The passion, persistence and profound protests happening across the country are made up of those who fight for an urgent topic in America right now: feminism.
The day after the presidential inauguration, men, women, girls and boys, all across the country, marched and chanted their way through cities and towns, raising their voices (and signs) in support of equality for females. By exercising their political right to assemble, citizens sent a strong message to the new administration that women will not fade into the background of this country. Women will not earn $0.79 to men’s $1 for the same work. Women will not be told what they can and cannot do with their bodies.
But what is feminism exactly? Feminism is “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” Feminism is believing that men and women are equal. Feminism is fighting for the better treatment of our daughters, mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers.
So if feminism is all about inclusion, why are we leaving others’ daughters and mothers out? Why are we not acting like feminists? Do we have it all wrong?
It is no secret that animal agriculture in this country, land of the free, is a profitable business. We love eating meat! Corporations know this, so they must churn out chicken nuggets, lean beef and bacon at the pace of … well, track star Usain Bolt. Something must happen, however, for production to increase at an exponential rate, and this “something” has a huge effect on mother cows, daughter chicks and grandmother chickens. (Spoiler alert: It’s not very feminist.) Corporations, under the pressure of high demand for meat, turn to artificially impregnating mother cows in order to get the milk they produce during pregnancy. Mothers are milked up to three times a day. When the baby calf is born, however, these factory farms can’t have the baby taking all of the profitable milk away from them, so the calf and mother are usually separated within hours of birth. This process repeats in a cycle until the mother becomes labeled “useless,” unable to make these farms money with her milk. Mothers are then shipped off to slaughter. What happens to the baby calves, though? Well, if born a girl, the calf will become trapped in the same cycle as the mother, constantly pregnant until deemed useless. If born a boy, the calf will be slaughtered for veal.
Chickens are no exception to an unfulfilled life. Cooped up in a battery cage, mothers and grandmothers get, on average, about the size of a piece of paper in which to live their lives! One egg, two eggs, three eggs, four eggs, five eggs later … until these ladies can no longer produce eggs. These mothers then face the same reality of mother cows: the slaughterhouse. After a life in a cage (or walking around in their own feces in a “cage-free” warehouse), these mothers go under the knife.
As a woman, daughter and sister, I will never stop sticking up for my fellow women. I feel a deep connection to the women in my life and everything they have taught me. The feminist movement is about many things, one being acknowledging females as more than objects; however, these feminist ideals are not being applied to females outside of our own species, so it leads me to question: Why? Why are these female animals being used for their products and then discarded like trash? Why, if we believe in the equality of men and women, are we using these animals for all they’ve got, like objects? Why, as feminists, are we not outraged by this treatment of our animal sisters? We include women from all races, ages and countries in this compassion spectrum but are leaving out a vital category: species. Doesn’t that make us hypocritical by picking and choosing what gives a life value? As feminism rises within our nation at the start of 2017, maybe we should ask ourselves whom we’re leaving out when we call ourselves feminists.
Lia Hyman, a senior at Cheltenham High School, is a singer, musician, athlete and advocate for women’s rights/animal rights.