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Children's Health Channel
Reported November 9, 2012

Never Too Young! Third Wave Feminists

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- First, we fought for the right to vote and own property. Then, the issues turned to sexuality, family and the workplace. Now, women are joining a third wave of feminists. 

The battle for equal rights continues for women. Leading the charge: third wave feminists -- teenagers who want to make a difference.
 
“I think a lot of people think feminism is dead because the issues are not as prevalent, but I think people are just not looking,” Sariel Friedman, a 16-year-old feminist, told Ivanhoe. “Feminism is taking a different shape.”
 
“Feminism looks like everyone,” Maliaka Taylor, a 17-year-old feminist, told Ivanhoe.
 
“People say, ‘Oh you’re a feminist, so your anti-men,’ but that’s not what we are,” 
Meredith Hess, a 16-year-old feminist, told Ivanhoe.
 
“Bra burning. Bitch, bitch, that’s a huge one,” Friedman said. 
 
“We are not anti-men. We just want to raise the issue and question these inequalities. We need to change it,” Hess said.
 
These teens are fighting for equality. They’ve replaced burning bras and protest posters with the Internet -- reaching millions with a touch of a button.
 
“It’s taking on a new persona. It has a new face and new way of delivering the message,”
Emilia Delgado, a 17-year-old feminist, told Ivanhoe.
 
The same technologies used to disrespect and demean women are being used to raise awareness for them. A main concern: the media. American teenagers spend 31 hours a week watching TV, 17 hours listening to music, three hours watching movies, four hours reading magazines, and 10 hours a week online. They are inundated with images of who and what they should be.
 
“One of the biggest problems is over-sexualization from a very, very early age in every kind of media a girl might see,” Delgado explained.
 
“Women are growing up not knowing who they want to be because they lost their identity as a girl, and they feel like they have to conform,” Jenny Sim, a teen feminist, told Ivanhoe.
 
Even the women who have made it to the top cannot dodge sexism.
 
“It’s really interesting that all female politicians get asked who’s at home taking care of the baby, but none of the male politicians get asked that question,” Friedman said.
The latest numbers show women earn on average 82 percent of what men in the same position earn. That number is down to 65 percent for personal financial advisors, 80 percent for female surgeons, and 80 percent for police officers and lawyers.
 
“If we have unequal pay, then we are unequal. I’m sorry,” Friedman said.
 
While working to close the gap, these teens will also face the same problems their mothers and grandmothers faced. Will they change their name when they get married?
Will they choose a career over kids?
 
“I don’t think I’m going to have to make that choice. I think I can compromise between the two things. I think times have changed,” Sim said.
 
They’ve changed so much that one young man is part of his school’s feminist club.
 
“I can’t sit back and be idle. It’s not OK for me to leave it up to the women to fix this problem. What I’ve learned, is when women feel equal, everyone benefits,” Alejandro Argueta told Ivanhoe. 
 
“Just by the nature of being a woman, they should be a feminist. If you’re not a feminist, if your pro-sexism, then you’re basically a bigot,” Friedman said.
 
“You can be a shorthaired Asian like me and still be fantabulous and glamorous,” Sim said.
 
Smart, independent and courageous -- a good motto for the third wave.
 
According to a study out of Occidental College, at age 7, the same number of boys and girls want to be president. By 15, a massive gap emerges. This month will be history-making for women in politics.  A record-breaking 154 women will be on the ballot, vying for a place in the U.S. House of Representatives.  In the Senate, women could hold as many as 25 seats.
 
 

 

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