Feminism Podcast

Feminism

Garry Knight

This is taken from a protest in London in 2011 and was taken in June of that year.

Mel Ayala and Jaelyn Delos Reyes

Mel: Hey guys, this is the Feminism Podcast. My name is Mel…

Jae:…and my name is Jae.

Mel: And we are going to talk about what feminism is and is not,

Jae: So, our own definition of feminism would be individuals binding together to advocate for womens’ rights.

Mel: And we are going to disprove it right now…feminism is not about hating men! At least I know I don’t hate men.

Jae: We just want all genders to be equal, we just want to disclaim about all of the issues that us females have to deal with–or maybe even like, transgender females as well.

So, we have many different topics to talk about and one of them– the first one is the social standards of a female.

Mel: Oh, perfect.

Mel: And one thing I feel like is important to mention and a good thing to start with is… we got to stop shaming mid-size and plus-size women for not looking like Barbie.

First of all, and I want to emphasize more on the mid-size because…you got a little bit of fat but here’s the thing, just because you’re not thin and shapely like Barbie–Girl, you do not need to have that small of a waist to be healthy.

The whole standard itself isn’t healthy and the steps you go through just to fit that standard is unhealthy. We should be happy at whatever weight we are.

Jae: And social media just brainwashes society on how females should look like or how transgender women don’t look like females or how lesbians or bisexual women, like you know, will judge upon how they look like and it’s not right.

And not only that, cultural physical expectations fit in with body shaming as well.

Mel: So, I would say this, in my personal experience, you know, I come from a Latina household. I’m a Mexican woman.

My aunt, she likes to make fun of the fact that I don’t fill out my pants because I don’t have any back and that all my shirts look boxy on me because I’m flat.

And she just makes fun of the fact that I am thin and constantly compares me to my cousin who has…you know, more than me.

And then on the flip side, you know, you gain just a little bit of weight and they’ll be like, “You’re getting fat. You need to trim that fat.”

Jae: Dude-

Jae: Yeah and, I come from a Filipino family and they’re always telling me that I’ve gained weight so much. Especially throughout my four years of high school, I was in sports so I was always fit and now that I’m like, gaining weight, filling in my actual body frame.

My parents, my whole family is saying like, “You’re getting chubby, I’m seeing cellulite on your thighs, you’re getting a little bit fatter, your stomach is getting fatter.”

Jae: Like, it just hurts so much because at this point like, personally, I’m happy with my body but like, the people that I love and I care about are telling me that I’m–technically ugly. That my body is ugly.

Mel: Definitely. And you know, we are kind of…we are all brainwashed by these standards that they have set up for women, you know.

Especially, because here’s the thing– no one body is the same and again from personal experience, I have had friends, partners and family members say that I kind of look like a boy because I got… shoulders and well…I’m flat.

Mel: (chuckle) So, basically, they would all say that I look like a boy.

Mel: As a matter of fact, for quite a long time of my school career, I was hit with transphobic slurs. And here’s the real kicker…I’m not transgender.

Jae: Another thing that females deal with, with social standards is the expectations of how we should act.

Especially like, people are saying–men are always telling us like, “Why are you cussing so much? That’s unladylike.”

And I’m like, “Mind your business.” I have the freedom of speech, do whatever you want. Whatever.”

Mel: “It’s a free country and last I checked it’s not illegal for a woman to curse.”

Jae: Exactly.

Jae: And not only that, you and I have come from foreign cultures. And it’s…as a female, we’re always raised as the woman who is staying at home and always cleaning.

Like I know my dad, he’s kind of…kind of like back in the day, but not really back in the day where he wants the women to clean, always wants them to clean but at the same, he doesn’t realize that the women also work and it’s frickin’ exhausting.

And it’s important for the world to know that if you’re in a relationship, or if any man needs to know this, that it’s fifty-fifty–like, fifty-fifty work.

Mel: Exactly. You should not be having to– I should not be putting in more work than you are. Or let’s say, you know, I get it, some people are going to bring up the fact that, “What if I work and you’re unemployed? I get it, you know, like… help out. But at the same time, I should not feel like I’m doing more of the work and you’re doing nothing.”

Mel: See, here you go! Have each other’s back. Which is something–Which is kind of the basis of what we are talking about.

