This is all over the (some) news (outlets): Duke Students in a class on Women in the Public Sphere took on one of my favourite things to gripe (yet do nothing) about: People who don’t want to use the word feminist to describe themselves. Here’s the Tumblr that resulted, bringing up some really excellent talking points, particularly in light of the frankly baffling political goings-on in the U.S. This kind of thing gives me (some) hope that upcoming generations may not be completely hosed.
That having been said, a Tumblr isn’t going to solve the U.S.’s woes. We’ve all got problems. Women around the world have problems. Here are some that have come to light recently:
1. In the U.S., Santorum may be out, but anti-abortion groups are backing Romney in droves. Apparently, Obama is the most pro-abortion U.S. President ever and MUST BE STOPPED. What, is he telling every pregnant woman in the country that they have to terminate their pregnancy? Good heavens! And Arizona gets more awesome because now it’s decreed that pregnancy begins two weeks before conception. So, I might pregnant already, right, even though I’m in a dry spell? Who knows what the next fortnight may bring!
2. In Malawi, Joyce Banda, from what I can see an all-around awesome lady, is the new president! But she admits that helping women in her country is going to be exceedingly difficult (perhaps increasingly so) because of the rise of religious fundamentalism and a push for privatisation by the men in government. Sound familiar? She’s a total bad-ass though and I wish her and her supporters the best. This is exciting news.
3. In Egypt, the new government has decided to try to revoke a woman’s right to divorce, with other, unfavourable-to-women legislation expected in the near future. When a deputy on the parliamentary Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee says ‘These women do not understand Islam and the importance of being a wife and caregiver for the family’, there is a big problem.
4. In Indonesia, the government wants to regulate the length of women’s skirts. For their ‘protection’, obviously. Nevermind that it was the Religious Affairs Minister who proposed this, or that the National Commission on Violence Against Women said ‘Data on rapes show that they don’t correlate with how the women dress.’
5. In Uzbekistan, to keep the population down, the government has decided that it’s AOK to remove women’s uteruses without their consent.
6. In the U.K., female Muslim activists face threats of violence for trying to advocate against honour killings, force marriages, and other violent and demeaning ‘traditions’.
(I could go on, but apparently I have a job that I need to go to.)
We all need feminism. And feminists to champion not just women’s rights, but human rights generally. Don’t be quiet and temper feminism with apologies, or reluctance, or anything.
And men, if you care about any single woman on the planet, then you should be thinking about what life is like in their shoes. We are all human beings and deserve to be treated not as property, not as victims, not as irritating, whining, non-men who are less important than y’all are.
(Weakest call to arms ever. I do kinda throw like a girl too. Zing!)
Edited to add a link to a previous entry on Feminism.