To the Editor:
Being a young woman is hard. My whole life, I’ve known that women aren’t treated the same way as men. People use different adjectives to describe us and our abilities. Different tones. Different levels of understanding and concern. I’m not expected to do as well as my male colleagues, both mentally and physically. The other day, my teacher told the class that the push-up test was “harder for girls.” We all just accepted this fact: that because we’re female, we “probably” won’t be able to do as well as our male classmates. Never mind our levels of various athletic abilities; our gender makes the biggest difference.
Although my teacher may have had an alternate meaning for her words, and stated as plainly as it was, it tells me and my female peers that for some reason, we’re expected to be weaker. Every single day, I receive little reminders like these of how women are inferior to men. It comes in the unconcern the general public has for female sports; this idea that my male friends have in their heads that they can’t wrestle with me because I’m too fragile; a slightly sexist joke that my teacher uses in a lesson; the fact that my male relatives talk to each other about matters such as fishing, businesses and the community, and each time I attempt to join the conversation, they quiet down. When added all together, they send a bigger message: that women in mind, body and spirit are weaker. Do you know how much this affects us? As little girls, we may not be able to put these feelings into words, but we already know that the world sees us as inferior. We grow up knowing that we’re not going to get as good of a chance, that we’re going to be treated with less respect and expected to not do as well. Why am I telling you this? Think about your mother. Your sister. Your daughter. What can you do to make this world a better place for them?