We don’t want to be at war with each other. We do not want another gender war, we’re trying to advocate for you know, the armistice of this gender war.

Mel: And uh, so, there are so many double standards like women shouldn’t sit like this or even–another personal experience of mine when I was a kid and even still now I get told that I have a really thick voice for a woman and, it’s like, well it’s just my voice.

But to sound more feminine I sometimes pitch it up. And that should not be the case because we are feminine even if we dress in guy’s clothes or we do “guy’s things.”

Jae: Dude…just imagine just talking like (clears throat) Hi, sweetheart. (in a delicate voice)

Mel and Jae laughing.

Mel: Just me and my customer service voice, “Hi, what can I get for you?” Like, “Hi, welcome in.”

I do not want to be a fake version of myself and– I’m pitching it up right now, excuse me. (laugh)

Jae: Anyways, and also another thing about women–what we have to deal with is that every time we–’cause us women we mostly talk from our hearts sometimes.

I’m not speaking for all but as for me, I know I talk with my heart sometimes.

And when I like to try to emotionally explain something to someone, other people like men or like transgender men or something they’ll be like, “Why are you acting that way? You’re acting crazy. Um, that’s not true.”

Like, they would just gaslight us. Gaslight on our feelings, on our emotions. Like, no.

Mel: I heard my father once tell me that women tend to be too emotional in things like that. But I’m like, um… well when you’re put in the position we are you’d be emotional too.

It’s like, what do you call getting angry? That’s an emotion, right?

Jae: (chuckles)

Mel: But, here’s the thing. We are entitled to our emotions, everyone is, we’re not saying just us women.

It’s being treated like we are impulsive, that we are irrational because we speak from the heart or we voice our grievances, our complaints. And men make us feel crazy for feeling the way we’re feeling.

Jae: (laughing) And again, we don’t want to just be like, “We hate this, we don’t like this, we don’t like that”. We’re not expecting society is going to change right away. Or genders are going to change right away. Like, it’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of frickin’ patience.

Mel: Gender discrimination, don’t even get us started on that. This is the whole reason that the feminist movement is a thing.

Jae: Mhm. Now, gender discrimination in work, in homes, at school, in public, even in the freakin’ stores or something. There is so much of that.

Mel: And an example would probably be like, for just gender discrimination say like, you want to get something that’s like, heavier set and be like “I got it” “Oh no, the lady should not have to do the work.”

I get it. Some people might say that to be respectful but at the same time, it kind of has that undertone of being, you know…undermining our abilities. Don’t underestimate us, we can try it and if we need help, we’ll ask for help. (laugh)

Uh, I could tell you this right now. With these shoulders, I could’ve very well been a good player for the football team.

Jae: (laughing)

Mel: But (chuckle)

Jae: (laughing) With these thighs I could lift 500 pounds.

Mel: Oh yeah, like I got these guns that I stole straight from Manny Pacquiao. (laugh)

Mel: Point being, that we can train just–to be even stronger than men, come on. A-trust me.

Jae: That reminds me, like, speaking of strength; I think women are like stronger than men.

Like, in reality, because one, we deal with period cramps. Two, we deal with PMS and not even that, a lot of women have PMS super bad, worse than others.

And we deal with child labor, we deal with like giving vaginal birth. We deal with like, epidurals and stuff like that. Like–

Mel: Constant body pains. You know…aches

Jae: Dude! I remember seeing like this Instagram video like, multiple Instagram videos. Where–I think this is like a trend–where the women would put like this muscle thingy and put it on the male’s stomachs and it would make them feel period cramps.

And it was, I think level three or four, they were already crying.

Mel: Yeah, I used to love like, imagining, “Huh…what if guys had periods?” They would not be talking sh–(laugh) They would not be judging women as much as they do.

Like, “Oh it’s just a cramp” It’s just a cramp? Yeah, sure buddy. Go ahead and try it for yourself, see how you like it. Having to pop the ibuprofen man.

Jae: But moving on from PMS, another thing that women have to deal with like, the whole government or whatever, and society is sexual harassment and one example we’d like to talk about is teachers harassing female minors.

Mel: So, even though faculty may take action, a lot of stuff isn’t really done. It’s kind of swept under the rug.

Uh, I remember in 2020–this was during COVID–um, there was a whole movement on Twitter from my school Downey High where people were sharing their experiences with teachers–mostly female students were talking about the experience being leered at by a teacher, teachers getting too close for comfort, and not respecting boundaries.

