The Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc. on Tuesday hosted the “F” Word, an event devoted to discussing feminism and double standards during Women’s Herstory Month.
Senior Liza Papageorgiou and junior Anaiis Gonzalez led the discussion. The event began with a viewing of multiple video clips portraying double standards in today’s society. The first video was a Pantene commercial that demonstrated how unfavorably people often label women. It featured women and men being described differently for performing the same action. While the men received words like boss, persuasive and dedicated, the women received words like bossy, pushy and selfish. After the video, many attendees agreed that this problem is evident in real life, especially among females themselves.
“We were never raised to be equal with anything or anyone,” Marlie Hernandez, a senior at Montclair State said, adding that women are in constant competition with each other, which is why women often try to tear one another down.
The next video was a Dove commercial that showed what people think it means to throw or run “like a girl.” When people asked the males and older females in the commercial to run or throw “like a girl,” participants were comically weak and flimsy with their dramatizations. When younger girls received the same question, however, they tried to demonstrate strength and competence. Once the video ended, the discussion centered on how society views athleticism and women. People unanimously agreed that society does not expect a woman to be extremely athletic, something that Gonzalez said is especially evident at the Olympics, where female athletes face constant scrutiny based on their performance level.
“To be that good you have to be a man,” Gonzalez said, referring to the attitudes toward exceptional female athletes.
The last video was a film by Vinil Mathew for Vogue India. The clip featured adults scolding young boys for crying, claiming that “boys don’t cry.” The video eventually led to a man hitting a woman. The video ended with Madhuri Dixit stating that society teaches men not to cry, but should instead focus on teaching boys to not make women cry. After the video ended, the discussion focused on how men in various cultures are expected to be stoic. Currently if a man is sensitive, people often associate him as being gay or weak, as sensitivity is often considered a feminine attribute.
The next portion allowed people to share their opinions about the various double standards. These included double standards for clothing, age, physique, makeup and sex. Many people expressed that society was headed in a more positive direction. For example, when students were discussing whether or not it was acceptable for men to wear makeup, many attendees believed that it has become more normal, especially among male celebrities.
“I think it’s changing,” Gonzalez stated. She, like many others, believed it was no longer taboo for men to wear makeup, though most people agreed that the makeup could not be noticeable.
Still, many of these double standards are still strongly ingrained in people’s minds. For instance, students agreed that women are constantly scrutinized for their bodies. They believed that women are either scrutinized for being natural or for being fake.
“It’s always a lose-lose situation with women,” stated Hernandez.
Students found the discussion both comforting and enlightening. When asked what she hoped people would take away from the event, Papageorgiou stated, “I hope that people will be made aware of the double standards that go on in today's society and I hope that that will one day change.”