are growing up with? Why or why not?

KR: What’s interesting is, I look at Miley Cyrus and at first I was like, What is she doing!? This was five years ago. I was like what’s with the twerking? What is that? And now, I watched her on The Voice, and she’s so incredibly passionate and well-spoken and well-meaning. I saw this incredible play called Sluts. It’s about how these girls in high school completely are wearing the teeny-tiny shorts and flirting with guys, and then there’s this horrible incident where one of the girls is sexually assaulted. The whole discussion is about how they were walking around calling themselves sluts because they were trying to take the power back. They didn’t want the boys to have that power over them, until this came about and all the girls turned on her. Everyone loved Miley when so pure and doing this one thing, and there was this Annie Leibovitz shot of her where she looked somewhat sexual. She was young, this was going out, and it was like, How was she going to be perceived? So I think that if we can look at other women from a non judgemental point of view and see what their message is, and maybe she had to go so far to the other side with the twerking and all of that in order to have her voice heard because the media pinned her into some other voice she felt she wasn’t. I think pop culture, in a way, has to be taken with a grain of salt and we have to look beyond it. That’s important for your generation of women-to look at what is out there, and then have the dialogue of what it really means. I don’t have girls so I don’t know what you guys are having to navigate through, but I think pop culture is now more the pressures that you guys are dealing with, like with having social media access. I think women your age now growing up have a voice for that dialogue whereas that being objectified was much more hidden in a way before. It’s so over-the-top, but maybe that’s a great forum for discussion and because there’s so many different types, hopefully you don’t feel the pressure to have to conform. It’s a lot to take in. For me, what I find upsetting is the access to it. The fact that my teenager and 9-year-old son can go on and see things that I find that part of life beautiful and I don’t want to be objectified-it’s almost desensitized. I think that’s a generational thing of having to have discussions about that. Pop culture is always a hot point of generations, but maybe that’s what inspires movements in each generation. There’s heroes to be had in this pop culture, and there’s people who you really dislike. At least this generation there’s room in this power that women have really succeeded in having their own specific voice. Jennifer Lawrence has a big, bold voice, and she’s able to share it loudly. She trips up the red carpet-no other woman has been able to do that and she’s unapologetic about it. That’s really cool. Jennifer Lawrence also wrote an essay/letter on the pay gap between men and women-she is a great role model of using her voice to make a difference and to inspire change towards equality.


 

GT: Are there any specific types of roles that you usually look for? Is there anything you look for in a female character you are considering to play?

KR: I tend to play super strong, smart, complicated women. I find that people are surprised when they meet me and I’m funny and kooky and that’s also a stereotype in women. If you are smart and strong, then you’re only one way. I don’t think men get that-you see men transitioning so easily. If you’re smart, people think oh, that woman’s too strong. My sister’s a professor, and we were talking about how it is in the work force. That’s a dialogue women, whether it’s with your professor, or in class, or your producer. Wouldn't it be great if we could get to the point where we could get to a place where we could me outspoken and strong and we don’t have to find a way to cushion it? Women need to support other women for being smart, strong, and outspoken and not being criticized for having a voice. That goes to what I was saying about the roles-I find complicated, multi layered women the most interesting to play, if you look at my role on 24 and Grey’s. What I love about Grey’s is that everyone’s really smart on that show. I do see a change-we don’t have to explain that a woman is a surgeon or a chief of surgery or a great doctor. That’s really exciting to me.

 

GT: Right-that leads into the next question. What do you hope to see in the future with feminism in the media in general?

KR: I’d love to see equal pay. I’d love to see more women’s roles that are as interesting as some of the men’s roles-not just the girlfriend, or the wife, but as multilayered as some of the men’s roles. I’d like to see more people taking risks-and I wish I didn’t have to use that word “risks.” You see people like Elizabeth Banks, who’s like, I’m gonna direct, and I’m gonna write. Look at Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler. There’s huge progress, I just wish it was faster and more.

 

GT: What would you want to tell your younger teenage self?

KR: I’d want to tell my younger teenage self that I don’t need to find my way to maneuver through all those uncomfortable situations as woman, but at the same time, as a teenager they existed. So, I had to find that way to make my path. I wish we could set that tone for future generations so the navigating doesn’t have to exist.

"Feminism Responses"

 

Eunice

 

Feminism is defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of equality of the sexes.” This seems to be a fairly straightforward definition, yet the word “feminist” continues to cause so much controversy today. Although the basic idea of feminism is equality of the sexes, applying this belief in real world has been complicated, therefore causing many to misinterpret feminism.

