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International Women’s Day sparks discussion on shifts in gender roles

District Staff
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Written by Leila Scott, Photos by Jordan Petteys

Today, the world is celebrating International Women’s Day. SCAD’s student body is comprised of over 65% female students, 14% being international. Representing nearly 100 different countries, international students bring unique roles and customs to SCAD’s diverse cultural climate. We asked five female students how their roles as women have changed since moving to America and how they may shift once they begin their careers.

Daniela Aguirre holding pearls from her hometown.

Daniela Aguirre, senior in industrial design, is originally from Monterrey, Mexico. “Culturally in Mexico, men do the work and the girl stays at home and cooks, so I have always had that in mind,” Aguirre said. As graduation nears for Aguirre, she discussed what the Industrial Design industry entails for women. “Industrial Design is a career that’s mostly considered for men. If I think about designers that are woman, successful, and known in the industry there are only four and that’s it,” Aguirre said.

“You need to know who you are as a woman and stand your position because if this is happening in school, it is going to happen in the industry.” Aguirre hopes to represent her country and fight the stereotypes of being a Mexican woman.
Lina Yoo from Daejeon, South Korea.

Lina Yoo, sophomore animation student, is from South Korea. Since her move to SCAD, Yoo has experienced change when it comes to stereotyping and shaming women. Yoo explained that Korean women tend to be more conservative with their clothing and that she feels pressure to cover up in Korea. “In Korea they hate feminism, especially men. Here, there’s more support.”

“When I was in Korea this summer, I could tell they were judging me for my makeup and the way I dress,” Yoo said. “Here, that’s something that people like about me.”
left to right: Chen Wang from Xi’an, China, Yuanyuan Long from Beijing, China, and Di Lou from Huangshan, China.

Roommates Chen Wang, graduate in graphic design, Yuanyuan Long, sophomore in graphic design, and Di Lou, graduate in animation, discussed typical female roles in their cultures. “My mother is a department officer in a hospital, so she was the one who worked and my father did the housework,” Long said. The three agreed that this was a common trend for Chinese woman. “I think the role of housewife is more common in America than in China,” Wang said. Lou and Wang agreed saying, “most of the time both parents work.” Since moving to SCAD, they have felt more freedom to speak comfortably. “The topic of free speech is sensitive in China. We can’t go over certain books that discuss Chinese policy, but here if we talk about China and the professor says something that’s not right, I can correct him,” Long said. Wang followed and explained that she’s able to be honest with her professors here.

“America is a multicultural country so there’s less judgement, but in China we have traditional ideals with clothing, hair, and makeup. In high school our hair can’t be too long, short, curly or straight. It has to be natural. Girls can’t wear makeup, earrings, or nail polish,” Long said. Wang followed, “Also, in China we can’t wear low tops like Americans do. We can wear anything here.”

These SCAD women are just a few of the many that create unity between women with diversity. Celebrate Women’s History Month and support #BalanceforBetter. Click here for more information about International Women’s Day.

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