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Op-Ed: Gender discrimination works both ways January 30, 2007

Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, equal rights, gender discrimination.

A student from North Dakota State University sent this Op-Ed piece to us.  We included it as it discusses sexual equality in today’s society.

By: Cheryl Childs

Last semester, columnist Ron Johnson’s column on the “Got Privilege?” display generated quite a bit of feedback from readers.

Johnson wrote,”I think women in this country shouldn’t really complain that they don’t have equal rights as men. They are offered more opportunities here than in any other place in the world.”

Several of the letters to the editor said that even though women have it better here than elsewhere, it’s still not fair that women don’t have equal rights.

I disagree with that sentiment.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe women should have the same rights as men.

The thing is, though, we already do.

Women have the legal right to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, truck drivers and pretty much any other career they desire, provided that they, like the men, do the necessary work to get there. I, as a female, have never felt discriminated against based on my gender.

Yes, my gender does have to contend with stereotypes, impossible ideals of beauty and portrayal in the media as being moody, irrational or ditzy.

However, I don’t think we have much right to complain. At least not just about our own lot. Men have it just as bad as we do.

In divorce cases, the mother is more likely to get custody. When doing research for an article on the Shared Parenting Initiative, I heard several stories about men who didn’t get custody of their children even though they were decent, hardworking, honest men who just wanted to be involved in their children’s lives.

We have a women’s week here at NDSU, as do many other universities. Very few, if any, universities have a men’s week.

In sexual harassment cases, it seems to me people are more likely to believe an account of a man sexually harassing a woman than they would if it were the other way around. Some of the information pamphlets about sexual harassment I have seen word it in such a way that it sounds like it only happens to women.

And what about men’s portrayal in the popular media? In shows like “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy”, the plot revolves around an unrealistically brain-deficient father, a highly intelligent (or at least highly sensible) mother and their children.

If it were a bimbo mother with a genius father, the public would scream sexism, but with the current setup, most viewers just think it’s hilarious.

I’ll admit I watch those shows and I like them, but I have a problem with the idea that it’s okay to stereotype men as beer-guzzling couch potatoes with barely enough intelligence to function, but it’s a cardinal sin to portray women in a similar fashion.

I think it’s good that so many people are trying to get women’s issues out in the open, but the same needs to be done with men’s issues.

When women complain that the media expects them to look like the latest ultra thin supermodel, they should remember that men have body builders and multimillionaires to live up to.

When health groups raise awareness of breast cancer and reach out to women who have to deal with this devastating disease, these groups should remember it is just as devastating to have prostate cancer.

When employers try to combat workplace sexual harassment, they should make it clear that it’s just as wrong for a woman to do that to a man as it is for a man to treat a woman that way.

True equality comes only when all parties have equal rights and can legitimately share their concerns. Let’s not let either gender suffer from inequality.

C.a.r.d {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: The Spectrum

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