 

     One issue many people have with modern feminism is the lack of representation of male issues. For example, it is true that more than one third of sexual violence victims are male, yet most media coverage centers on a male perpetrator, female victim dynamic. The same stereotype is prevalent in discussions of domestic violence. However, talking about the struggles of one group does not in any way invalidate the struggles of another. Feminism is simply acknowledging that there has been systematic and cultural sexism against women that continues to exist today. Just because you publicize a story of a woman who suffered under inadequate sexual assault policies, does not mean you only believe that women can be raped. Likewise, just because you choose to highlight a story of a woman who is a domestic violence survivor, does not mean you are invalidating men who have suffered the same terrible actions.

 

    Whereas many people complain about the lack of representation of certain issues, many people criticize modern feminism for focusing too much on certain issues. Tomi Lahren, political talk show host, states “ I don’t consider myself a victim, I don’t march for insignificant problems masqueraded as women’s rights while women in less fortunate parts of the world wake up without human rights.” Although it is true that women in first world countries do not experience disparities in education, social norms, and legal protection to the same level as women in third world countries, women all around the globe face valid problems. Technically, women are “guaranteed” the same legal rights as men in the US, yet women face numerous obstacles and biases that prevent the fulfillment of this guarantee. Often times, these problems cannot be numerically calculated, as it is impossible to put a clear number on the emotional effect of the lack of strong female characters in media or the culture of normalized sexual harassment. Even if feminist issues in the US and other first world countries are not as tangible as those that can easily be represented in the statistics of third world countries, all issues are very much real.

 

  In addition, it is important to note that feminism helps everyone- all sexes included. Harmful gender roles that dictate what women should or should not do, also limit opportunities for men to express themselves. Feminism combats hypermasculinity, by disabling gender roles to give everyone the freedom to make choices. A female should have the choice to pursue traditionally “masculine” career fields as a scientist or politician, just as how a male should feel free to pursue traditionally “feminine” career fields in beauty and caregiving. And although certain feminist issues such as birth control and girl’s education are specific to females, all issues improve the general welfare of society. For example, the Organization for Economic and Co-Operation Development estimates that every dollar spent on birth control, saves $1.41 in medical costs. Additionally, March 2010 United Nations statement described how the key to combating global poverty is through empowering girl’s education, with every dollar invested in girl’s education contributing at least $5 in the economy.

 

   But I would be lying if I said that I didn’t struggle with feminism myself. I’ve always easily called myself a “feminist”, but the real challenge has always been feminism’s application to my daily life. I love countless rap and hip hop songs despite their misogynistic lyrics, and I often apply makeup in an attempt to mold myself into idealized ( and unachievable) beauty standards. Am I feminist, if… is the beginning of a question I often ask myself before doing something. Yet the calculations of what is feminist enough are endless and frankly, pointless, and what I’ve come to terms with as the real life application of feminism is simply: choice.

 

    Feminism is about choices. As it is based on the fundamental belief of equality of the sexes, all sexes should have the choice to express themselves and pursue opportunities without limitations caused by their specific sex. Women should have the choice to regulate their own bodies, whether that means having access to safe abortion clinics or not undergoing an abortion. Teenage girls should have the choice to participate in STEM subjects without prejudice, either blind or intentional, that creates unequal opportunity. Women should have the choice to wear whatever they please, without fear that their bodies would be seen as invitations for sexual assault.

 

   I am a feminist because I believe all sexes should have the choice to express themselves and pursue any opportunity regardless of their specific sex.

 

Matilda (John Marshall High School)

I agree that a lot of the mainstream 'feminism' movement is problematic, such as the common cissexist slogans used at the women's march which equated womanhood to having a uterus or vagina. The literal definition of feminism is the belief that people of all genders should be equal socially, politically, and economically. If you believe that, you are a feminist, at least in my book. Anyone who claims that women are better than men is a misandrist. Anyone who tries to dismiss or belittle the struggles of men, such as the pressures to conform to hypermasculinity, is just wrong. These are real issues and they absolutely need to be addressed. However, these are all feminist issues by definition as they deal with the inequalities of people based on gender. True intersectional feminism should be representative of this, and we need to work together to raise awareness about these issues and challenge the stigma. But just because you disagree with the most common connotation of the word is no reason to dismiss the movement as a whole.

 

Charlotte

I am going to begin this little response about my belief in feminism by saying that I in no way intend to shut anybody down, and by thanking the people shared their views contradictory to the rest of the feminist-themed articles in our magazine. As a movement, it is essential to not alienate those whose opinion differ from ours. Many experts and liberal politicians are restating that a very prominent and likely reason Trump was elected was because of the alienation of middle America, who felt shut down because of their conservative views. I have really high hopes for feminism. I want the movement to succeed. And in order for any activist movement to succeed, we cannot attempt to silence anybody. Many say that we live in desperate times in which love, kindness, and compromise is not the answer. But when we look at history’s most successful movements, these values have always been the answer. Look at Martin Luther King Jr. By leading a hate-free movement, he brought America quite far in the fight for civil rights.

