Why is it necessary to prove the need for feminism? Because far too many people of all walks of life think it isn’t needed, or that it’s a bad thing. Cases in point: the following 2 conversations that occurred on facebook. I’ll let them speak for themselves.
(Click on images to enlarge)
So… enough with the explanations of why, let’s get to it.
- Obama caught flak for making a comment about Kamala Harris’ appearance. I know, I know you’re thinking: “You want us to take feminism and the need for it seriously and you’re starting with *THAT*?” Ok, so here’s why it’s an issue. For many of us, our encounters with sexism feel a little like Chinese water torture (a slow repetitive drip of water on your forehead until it drives you insane). One drop is not a big deal, but when it’s part of a constant drip, drip, drip that you can’t stop… Anyway, there actually is a study showing that any discussion of a woman’s appearance (whether negative or positive) affects her chances of running a successful election campaign. So, it matters. It also matters that the main reactions to the outrage over Obama’s comment was: “Good god, it was just a compliment!”, “You know, it’s possible to be *too* PC?”, “Lighten up!”, “Get over it!”, or any number of other variations of dismissive sentiments. That’s part of the water torture too – first women encounter examples of sexism every day of their lives, and then when we try to point that out, our opinions and experiences are dismissed as ridiculous or unimportant.
- A judge overturned the ban on the sale of Plan B emergency contraceptive to girls under the age of 17 who don’t have a prescription for it. This is a victory for women’s groups in the US who have been working for 12 years for this decision. No decision has been made as to whether or not there will be an appeal. Notably, the judge was a Reagan appointee, so we’re not talking about a liberal judge here. Also notably, this decision is a slap against the Obama administration since they were the ones that ignored their own agency’s recommendation to do this back in 2011.
- A 17 year old girl in Nova Scotia committed suicide after being gang raped and then bullied for a year and having the authorities decide there was not enough evidence to lay charges in the case. I have both too many words and not enough to say in regards to this. Since there are a plethora of articles regarding this story already and sure to be many more in the coming days, I’ll leave it at that.
- It’s just come out that police are looking for 4 women who allegedly sexually assaulted a 19 yr old Toronto man. Yes, you read that right. Of course, this is a feminist issue (for those of you who are asking), it’s because of patriarchy that male victims of sexual assault are often too ashamed to report it. If they do report it, they are often not taken seriously or they are mocked, just as this man has been.
- Margaret Thatcher died. Despite being the first female Prime Minister in the UK, she was outspokenly anti-feminist and promoted only one woman to her cabinet in her entire 11 years in power. Still, there is plenty of sexist flavour to the celebrations of her detractors. “Ding dong, the witch is dead!” was probably the one I heard most often. Yes there are sexist/misogynist left wingers out there. Just a reminder to everyone, gender descriptors should not be used as epithets. If you dislike or disagree with a person, you should not blame it on their gender, anymore than you should blame it on their race or their appearance or anything else wholly unrelated to their personality, beliefs and/or actions (presumably those are the reasons you actually dislike them).
- It’s Sexual Assault Awareness month. Additionally, April 3rd was “International Day Against Victim Blaming” and April 7 – 13 is “International Anti-Street Harassment” week. So, all in all, I picked a good week to start writing this feature. Here are some links to resources and information on all 3 of these awareness campaigns.