Yesterday, there was huge commotion around changing the crossing silhouettes from male to female.
Some people loved it; raving about huge steps for gender equality and challenging unconscious female bias.
Others thought it was stupid; citing huge issues surrounding viability and costs.
I will say this, that on International Women’s Day – women deserve so much more than a silhouette which flashes red to stop, and green to go.
And I often wonder how many more symbolic gestures need to be given before we realise that symbolism never truly contributes to real progress.
Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Indigenous community was merely symbolic.
Asking for Australia Day’s date to be changed was simply symbolic.
And Arsenal’s faux-sistency at finishing 4th every year cannot mask their consistent failure at breaking the upper echelons of Europe.
People know the difference between honest empathy and bullshit.
Instead of spending money on flashing lights – focus should be on why women need to pay a 10% GST on sanitary goods which are necessities.
Focus should be on (in some countries) having paid parental leave to support families.
Focus should be on compelling companies to bridge the gender wage gap.
If women can do a job as good, or better than a male counter part, it is only logical that they are paid accordingly.
For me, doing the right thing is always the right thing.
You treat people how you would like to be treated.
And in that way, feminism starts at home.
How fathers treat mothers.
How Brothers treat sisters.
How Uncles treat Aunts
How we talk to each other.
Engage with each other.
Listen to each other.
Today’s new age feminism is like everything else – a misrepresentation of issues.
One time, someone yell’d at me for holding the door open for her.
Said I was a misogynist for assuming that she couldn’t hold it open herself.
(I hold doors open because I believe it is polite – but whatever)
It’s radical outbursts like that, where some aspects of society are reluctant to engage with feminism.
But every movement, every belief has its extremes.
But let me make it clear – if you believe in equality for all, then you’re a feminist too.
You just also don’t mind holding doors open for others.
Ryan Cheng is the founder of The 88, and is passionate about telling stories surrounding travel, culture and identity.
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