RONZONE: The ideal girlfriend?

Raquel Ronzone

The proof is in the recent research. According to a report on ScienceDaily.com on Oct. 16, 2007, in heterosexual couples, men involved with feminists reported healthier, more enjoyable relationships than those involved with non-feminists, crushing the stereotype that feminist women are homosexual or otherwise incapable romantic partners for men. A separate study released on MSNBC.com on March 6 dismissed the prevailing notion that men want to serve as the primary or even sole breadwinners in their households: men were content with and supportive of their cohabitating female partners who earned more money than they did. Surely, society has reached a degree of unprecedented egalitarianism between the sexes. In that struggle for gender parity, however, a self-destructive form of competition among members of the female sex has erupted.

It was natural for me to join a campus organization when I came to Villanova. For the first time, I was able to pursue an interest I had developed in recent years. Reluctantly, I will admit that, as a freshman, I was also hopeful about the sense of camaraderie the group promised. Opportunity and the prospect of belonging enticed me, and I eagerly began a semester-long commitment.

In retrospect, I experienced more longing than belonging and felt discouraged and insecure because of the women of the predominantly female club. I sought connection only to receive criticism. The identical rank and experience between other members and myself was insignificant; our comparable service and dedication to the organization were meaningless. In their eyes, my differences from them were my deficiencies, and their similarities with each other were their skills.

Throughout my 19 years, I never felt entitled to anything – especially not the approval, encouragement or friendship of other women – based on my XX chromosome structure. Still, I have consistently expected tolerance among all of my peers. As male and female college students, we have progressed from puerile mentalities and adopted more mature ones. At least, we should have. When I recall the incidents that transpired, I realize that the women passed judgment, belittled and excluded without warrant. Conversely, and to my great astonishment, the men never did.

A man or woman is not exempt from receiving rightful reproach from anyone. Likewise, he or she is not beyond showing and earning respect. Some modern women, though, are all too willing to disparage without justification, an inclination that has nearly reversed the years of progress in gender politics. Abhorrently popular among young females, this devastating trend has caused illogical divisions within one group. Women possess an undesirable duality of roles as victims and oppressors in this so-called age of empowerment.

Consciously or subconsciously, some women of my generation have distorted the mantra upon which they were raised: the ability to do anything has become the pressure to do everything and be everything, regardless of the casualties. To them, respect and parity with other women are afterthoughts, and acquaintances exist for self-advancement, not collaborative work. Madeleine Albright, the first female secretary of state, once appropriately remarked, “There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.” Her words, though harsh, are relevant in this context because those women are essentially manipulating each other with the same tactics that their progressive, feminist ancestors fought so earnestly to erase from the minds of men.

While the headlines suggest an increasing fairness between the sexes, personal narratives relay the destructive, self-concerned strategies employed by some young women. Reverting to those dated mindsets and behaviors overshadows the overall progress made throughout the years. Aware of our current standing, we – yes, both men and women – must contemplate our future.

Equality is entirely feasible, not impossible, and we must prioritize it accordingly. This is not an incitement for radical social revolution. It is simply a declaration of the truth: we must wholeheartedly accept our responsibilities for social justice. Regardless of the impediments, we are fully accountable for continuing the pursuit of egalitarianism in order to secure a more harmonious society.

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Raquel Ronzone is a freshman from Philadelphia, Pa. She can be reached at [email protected]