And I believe there was one extreme story from years and years back. A teacher who eventually married a former student.

Jae: What?

Mel: And apparently the relationship had been occurring while she was a student–his student–at Downey High and she was a minor.

Jae: I went to Norwalk high school and I was a junior and I had a physics teacher–I think everyone who went to Norwalk knows who this teacher was. But, I forgot his name. But there was this 25… 27-year-old lady.

She was a substitute teacher and she was I think substituting for an English class or whatever. But she was also a blogger. The physics teacher that I had–she posted a blog about him um…sexually harassing other females.

I don’t know her story but I remember–this was a while ago, I don’t know if I remember all of it. But because that blog blew up, he–I think he got fired.

And then, I didn’t freaking know that. My classmates had to be like”…yeah, Jae…he was being weird. He was being really close, he was being touchy, he was always flirting with the younger women.” I was like eww.

Mel: In sixth grade my own experience…um…math teacher…he…he used to stare at me a lot but I was like, “Okay, adults tend to do that all the time.”

I was always the best-dressed kid in school, okay (chuckle) and then I found out from former students who were friends of mine that he used to watch pornography on his tablet.

And he was not very conspicuous about it either. You could see the reflection of the screen on the guys’ glasses.

Jae: During class?

Mel: During class.

Mel: But then again, that was just alleged by a former student. However, I was inclined to believe it because many former students were saying he was kind of creepy, he got to close for comfort, would get in people’s faces, and just stare at the girls.

Jae: And another thing, about what females have to go through is safety. It’s so dangerous–Personally, I am a person who is starting to embrace her body growing up in her 20’s and I want to be that girl who dresses in cute clothes and goes out drinking with my friends.

Like, I’m so terrified to walk in the city of LA, go to a club and see all these guys who could possibly kidnap me or even rape me in the freaking street.

And not even that, if some woman or someone was to be raped and got pregnant there are certain states out there that banned abortion. And it’s like sad, what if the pregnancy could harm the woman’s body.

What if it could possibly lead her to death? There are abortions for a reason. Not specifically because “Oh, I don’t want it.” There are reasons.

Jae: Politicians don’t really think about that. They don’t have empathy for that shit.

Mel: They don’t. They tend not to really consider our side or how it’s going to affect us personally. You know…women can die during childbirth, you know. Which by the way, that scares me.

It scares–It’s scary to know that men are making laws on these bodies when they are not the ones experiencing this. They don’t have to raise the child, they don’t have to bare it.

I find that very, very, horrifying. And you know, a child’s birth is meant to be a positive thing, uh you know, it’s bringing life into the world right, but…when it’s at the cost of another it just kind of becomes a big problem.

And I can debunk the myth that it’s the clothes that cause us, women, to be harassed, raped and assaulted. I would be wearing things that are baggy and shapeless specifically for that reason because I take public transit to work and school.

I’d like to feel safe and normally I don’t feel safe because either way, I get people coming up to me, offering me cigarettes and offering me money in exchange for sexual favors.

My point is, clothes…like revealing clothes or no…it doesn’t matter. You will get harassed simply for the fact that you are a woman.

Jae: But, that is all for our podcast. You know what? For all the women out there, all I can tell you is to continue to love yourself. Listen to yourself, don’t take crap from anybody. And I know that women are already protesting abortions and stuff.

You know what, at the end of the day, we tried, that’s what matters. We tried and that will be written in history.

Mel: Not to quote Kacey Musgraves but “follow your arrow wherever it points.” Because here’s the thing, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Do whatever you want. You should not have to justify anything that you do for anyone.

Jae: All women are beautiful despite if you’re transgender, despite if you are LGBTQ–

Mel: –Plus size, anything. We should not be attacking each other, making fun of each other, we should be binding together to become stronger and become more united as a society.

Because like we prefaced in the beginning, we are not trying to continue the gender war or anything. We are trying to stop it or at least encourage people to be more kind, have some more insight, and have some more empathy on this situation.

Jae: Thank you guys, for listening.

Mel: Thank you for tuning in and listening if you made it this far.

Jae: I hope you guys enjoyed this podcast. My name is Jae.

Mel: I am Mel.

Jae: And see you guys later.

Jae and Mel: Bye!!