By Ria Patel
Artwork by Hallie Anderson
St. Mary’s has never made us feel any less than capable world leaders-to-be. From I Am That Girl to the Rosie the Riveter posters in teachers’ classrooms, our school has instilled in us the values that we can overcome anything that the outside world throws us. Our community empowers us to be strong young women and not to be limited by our gender. However, it has not always been this way.
For centuries, women have been suppressed in society. Throughout history, they have had fewer rights than their male counterparts, been unable to work outside the home and been prohibited from attaining a higher education. The feminist movements dating back to the late 19th century have made progress towards ending sexism.
One of the most popular phrases of the modern feminist movement is “The Future is Female.” The slogan is said to have originated through Hillary Clinton’s supporters for her candidacy for president. The catchphrase was meant to show U.S. voters that Clinton could very well be the first female president of our country and that the future would have many female leaders as well. Actually, the phrase was first used by a lesbian activist speaking about female LGBTQ+ rights in the 1970s.
However, as the phrase grew in popularity, so have its critics. Social media blew up with comments deeming “The Future is Female” sexist towards men and an example of toxic feminism. People were outraged that the slogan implied that the future could only be considered female and excluded those who were male, transgender, non-binary, etc.
A similar event happened with the “Black Lives Matter” slogan. The term “Black Lives Matter” was first used in 2013 with regard to police brutality against young, black men and quickly became a major movement. The catchphrase was immediately met with backlash with critics claiming that it was racist against every race other than black.
However, to me, the phrases “The Future is Female” and “Black Lives Matter,” look like words of empowerment rather than discrimination. These slogans represent a step in the right direction.
Megan Aslin (10), who often sports “The Future is Female” merchandise, states, “The phrase ‘The Future is Female’ definitely comes off as man-hating, and I can see where that comes from, but if you really look at the root of the phrase, it’s not coming from a place of hatred.”
Aslin explains that the phrase is meant to show that both genders can have equal opportunity in leadership and that bringing women up does not necessarily mean bringing men down.
Sadhi Ganguli (11) says that she supports both the phrases “The Future is Female” and “Black Lives Matter.”
“Race is a more sensitive topic; people get really emotional about it,” Ganguli says. She believes that it is about the point of view that one chooses to take on each phrase. “When you can step into someone else’s shoes and see their perspective, things shift.”
Ansley Skipper (11), more skeptical about these phrases, asserts that “gendering of the future either way is unfair.” Instead, she offers an amendment to the phrase that she thinks would make the slogan less controversial. “Too,” she adds. “I would feel more comfortable if there were a ‘too’ at the end.”
The Future is Female too. Black Lives Matter too.
When people open their hearts and try to understand the world in new contexts, America makes progress toward equality.
And maybe, just maybe, we can too.
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