GIRLSWEEK

Often I feel like a spectator watching people perpetuate a culture that contradicts my values. I’m Gen Z, I am living in an era where everyone is embracing equality and counter-culture, and it’s amazing. Day after day people are becoming more and more comfortable with the term “feminist.” For me, I have always identified as a feminist and have never been “too scared” to use such a label, but I understand that it’s a serious issue for some people to identify as a feminist because it seems so severe. The idea that this “counter-culture” (in quotes because how radical of an idea is equality?) is becoming an exponentially more prominent part of society is so powerful and provides such an optimistic viewpoint on the future. The only issue is that I witness more and more how this evolution into a feminist and positive culture is not always all-encompassing. We’ve progressed a long way, but there must be a reason why I introduced this article by defining myself as a spectator to contradictory values sweeping over everything women have been working towards for decades. For example, my favorite show is Good Girls Revolt, and my favorite pod cast currently is Girl Boss with Sophia Amoruso. On the podcast, the guest of the week was Jessica Bennett, journalist for the New York Times and author of “Feminist Fight Club.” She elaborated on how the concept of the “Feminist Fight Club” as an overarching concept came to be. As a journalist, even in the 21st century, there is the consistent issue of inequality based on gender in the workplace. One thing that really impacted me on a deep level about her experience was that one of the places she experienced the obvious differences between male and female journalists was at Newsweek, which is the fictional newsroom “News of the Weeks” that the Amazon show Good Girls Revolt is based on. The historical context behind the fight for equality at Newsweek is that in 1970, the female employees of Newsweek sued for gender discrimination in the workplace, leading to a surge of female journalist protests throughout Time, Sports Illustrated, and the other influential publications of the time. Jessica Bennett talks about how she started the “Feminist Fight Club” as a routine meeting place for women to talk about the adversities they are facing while providing resources and strategies to advance as a professional woman. The full-circle connection between the Feminist Fight Club and the women of Newsweek in 1970 is the underlying presence of an inequality in the workplace that is so deeply rooted in professional culture. Whether it’s intentional or not, there is a tendency for men to be valued over women in a professional setting. Women that stick up for themselves in terms of asking for promotions or standing up for what they believe in are describes as pushy or bossy.

Especially with journalists and television correspondents, some people don’t even focus on the content being conveyed by the female journalists. In order to even catch the attention of some viewers, female newscasters have to focus way more on appearance than would ever be expected of their male counter-part. When people say “Oh I don’t like that newscaster”,” or someone along those lines, sometimes it’s not even related to the content, but rather their appearance or the vibe their exuding, which is directly related to the fact that many people in our society place a negative connotation on powerful professional women, because they’re just “too much.” The issue with the double-standard is that women are restricted in the workplace in many ways. One significant way is that it requires so much more for women to be taken seriously in the workplace than men. Male bosses can decide that they don’t like a female subordinate because of what they’re wearing, or because they come off as too bossy. In my opinion, bossy shouldn’t always be a bad thing. I don’t really find it insulting if someone is saying that I get the job done and care about being motivated in what I do. There is a japanese term for girl boss called sukebanwhich is essentially a female equivalent of a bancho which is all-encompassing of this sort of badly perceived mob of delinquent girls, but is also a very serious vessel for there to be a kind of comical but also an impactful inclusion of powerful girls in media. The issue that we need to be consistently addressing is why professional, motivated or successful men are conveyed as “inspiring” but the same kinds of women are described as “emotional.”

Emily Blake