Boys go to Jupiter...

#97

Boys Go To Jupiter…

In elementary school we're taught that girls are different from boys. That, depending on your gender, "boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider". In middle school we're taught that boys are supposed to be assertive, strong, independent; masculine. Girls, on the other hand should be empathetic, sensitive, fragile; feminine. Now in high school, as I am taking in the culture around me, not just taught by teachers or my peers, I am starting to realize the distinct social disparities between men and women. That people value a pretty face in a woman over an educated mind. When I realized that by the time I got into a career that I still won't be paid equally to a man I am identical to qualification-wise, I was angry. I am still angry. Although we've come a long way from times before, women are still seen as less than men regardless of their education, skills or degrees. I, as a youth, am not taken seriously. I have done my homework on the challenges that women face and I am still not taken seriously. This has caused a partial roadblock to my graduation because I've realized that once I get to college and out to have a career, no matter how hard I work, I will always be seen as less than a man.

This year I joined an extracurricular program called FLOW (Future Leaders of The World), which is a program that specializes in advocacy and civil engagement amongst youth. My mentor is Jake Streeter. Not only is Jake incredibly funny and hip to the times, but he's helped me channel my emotions into creating a speech about what I care about; the hypersexualization of women. As a result of his help with presenting my speech, I won 1 place at the Soapbox Speech competition and repeated it at an awards ceremony for MyCom. Jake has been a part of the program longer than I and has impacted many students. My American Graduate Champion is Jake Streeter. He has contributed in giving me the opportunity to have a voice by listening to my concerns as well as investing his time and energy which is more than I can say for most other programs.

Gender inequality is a worldwide challenge that doesn't stop just because I wrote a speech about the tiny fraction of how it's impacted my life. My anger about this challenge is not gone, just focused in a positive way. Society should be angry about the injustices women face on an everyday basis and not angry at someone for having the guts to speak up about it. Because of Jake3 I am now more inclined to speak up about this challenge and I am able to do so in a professional way instead of getting angry, insulting and acting impulsively like I did prior to my experience with FLOW.

After graduation, I plan on pursuing higher education to become a neurosurgeon and a women's rights activist. Being a women's rights activist does not mean hatred towards men. It means we should respect both equally. Mars and Jupiter are two different planets and we can see the good in both. You can be pro-Mars while not being not anti-Jupiter,just like you can be pro­woman while not being anti-man. Throughout my life there has been this unspoken stereotype that men are better at math and hard sciences while women are better at reading and liberal arts. I want to help end that stereotype. I see a lot of women as nurses and even doctors but when it comes to higher educated careers such as surgeons or even chemists and engineers; it seems that women are highly outnumbered to men. This disparity is significantly larger when including minority women like myself. I, as a young black woman, want to be someone that people can look up to. I want young black girls to see that if I could do it then so can they. My top universities are Spelman and Howard. As a junior in high school, I can't apply but I am looking into scholarship opportunities and college visits.

This experience has changed my perception of goal attainment because I now see that goals aren't as clear cut as I thought. When I was younger, I had goals along the lines of finishing homework on time and washing dishes before my mom got home. Simple enough. But ending gender inequality? Not so much. Jake has taught me that injustices are not easy to fix, but change is initiated when voices are heard. My ability to succeed has improved because I understand that just because something may not be fixed as quickly as you would like it, doesn't mean it isn't w.orth fighting for. I can use the lessons learned from him to help pay it forward by educating others on the topic when I become a women's rights activist. I understand that the gender disparity will not end as much as I would like it to in my lifetime, but if I can make life for women just a tad bit easier I will have succeeded in my goal. I want future women's rights activists to not have to work as hard as I do for equality as a result of my contributions. Mars and Jupiter are two unique planets, but we must remember that they're apart of the same solar system. Men and women have their differences, but at the end of the day, we're all human.

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