Are We Really Equal?


Men and women are—supposedly—equal in the workplace. There is no longer a voting barrier, nor a significant wage gap, nor a societal clothing restriction. So on paper, it seems as though men and women live as equals. In regards to the world, we are equal, aren’t we?

Not really.

What about our school, on a local level? Schools are still a workplace, for students and for teachers alike, but we lack equality within our schools. At Edison High School, our female team room is half the size of the male team room:  “The boys have at least double the amount of space as us, and it’s not fair because we have just as many teams as they do,” said cheerleader Mikayla Terranova ‘22. With the recent expansions our school has gotten, why hasn’t the inequality of team rooms been addressed? Sports hold great importance in our Edison community, and a large part of the contributions come from our female athletes. The standards to which we treat them should not differ from the standards we present to our male-only teams. 

Furthermore, we have shows that are purposefully designed to include men and exclude women. Mr. EHS, at a first glance, appears as a comedic show where students get to watch a bunch of guys dance, show off their talents, and compete for a title. But, underneath that facade lie the deep routes of misogyny. Why don’t we have a female based show? Last year, we included everyone in Mr. EHS and called it “Best In The Nest,” but that show had historically lower viewings than we’ve ever had for a show of Mr. EHS. Maybe this was due to the online platform and a messed up school year, but it just seemed like no one cared to watch a show that had both females and males in them.

So, men must have been part of the draw for people to come and watch the show. If the draw of the show is having males participate, and people do not wish to see it when females do as well, there is obviously a larger problem at hand here: the subtle misogyny and lack of equality within our school.

And it’s not just our school: each school likely has similar experiences of inequality between male and female students, and each school is a representative of the world at large. If students are going to school and receiving an education in a building that fails to treat them equally, they will take these learnings to the world at large, just continuing on the cycle of inequality between sexes. 

The standards to which we treat them should not differ from the standards we present to our male-only teams.

Now, we are all back to a somewhat normal school year. But news about “Best in the Nest” is nowhere to be heard. Why? We’re back to only holding Mr. EHS. We’re back to tradition. A tradition that excludes the females in the school, without offering them the opportunity to participate in a similar event. Why don’t we have a Ms. EHS? The format of the show could be the same, and it could run parallel to the men’s event. Or, why not continue “Best in the Nest?” This format broadened the scope of the show and introduced inclusivity. “It would be nice to give the senior girls an opportunity to participate in an event like Mr. EHS. We’re graduating and want to celebrate our last year to the fullest extent,” said Zoё Jones ‘22. Traditions may be important to Edison High, but if those traditions work to exclude, should they be continued?

Of course, our school does have some female-led events, such as the upcoming Powderpuff flag football game. Even though this high spirit event seems encouraging to break the walls of gender stereotyping, it only emphasizes them. Starting with the name itself. “Powderpuff” refers to a cosmetic product used to apply makeup; this has nothing to do with football. Why do we need to bring the ideas of vanity and appearance, both issues used to target women, onto the field?

During Powderpuff, the boys, who would normally be on the field, take to the sidelines to cheer. This distinction works to further emphasize the gender role exchange. Girls are playing the “boys” sport, and boys are playing the “girls” sport. In a time where we want to get rid of such preconceptions, and open ourselves up to a more inclusive society, how can we maintain stereotyping traditions such as this? Unfortunately, this sexism may be too deep rooted to create any change now. Powderpuff, at the very least, allows for female Eagles to participate in a fun event meant to celebrate them. Any alternatives to rid the game of sexism, such as adding male players, may take away the importance it was created to have. We’re stuck. 

Ultimately, regardless of the progress that society has made over the decades to combat sexism on all levels, there is much work to be done. Sexism is a mindset that has been long ingrained within the world as a whole, and today, most of these stereotypes and judgments come subconsciously. Hopefully, by recognizing these sexist traditions, we can eventually change them to create a better future.