The Future is Female; not to be interpreted to say men are the less significant gender, nor is it saying that women are the more significant gender, rather that women will no longer live in a male-dominated world. This phrase dates back to feminist movements in the 1970’s and has recently made a comeback in our society. Unfortunately, the phrases criticisms’ continue to withstand 5 decades of what was hoped to be progress. This shortcoming particularly came to the surprise a Guelph high school student. Erica Brown was recently stopped by a teacher about the phrase on her shirt. She received comments around the lines of, “How would it make the younger male students at the school feel?” and “Would it would be appropriate for a male student to wear a t-shirt with the slogan ‘The Future is Male?’” Unfortunately, there are still people in 2017 who don’t the understand the concept that is feminism. This ignorance towards it is the exact reason terms such as Meninism can justifiably be used both satirically and even legitimately at times.
I was perplexed upon hearing this story. I’d like to think that in our world today at the very least teachers would know a little bit about the pressing topics that are relevant to our society today. As I’ve grown and experienced the past three years of high school I’ve really gotten to see first hand in many teachers this is not the case. It’s disheartening to see that statements bordering hate speech are coming out of the mouths of our educators. Matters that currently affect students’ lives are the same things that teachers know absolutely nothing about. It’s definitely accurate to say that the younger generation is more tolerant and progressive. To support that I decided to conduct a mini-study and check in with a few of my peers to see their interpretation of the matter (their identities have been concealed for privacy purposes). These were their questions:
- What does The Future is Female mean to you?
“The Future is Female means the future lies with females being equal to men in all aspect.”
“To me, I believe The Future is Female is representative of the empowerment and need for women in positions of authority. Women are so often under-looked and treated differently. I believe that it is a statement that demonstrates how our generation of females feels empowered in our world.”
“The Future is Female can be perceived as both positive and negative. On the positive side, it’s an inspiration to young girls showing there is hope in the future. However, the definition of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of sexes” by having a slogan ”The Future is Female” it is no longer saying that in the future there will still be one superior gender. I believe her thoughts were in the right place however the slogan’s word choice might not have been the best.”
- How would you have reacted to the teacher’s comment?
“I would have told the teacher to come down to the office with me and talk to the principal about it.”
“If a teacher said these comments to me I would be obviously very upset. I specifically find it outrageous that the teacher said, “It may make your younger male peers uncomfortable.” I think it just demonstrates the inequality still in the present. A shirt promoting female empowerment is deemed to be unacceptable; that is just outrageous. I would be very angry if a teacher made these comments towards me.”
“I am a pretty shy person and am not good with confrontation. I probably would have changed and emailed the principal later to tell him/her what happened”
- What would you have done if you were the friend?
“I would have stuck up for my friends and told the teacher to back off.”
“If I was the friend standing there I would say something because I would want to stick up for my friend. This shirt is very important and promotes a vital message. I believe if someone tried to tell my friend her shirt was unacceptable I would be angry and stick up for her.”
“Once again, I’m shy and I probably wouldn’t have said anything.”
- What do you think should be done by the school?
“I think they should fire the teacher.” (for her blatant ignorance towards the topic)
“I think the school should explain how the shirt is acceptable and proves an important message. They should be able to explain how the school thinks differently than how the one teacher did.”
“I believe that the school should allow the student to wear the shirt, I also believe that she should write something explaining the meaning behind her shirt as it can be misconceived.”
As a WCI student, I see how both male and female students are different. Based off of what I know of my friends around me and from the students I asked, although not everyone has the exact same opinion, everyone is more conscious and compassionate. People think more and care about the impact on one another more. At the end of the day, ideas of feminism are supposed to strike the exact same opinion, rather than start a conversation, make you think, and make awareness. If there was anything be said about Erica Brown and her shirt, I’d say a conversation has been stirred.
To see Erica Brown’s Letter to the principal click here:
To see the original CBC story click here: