Guest Column: Why I’m proud to call myself a feminist

Because fighting for a worthy cause is nothing to be ashamed of

Annabel Weyhrich, Guest Columnist

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It seems a little ridiculous to me that women in 2017 are still fighting for equality.
But the struggle won’t stop when all women have equal pay. The conversation will only end when all women are represented and have their voices heard.
I want to point out, that as an affluent, white female, I have more privilege than those women who are also victims of racial and socio-economic inequality.
I cannot begin to understand these struggles, but I hope to add my voice to the conversation of equal gender representation, while not falling into the pitfalls of white feminism.
Since sophomore year, I have played in New Trier’s intramural basketball league.
The boys’ and girls’ trophies have always been a golden shoe for the first place bracket and a silver shoe for the second place bracket.
However, Junior year, the girls’ silver shoe was “improved” with a pink shoe lace, while the boy’s trophy remained the same.
We didn’t think much of the change, but it seemed strange to alter the girl’s trophy and not the boy’s.
This year when we walked into the championship game we were shocked to see a pink shoe that was awarded to the winner.
The most upsetting part of this whole episode is that I wanted to suppress my feelings, because while many girls echoed my frustration, there was an acknowledgment that nothing would change.
Honestly, having a trophy change color is not that big of a deal, but this is what normalizes gender inequality. Pink is an outdated representation of being female, and if we put the work in to win first place, I want a gold shoe.
About two weeks after the shoe incident, there was an Instagram posted to commemorate this year’s honored alumni.
The post is a collage of nine pictures representing ten honorees: eight men and two women.
After taking a closer look, I was astonished to find that they had chosen to duplicate the two women, whereas the men had individual photos.
To me, having multiple pictures of the same women intends to create a facade of equal gender representation.
While the gender inequality among honorees is disturbing on its own, to pretend otherwise is just not okay. In good spirit, and attempting to understand whoever runs the New Trier 203 account, I reached out to ask why they felt the need to misrepresent the gender gap.
I also reached out to the volunteers who run night league to ask why they changed the trophy color. I have yet to receive a response from either party.
In retrospect, these two events are not life changing. No one got hurt and no one’s rights were taken away, but the issue is that of normalizing inequality.
We all have to be on guard. I am certainly not immune. Just last week, I was asking a group of volunteers to help me solicit gifts for our senior class project.
I caught myself saying, “If your dad owns a business or has connections…” without thinking I immediately said dad because even I, a self-proclaimed feminist warrior, am susceptible to sexist assumptions.
When I speak out about these events, I feel like people are portraying me as a “typical feminist” who just gets upset by everything.
I feel that I have become some sort of joke in my class which delegitimizes the entire movement of equal representation.
No one should ever feel embarrassed to point out something they do not think is right.

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