Neil Sandhu is a biomedical engineering senior and Mustang News opinion editor. The views expressed in this column do not reflect the viewpoints and editorial coverage of Mustang News.
I’m a pussy.
At least that’s what I’m sure a few people will call me for writing this piece. It seems as though there is a slur for every identity that is perceived to be self-hating: an African American who doesn’t presuppose that they are oppressed by the majority is an “Uncle Tom,” a caucasian who chooses to recognize their own privilege is a “cuck” and a man who identifies as a feminist is a “pussy.” So sure, call me whatever you want. But understand this: There are more reasons to be a feminist than self-hatred, or even altruism. In fact, one of my strongest pulls toward feminism stems from an entirely selfish motive.
I want to live in the best world possible simply because I’m selfish. I want my life to be enriched by the organizations and bureaucracies that we trust to run our society. I want the fastest computers and the most steadfast judicial process. I want the richest food and the most durable phone. The only way I’m able to obtain any of these superlatives is if every position is filled by the best possible candidate. This is currently impossible.
Women are overlooked from a young age. It isn’t always malicious and it isn’t always on purpose, but it is undeniably systemic. You know the drill: boys get Legos, girls get dolls, and suddenly when they grow up, women make up 48 percent of the workforce, but less than a quarter of the STEM field. Now, the stalwart defenders of capitalism will argue that our society has moved toward a meritocracy and that is partially the case. Some employers focus purely on ability and no longer overlook potential employees for immaterial qualities such as tattoos, dyed hair, or you know, being non-male. But this has yet to translate to a statistical equivalence between genders in the workforce, hiring pool or even schools.
On Wednesday, women across the country walked out of their jobs both in solidarity with each other and in protest of the system that takes them for granted. Productivity grinded to a stop, the Dow Jones Industrial average dropped and some ignoramuses claimed these provocateurs were holding the economy hostage.
Now, before you cry “havock” and let slip the dogs of war on these protesters, remember this: women are missing from the workforce every single day. Every day, we are held back because we are unable to choose the best candidates for jobs. Every day, we are forced to settle for the second or third or seventh best choice because the other six spent their childhoods being told they are pretty instead of smart. Every day, I am deprived of a better electric car, or more a sustainable irrigation plan because women are overlooked at every level of our economic system.
I am not a man-hater and I’m not quite sure how being a feminist turns me into a “pussy” but I am almost certain I’m not one of those either. I simply want the best for the world I live in and myself, and that necessitates that I demand equality for women.