Strength In Numbers


Maizie Montgomery

A photo of Jared Holyszko

Jared Holyszko, Pioneer High School sophomore, remembers when he saw someone retweet something related to feminism. “I guess that just sparked something within me to look further into [it],” he said. Feminism, like any other movement disagreeing with former norms of society, has great strength in numbers.

To Holyszko, feminism is exposing the strength of women, who are already strong, but often underestimated. “So it isn’t the empowerment of women, more or less the showcase of  a woman’s strength” Holyszko said. It is also a tool to showcase where women need more equality, for example, the wage gap. This is the term used to describe when a man and a woman have the same job, but the woman is payed less than the man because of her gender. As of 2014, it was found that women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 79 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 21 percent. Feminists continue working on making the wage gap smaller, until it’s equal. Holyszko explains how his openness to accepting feminism has to do with the quality of life where he grew up. “[In Ann Arbor I] was able to experience and witness many different things that most people normally wouldn’t be exposed to,” Holyszko said.

While Holyszko is understanding of the fact that not everyone will agree with feminist standards, he feels as if a lot of men and women don’t see feminism as what it truly is. Feminism is often mistaken for a group of man-hating, hairy women, which it’s not. Holyszko is trying to figure out ways feminism could be initially viewed by people as something positive rather than negative without them knowing anything about it. He is looking for a way feminism could have a more positive connotation, rather than its more frequently used negative connotation.

Another large problem feminist are working on is the media, it does a lot to perpetuate unhelpful stereotypes. These unhelpful stereotypes range from constricting gender roles, to the absurd beauty standards. Feminists ask who’s to say, a little girl can’t play with trucks or, a little boy can’t play with barbies. They also struggle with breaking down the ideal that all women must be no more than a size two, with curves only in the right places, like a majority of women in mainstream media.

After doing even more research Holyszko was “opened up to the racism and inequality in the world, [it] showed to me that there still is a lot of work [that] needs to be done,” Holyszko said. He was lead to intersectional feminism, which recognizes that certain groups of people have multi-layered facets in life that they have to deal with, such as racism, and sexism. This is when he realized that “[Feminism is] powerful and important…because it just doesn’t help women but everyone who needs support too,” Holyszko said.

A common problem with feminism is that it doesn’t coincide with one’s religious beliefs. Since Holyszko is Agnostic he believes people should be able to freely practice their religion, “it’s a great thing to have in life,” Holyszko said. His views coincide with feminism, he thinks everyone should be free to practice what they want and feminism allows people to do just that and feel safe.

Still today, there are many people who would consider themselves anti-feminists. Holyszko highly encourages people to further research and look into feminism and feminist values and goals. “I can’t name one thing about feminism that isn’t positive, it’s all aimed at trying to make life easier for everyone,” Holyszko said. Feeling so confident in feminism’s ideals, Holyszko even goes to the extent of challenging everyone to research feminism, he guarantees that you will find at least one thing that you will agree with.

Additionally, there are many males who disagree with feminism just because they misunderstand it. Holyszko advocates for feminism by proudly identifying himself as a feminist, “in hope that other men see that this isn’t a movement to make men less than women but to make things equal.” He said. Holyszko is also hoping to show women that men care and support what is trying to be done.

As feminism is more advertised, more people will recognize what feminism is and hopefully join the movement. Holyszko is one of many encouraging people to do this. Feminism fights for equality between genders, and maybe one day its standards will be upheld regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, and all varying factors throughout people.