Acknowledging Sexism in the Real World (Class of ’19)

May 6, 2019


Photo Credit: Isabella Thorpe/Achona Online

Senior Theresa Tulsiak (third from right) says, “Academy has prepared us in the way that we know our worth and we know when we aren’t being treated the same. We know how to stand up for ourselves. We know how to fight the fight and to persist through the pain because no matter what, we will always be optimistic and know our values. Academy has made us prepared for entering the real world.”

Dwelling in a bubble of society where female empowerment is not only highly encouraged but expected, Academy girls undergo a transformative experience throughout their four years as the obstacle of gender equity in schools seems to fade into the oblivion. The thought of living in a sociey where feminist ideals are not prevalent gradually becomes unfathomable.

Nevertheless, the senior class will no longer attend a school with merely unconventionally individualistic and ambitious women. College presents itself as a new chapter for students due to the autonomy they receive; for the seniors at Academy, attending a school where not every student has had the exposure to the beauty of sisterhood and female leadership throughout their high school careers is an additional stepping stone in itself.

An all-female environment benefits students since the competition does not rely on those implicit systemic gender signals. According to the National Education Association, girls have more endorsement and ease when dabbling in nontraditional subjects, such as math and science, when male dominance is not evident. For example,the STEM program, an integral and recently well-established component of Academy education, has made strides in emboldening women to participate in male-dominated studies. Furthermore, women who graduate from these single-sex institutions radiate through their unwavering confidence and unparalleled determination.

Dr. Lauren Oetinger says, “Over the past four years, you guys have learned to be assertive in your interpersonal dealings, you’ve learned to face confrontation with one another, and that will serve you well when you go into a co-educational environment.”

However, the topic of gender equity in colleges does not translate into female subordination in a patriarchal system where men reign over all women-in fact, it does not mean that at all. There is undoubtedly a dire necessity to evoke a discussion on protecting women from gender discrimination on college campuses and defining womanhood without a tinge of degradation. Yet if women strive for equality of the sexes, they are consequently required to empower men. Male subjugation combats the entire philosophy of feminism.

Teaching men to respect women’s minds and bodies is essential to societal progression, but it must be done in a way that safeguards manhood and empathizes with the average males who have insecurities and wounds yet strive to become compassionate and confident men. By permitting these men to be vulnerable while also comfortably residing in their inherent masculinity, women can then invite men to join the conversation of female empowerment without either sex fearing whether their worth is being diminished.

As strong-willed and exceptional Academy women, my class should live to cultivate a world in which the opportunities availed to women and men-whether it be by careers or interpersonal relationships-are not limited by gender and societal stigmatization.

“The goal is to empower men in a way that allows for the constructive building of culture so that equality is possible; it needs to be a true equality that gages the way men are treated and the way that women are treated,” says Oetinger.

We neither relinquish our power nor monpolize our power when we strive for it to be equally shared among the sexes. Academy has done a phenomenal job of molding my classmates and I into authentic women of inegrity and vigor, and we should honor our unique education by working to pave the way to fair opportunities for sexes economically, intellectually, and emotionally.

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