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What does it mean to be a female?

by MissPhoenix

It is a universal fact that as humans we have a 50/50 chance of becoming male or female before we are born- a gender we can now choose to change if we are born in the wrong bodies. `Based on this fact, why are we still as a nation experiencing forms of sexism, sometimes subtly woven into parts of the media or our daily routines, other times blatant or even violent. For example, why do schools segregate males from females when it comes to sports such as rugby or hockey? One may argue that the different genders are built differently or it would be awkward for a male to tackle a female or vice versa. But, in this case, where do gay, lesbian or bisexuals stand? Would it not be awkward for them? As for the different builds of people, we can say that everyone has a different build and surely that means we are stereotyping the differences between males and females. It is unfair to deny someone the right to play whatever sport they like just because of their gender.

I was very fortunate that a month or so ago sir Ian Mckellan came to our school to give a talk on his sexuality. But at one point he mentioned that when it comes to discriminating against homosexual people, we should celebrate out differences, not put ourselves down for being individual. This is the same for gender- we should be proud of ourselves instead of trying to conform to whatever strange ideal some people are searching for.

You may think sexism has died down in recent years but I am not so sure- we hear of unequal payment in the work industry between males and females and of sexist comments scrutinized in the media but it never seemed to directly affect me until a few weeks back. I was supposed to go down to our local village only a few minutes away to pick my friend up so we could walk back to my house. But my mother refused to let me go- apparently to walk a few hundred yards would lead me to be harassed, abused or worse simply because of my gender. Aside from preventing me from seeing my friend, I was actually shocked in response to this. It was the first time I have ever felt ashamed of my gender for something out of my own control. Why was it that a single Y chromosome could change your daily life so much? 

My answer to sexism is this- we need to change ourselves to change society. If we take a second to remind ourselves how incredibly complex and extraordinary we are then we can remove our own insecurities and make others happier, starting a chain reaction. It is something that I think will give us happier lives if we all embrace equality and enjoy being who we are. 

I know that this is a controversial topic but please do not leave any hateful comments- I would much appreciate your support on the matter.

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269 Reviews

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Tue Mar 15, 2016 6:53 pm
Gravity wrote a review...

Heya! Gravity here for a review,

So I can really relate to a lot of the points here because I'm a feminist and I'm pansexual, so I'm all for gay rights. This "essay" wasn't really an essay to me because it didn't really include facts, it was mostly opinionated. I still think it's very interesting how you speak your mind and your opinions on some of these issues.

The best way to create equality is to remember that equality will never exist. There will always be someone better, stronger, prettier, stronger, and that is why we celebrate our differences. Read Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut and you will see what I mean. Guys and girls sports teams are split up not because of inequality. You're right, it is because guys are built differently. It's a safety issue. Think about it. You can have a strong woman all you want, but if she's tackled on the football field by a strong man (who will inevitably almost always be bigger) then that poses a serious safety risk. It also keeps everybody from being able to enjoy the game to the full extent.

As for women being paid less, I've actually done a lot of research into payment of women and there are not a lot of circumstances in which a woman will get paid less than a man for the same job. The bigger concern is the hiring of men over women and also, though it is illegal, lots of companies will fire women if they are pregnant under the facade of another issue. When my sister got pregnant with my nephew her work found out and then fired her, but because companies are legally not allowed to do that they falsified the pink slip and basically said they fired her for being late.

The surveys that show that women are being paid less than men are misleading. These surveys are basically an average of all jobs. So the highest paying women (doctor, business owner, etc.) versus the lowest paid women (fast food, teachers, some government employees, grocery store workers, etc.) and then compared to men. Statistics show that men hold higher paying jobs in STEM fields such as researchers, scientists, doctors and businessman while women typically hold the lower paying but still important jobs of nurturing other people like social services, teaching, nurses, etc. This has nothing to do with women getting paid less because they're women. It has to do with women having a strong maternal instinct that causes them to go for nurturing jobs that just happen to pay less than others.

As for your point about the media, I agree. I've had a hard time dating and such because guys at my school prefer prettier girls and really don't take the time to get to know a girl for who she is. I don't agree with how women are objectified in the media but men get that too. For example, they're expected to follow the male macho stereotype. i.e. the man who plays sports, doesn't cry and looks like the underwear models and models that are found on their products just as they are for us. Granted men are objectified less, but they are still objectified.

Finally, your point about being afraid to walk outside for fear of being attacked. Some men are pervs and that sucks. As women we need to learn to protect ourselves. I get very anxious going outside in the dark for that reason, because I'm afraid.

Thanks for your essay, I think it would be good to see this turned into a legitimate essay with facts etc. seeing that would interest me.


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Tue Oct 27, 2015 12:24 am
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Ronald559 wrote a review...

