Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Equal Rights are Equal...Right?!

(Photo credit to associationsnow.com)

One of the subjects I'm doing this semester at uni is Foundations in Gender Studies. Thus far it has been the most interesting and passion-inducing subject I've done in my degree.

Although my major is Philosophy and the unit I did last year on Mind, Meaning and Metaphysics was right up my alley, there's a whole new level of interest when it comes to things like women's rights and equality.

During the last tutorial, one of the girls in my class brought up a point which she'd heard from someone else saying that equal rights could never really be equal because men and women suffer from things that the other doesn't have to deal with.

It doesn't matter what side of the fence you're on when it comes to rights, you can't really argue with that logic.

I'm very passionate about women's rights, although not in the same league as some of the women I've read about or seen in the movies and clips that are shown in the lectures. I think and believe that a woman's body is her own to do with as she pleases. The idea of someone else, namely a male dictating what a woman should or shouldn't do with her body is baffling and potentially sickening.

Why should a man get to decide what a woman does? He's not her and she's not him. I mean it's fair enough if you're in a couple and one person's decision affects the other, but if it's something that really doesn't, then it's just about control and that's not healthy.

We discussed the topic of abortion given that it's the week's theme and also a controversial subject in itself and the tutor asked everyone for their input about it.

Personally, I'm pro-choice. I think if a woman falls pregnant and isn't ready to or just doesn't want to have a child, it's her call as to how she proceeds. As someone whose life was controlled by a lot of different people and left to feel helpless and suffocated, the last thing I'd want for a pregnant woman is to be in that position.

One of the points that was mentioned a few times during the class was that no one WANTS to have an abortion. Aside from the painful side effects, you are ending a life even if it's not with form or feeling yet. I can't think of any person who thinks on that kind of experience with happiness. In a lot of cases that I've heard of, it's because of economic issues, the mother's health is at risk, or they just don't think they're a capable parent. When you put all the reasons together, not that they should ever need one or have to justify their decision to anyone, but would you rather than have an ill mother with no money and resentment towards a child attempting to raise one which then puts more pressure on the government systems already in place, or would you prefer that she do what she feels is the best thing for herself, and terminate?

Another point that was mentioned was, what if the foetus that was terminated was going to be someone great, a famous composer or scientist? I'm a big believer in everything happens for a reason and when the time is right, so if a terminated foetus was going to be something great, either it won't be able to be terminated, or it will be born at a better time.

I think the biggest issue when it comes to abortion is the lack of comprehensive sexual health education. I speak from my own experience when I say this. Mine was completely baffling and I learnt more from talking about it with friends and reading or watching things than I ever did at school. To be fair, my school was also strict and religious. I get the impression that the only reason we were given any kind of sexual education at all is because it's part of the curriculum.

The more young people know about sex and the consequences, the better prepared they are to make decisions for themselves and their futures.

Of course it was mentioned that surprisingly there's more older women going to get an abortion than there is teenagers.

Admittedly when it comes to other issues such as equal pay for equal work, I haven't been in an environment where I've been affected by it so much.

I'm also not terribly well versed on men's rights given that they've always had the upper hand in almost everything so the focus has been put on fight for the females.

When it comes to things like domestic violence, I think it's incredibly important for anyone who's been a victim to come forward, as hard and scary as it is to do so.

Just because there's so much more emphasis on women doesn't mean that we don't care about men. That's equal, right?!

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