    I understand why there are people who get frustrated with certain modern feminists. I’m not going to deny that there are people out there who aren’t preaching what I believe is the correct message regarding feminism. I get furious when I see man-hating blog posts because that’s not what feminism is about. These examples do not represent the movement as a whole in any way, shape, or form. The notion that feminism as a movement is exclusive is simply wrong. I’ll give an example everyone can understand: Women’s March. For those who didn’t attend, it was not full of whining women complaining about men being evil and stripping all women of all rights. It was full of all genders, including men, coming together on a huge variety of issues concerning the recent election and telling the government what we believe and why. There was nobody complaining about men being evil, or whatever people seem to assume it is we complain about. Men were angry. Women were angry. Everyone was angry. So we channeled that anger into PEACEFUL expression. That’s what feminism should be, and frankly, exactly it usually is. I was at an event today about activism organized by a feminist organization, and I’d say there was a pretty even number of men and women. One of the guest speakers was Kirby Dick, a male who made a film about the reality of sexual assault on campuses and is dedicated to addressing the issues of rape culture and assault. If anyone who claims that feminist as a whole is a “man-hating,” my response is that I understand where this idea comes from, but that it is a factually untrue statement.

    To those that say the patriarchy and the wage gap is a myth, I have a few responses. First of all, the wage gap is not a myth regardless of the Equal Pay Act, and I’ll refute this briefly. Just a year out of college, women are already at a 6.6% disadvantage when it comes to pay, and research leads to the conclusion that a big part of this has to do with the anticipation of motherhood. I’d also like to bring up one of the countless stories that prove the wage gap true. I’m not going to go into detail out of respect for her privacy, but I know an incredible woman who is one of the only women as an executive in her field of work and her success is beyond inspiring. However, after moving to a new company and starting a new project with a male partner who she had the exact same position as, (both held the highest executive positions,) she was offered a significantly smaller salary, and the men and women around her admitted immediately that this had to do with the fact that she is a woman. She is in the process of fighting this unequal offer. But the wage gap is a reality.

I was originally drawn to feminism by the speaker and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her TEDtalks, especially We Should All Be Feminists, really impacted my thought processes on feminism and sparked my passion for gender equality. I could speak about feminism for countless pages, so I’m going to keep my words brief. First of all, the TEDtalk I just mentioned was distributed to every 16-year-old in Sweden and a lot of the feedback was from males saying how they learned that feminism doesn’t promote male hatred and about how and why males could be feminists. One thing Adichie often feels in her fight for feminism is loneliness. And I feel this sometimes, too. People use the amazing, inspiring success stories of powerful women as excuses to deny the fact that women and femininity are not viewed as equal. Here are just a few simple examples about perception to add onto what I’ve already said.

    In schools, boys often see girls who participate in class as annoying or in a negative light. This is a real thing. I know multiple girls who were told by boys that they would be attracted to them if they didn’t speak their mind so much.

    Not only does that happen in schools, but it happens in the workforce. Adichie brought up countless examples of women who try to speak up in business meetings and are shut down as their male counterparts say literally exactly the same thing. Overall, it is harder for a business woman to succeed than a man because of unequal perception. And, there are far, far less women CEOs than men.

    Why do women feel the need to dress in ugly man-ish suits to be taken seriously? Adichie was talking about how she feels most confident in frilly skirts and lip gloss and heels, but once was afraid of teaching in such attire because she wanted to be taken seriously.

    Refer to my interview with Grey’s Anatomy actress Kim Raver. Men’s roles are still of larger numbers and they portray very different characters than women’s roles. Or look at Billboards when you're driving down the street and think about the types of characters that women are playing vs men.

    Women are frequently looked at for their bodies and appearances rather than character. This is such a massive problem and so relevant. I talked about this in my article about Hip-hop, but it happens in everyday life as well. Women are catcalled because they’re working out and want to wear leggings.

    Then, of course, there’s the inequality with sexual assault and abortion. Look at Trumpcare, which contains so many harmful reforms and messages such as a 6-week paid maternity leave. Some argue that it essentially makes being a woman a pre-existing condition. I’ve been tempted to be less outspoken because of negative responses or for fear of seeming perceived as obnoxious. On an international level, women across the world are denied the right to education and are oppressed in intense ways. I can go on. But the patriarchy still exists. That's why I co-run this magazine and project. I see inequality, and I want to change it. I can go on.

    So yes, I’m a passionate feminist. And no, I don’t agree with a lot of what Matt and Grace said. But I want to bring this back to my first few sentences in this article. Matt and Grace have valid opinions, and there are people out there who would unfortunately criticize them in unfair and shameful ways. I ask everyone out there, feminists, activists, liberals, and conservative to respect the other side. I ask everyone to listen and engage but not interrupt or shut anyone down. Don’t call the other side liars. Don’t call the other side names. That will just yield us to more politicians in the vein of Trump. That being said, I also call on both women and men to be aware of the role gender plays in society and work towards improving the way gender is perceived.