California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Changing the Face of Feminism

    Women face a pay gap in nearly every occupation, especially women of color. According to NPR.org, women earn up to 77 percent of what men earn.

    Dr. Peter Carlson, assistant professor of religion, the director of gender studies, and adviser of  the Feminism Is club, said he is appalled at the fact that women still don’t have a very basic right such as equal pay in comparison to men.

    “This is not a time for being self-effacing when we’ve just had the equal pay act not passed in Congress because apparently they don’t think women should get equal pay for the same job that men get.  That our federal government is not willing to enact that law, this is not the time to be self-effacing wall flowers,’’  Carlson said.

    Carlson doesn’t know why the whole country isn’t up in arms about this and writing to Congress.

    Sophomore at California Lutheran University and the Co- President of the Feminism Is club, Emily Witt, said she believes it’s something that will be corrected very soon.

    Witt has another concern other than the wage gap.

    “I want to make a distinction between the wage gap and compensation gap cause compensation not just includes the money you make but also the benefits that come from that job. So that’s what is really lacking. It’s not just the pay but also the benefits that come with it,” Witt said.

    A feminist is a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of sexes. Kacy Cashatt, a senior at Cal Lutheran as well as former president of the Feminism Is club and current active member defines it in her own words.

    “I just like to think of feminism as equality,” Cashatt said. “It brings us to par with men.”

    Dennis Arteaga, a senior at Cal Lutheran, who is also the treasurer of the club, gave his own view on feminism.

    “It’s about equality, treating everyone the same, no one is better than anyone else,” Arteaga said.

    “One of my favorite descriptions of feminism is our definition of feminism is that feminism is the radical belief that women are people. It’s radical because they are not treated as people,” Carlson said.

    Witt also has her own definition of feminism, which is trying to put a stop to stereotypes and patriarchy that all people are kind of forced to live she said.

    Feminist and feminism still have a negative connotation in society and media. Feminist are considered man-haters or shrill women. At least that’s what Dr. Carlson has witnessed.

    Cashatt feels very frustrated that feminists carry such a bad image in the public eye.

    “People are definitely afraid of being labeled feminist. It’s like a dirty word,” Cashatt said.

    Witt believes the term feminism comes with a lot of baggage which the media has done a fantastic job of making feminism look like a bad thing.

    Carlson said people are scared of the word because he believes people think feminist means “man-hater.” He said he hasn’t met a feminist who actually hates men.

    “Don’t be afraid of the word. Words are powerful things and don’t let other people determine what their power is for you,” Carlson said.

    Cashatt said she thinks people have the belief that feminism aims to raise women above men, which couldn’t be further from the truth. She just wants equality for all people.

    Carlson said he believes that anti- feminists fear that if women are accepted as a whole person, somehow that’ll make them less of a person.

    “When you come into the world with a penis the world favors you, it really does. The single biggest problem for men is they do not understand that they come from a place of privilege,” Carlson said.

    According to Witt, feminism is not just for women, it’s also for men.  Men also face crazy social standards like women do.

    “Being effeminate, being emotional, are womanly traits so if a man is that way then they’re  being equated with women and that’s the ultimate insult we can have in this culture,” Witt said.

    Arteaga said the men who reject feminism fear being perceived as weak. He said men who are feminist are sometimes perceived as either gay or are supporters of feminism to pick up girls.

    “Feminism is the belief that we can work together regardless of who you are, what your body parts are, what you feel you are, how you identify. That you can work with each other and support each other,” Cashatt said.

    Carslon said as a gay man, he feels the need to stand in solidarity with other people who experience systematic oppression, which made him a feminist.

    Carlson said he has close models of powerful women around him, and  if  things had truly been equal, knew they could’ve rocked the world.

    Witt is trying to make a difference at Cal Lutheran. She wants to get rid of all the ridiculous societal standards all genders fall into, and that’s why she joined the Feminism Is club.

    “Feminism is something that has a bad name generally and we’re trying to bring awareness that it’s not a bad thing,” Witt said.

    The Feminism Is club is also holding the Vagina Monologues on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. The Vagina Monologues are written interviews conducted with   over 200 women of all ages and backgrounds.  Each monologue deals with a different aspect of the feminine experience.

    It’s also to raise awareness of gender violence among the female population as well as for female individuality empowerment.

    The members say everyone is welcome to attend and participate in the play.

    Wais Naizi
    Staff Writer
    Published February 11, 2015