I don't agree that the world should be more gender neutral. I do think we should celebrate our differences. (It's crazy because I wrote this before seeing Sir Ian Mckellan said the same exact thing!) My son will have responsibilities, and my daughter will have responsibilities. Some will be the same others will be a different. A boy cannot do all the things a woman does to become a man, and vice versa. It's because we are different. That is just how nature intended.
If my son is gay I wouldn't have him do the same things someone straight would need to do. And it isn't because I think it's wrong or that he isn't a man. It's because his world will be different, and I need to prepare him for his future.

The reason males and females don't play on the same team is because it's a distraction, and it's sort of hard to play your full potential against someone of the opposite gender. I would certainly not be as a aggressive. Also girls would HAVE to deal with sexual harassment on the field. It's going to happen because some men are perverts. There's a lot of complications. Plus it's not always fair. Guys are generally stronger and faster when you compare athletes. It's just how our bodies are made. I wouldn't mind it, but I see a lot of difficulties to integrate sports. Especially in the rougher sports like football or hockey.

I will never understand why people are gay or are transgendered. The scientific community can only guess. I honestly feel like it has to do with early development. Technically it's not normal because we were born to mate, and being gay doesn't encourage that. (Purely from a scientific point of view.)

Anyway... I feel like this generation is preoccupied with things they don't fully understand. And they develop opinions on things so quickly. We need to be more patient, and we need to listen more. People jump to conclusions without putting much thought into it. Not that you are among them. I'm just talking about our generation as a whole. There's nothing wrong with transgendered people or gay people. We shouldn't try to change them. But I don't think we try to change society as a whole so that a small percentage of people will feel normal. Treat people well. That's all you need to do. We shouldn't neutralize everything, and be so politically correct. We should accept people for who they are, and realize the beauty in our differences. Not try to make it seem like we are all the same but we choose to follow the mainstream societal roles. There's a reason gender roles have existed for so long.

MissPhoenix says...

Hey Ronald559 sorry for not getting back earlier but thank you for this review. I do agree with some of your points and you expressed a lot of ideas I hadn't even thought of! Thank you again- I might make some amendments based on this.

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Mon Oct 26, 2015 8:22 pm
Satira wrote a review...

Hi, MissPheonix! Welcome to YWS!

So, I do like the topic that you're discussing here, and I think you bring up some good points. You write politely but confidently. Good job. What I really want to see with this essay is expansion. Your points don't have enough discussion behind them to leave a real impact. And as you go into those points, remember that you have to argue for both sides of the issue to really make someone think.
for example: the segregation of the genders in sports: acknowledge that male and female bodies are built differently(as this is true, and definitely a large factor in the matter ), and also discuss how all people are built differently, and there are certainly women in the world that are stronger and bigger than men, and visa versa.

Some suggestions:
. I have a hard time thinking that transgender people, and the relatively modern solution of physically transitioning, has much of an impression of the general public's view on gender and sexism. Not that I don't fully support transgender people, but I don't think that opening line really belongs there. it's a side note, a tangent. Instead, focus on how the media and our daily routines influence us to have sexism ingrained in us, because that's a key point in your argument.

. the thing about homosexuality affecting gender? I don't know if it's really meant to be in this essay, because gender is separate from sexuality, but if you want to go into it, try to explain how it does connect to sports, to gender expression, to the way that LGBT+ people are perceived pertaining to their gender. Right now in your essay, the subject seems a bit disconnected from the rest of the work, and I would consider writing another piece focusing on it.

. explain why we should 'celebrate our differences, not put ourselves down for being individual,' and 'be proud of ourselves instead of trying to conform to whatever strange ideal some people are searching for'. Give examples of how people aren't doing that, and how they can change.

. your third paragraph jumps around a lot. Are we talking about the wage gap, or the astonishingly high threat of rape for women? Focus on only one of those, or break them into two paragraphs and expand upon them. If you want to get really persuasive, throw in a nifty statistic, like how many women in ten are raped, or how much more a man makes than a woman. Statistics don't lie.

. Your last paragraph, or closing paragraph, is very separate from the rest of the essay. Your statement: "we need to change ourselves to change society"- is not backed up by the body paragraph. I suggest that you explain how people can use this solution to fix the problems that you discuss in the essay. You cannot be vague in an essay.

All in all, I really like where you're going with this- I especially love that you chose to tackle this topic, and declaring that it needs to change. Contrary to what you might think based on my response, I am very impressed that you go into how the LGBT community fits into all of this, because I do think it has a place in the fight against sexism... The only thing I didn't like about it( the only thing) was that it was besides the point of the essay that you set out to write (presumably). GOOD JOB, and DON'T stop writing, friend. You are a pretty dang good writer. You're doing great.

Happy Halloween! And another belated welcome!

MissPhoenix says...

Hey Satira sorry I haven't got back earlier but thank you for this amazing review! I completely agree with your points- some of the information I put in wasn't necessary, etc. I will also try and make this longer as you said. Thank you again!

Satira says...

No problem, glad I could help :)

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