March 8 is Women’s Day, so in honour of half the world’s population, our latest issue is the “Gender Issue”! We’ve got an array of topics related to gender – from gender identity to sexist languages and LGBT issues, and everything in between.
Read our latest issue here.
It’s still a sexist world out there
This may be 2021, but issues we see locally and abroad make us think twice about our progress as a gender-equitable society. In Asia, gender roles are starting to become more equitable, but there are still barriers like glass ceilings (p.13). Sexism at work is nothing new – but the remarks about women talking more at meetings by a Japanese official last month simply highlights sexism that stems from the lack of understanding based on outmoded stereotypes (p.09).
Even as we advance with AI technology, it’s proven harder to remove sexist elements – as AI ‘learns’ from human inputs, it’s inevitable that it’ll also learn to adopt human biases (p.14). Then again, AI is also programmed by learning human languages – and we all know that the English language is baked with sexism, with words like ‘man-kind’ or perceived gendered roles like ‘house-wife’ (p.11).
The fight for gender equality goes on – and it would only help the cause of feminism if men were empowered to be feminists too; contrary to popular belief, it’s not about tipping the power in favour of women (p.08).
On gender identity
The recent attention on a transgender student made us all look into Singapore’s past and current stance on the issue of ‘gender’ (p.02). Of course, the concept of ‘gender’ isn’t as binary as ‘male’ and ‘female’ and the concept of sexual orientation isn’t as clear cut so we should actually try to understand them (p.03). Fans of K-pop would be more familiar with the idea of gender fluidity, with notable stars like G-Dragon being the poster child for gender neutral styling (p.04).
Even in the animal kingdom, the familiar gender roles we all know are a bit more complicated in some species of animals (p.16).
A relatively new word in gender terminology is ‘femmephobia’ which is basically a fear of the feminine – we see it almost everywhere, and yet don’t take its implications, ranging from rejection to violence, seriously (p.06).
Why do we often get pink for girls and blue for boys? It’s all part of our cultural priming, whether we’re conscious of it or not (p.10). It’s the same for the food we consume – how many of us are guilty of associating steaks and burgers with ‘masculine’ and salads and yogurts with ‘feminine’ (p.15)?
This gender association is also probably the reason why we judge both men and women on different grounds – usually it’s the women who’re judged more harshly. For examples, you only have to look in the K-pop industry – when girl bands show skin, they’re branded as ‘trying too hard’ but boy bands who flash their bodies are adored (p.05).
Clearly we have a ways to go to achieve a world without sexism and outmoded patriarchal ideals, but at least we’re making headway.
To read these stories, read free online here. You can also access all our past issues for free!
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