I’ve always been strong-willed and passionate about issues that I care about. Silence in the presence of something that is wrong or unjust is the same as endorsing it in my eyes. I think it is so important to utilize the voice that we have and speak up for the issues we care about. I think people often feel disconnected from issues unless it directly affects them, or they feel as if they don’t have a place in the fight. That’s a dangerous way of thinking because it allows more injustices to continue, possibly even to the point where people take them as normal occurrences. I’m not saying you have to walk around with a crowd of people holding up signs, but you can do SOMETHING. Not contributing to the injustices is a good start, and maybe then you can encourage others to do the same. I’ve never understood the argument that one person doesn’t make a substantial difference. When we’re talking about issues that affect people and this earth we live on, then any difference at all that is made should be seen as ssubstantialand important.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love dressing up for Halloween. What I don’t like is the cultural norm of encouraging girls to “dress like sluts”. First of all, dressing up as a costume of your choosing does not in any way lead to you dressing like a “slut”…I despise the word slut anyways. Second, the Halloween costume industry is another example of sexualizing females. I don’t really recall seeing “sexy” versions for all of the guy’s costumes. Wear as little, or as much clothing as you want for your Halloween costume. Just don’t name call if someone chooses to dress in a way that you wouldn’t. That’s their choice.
If you’re looking for a Halloween costume idea that doesn’t involve something super uncomfortable and impractical? Check out Huffington Post’s article on alternative costume ideas.
A clear and also common example of male privilege that you may not think about could present itself in the following scenario.
guy: *hits on girl
girl: “Sorry, not interested”
guy: *continues to hit on girl
girl: “Seriously dude, not interested”
guy: *..still trying
girl: “I have a boyfriend”
guy: *stops relentless flirtation efforts.
While not ever guy will simply stop unwanted advances towards a woman because she has a boyfriend, that is exactly what many do. Thankfully the unwanted advances may stop, but what bothers me is the reason they stop. It is not out of respect for the female’s lack of sexual/romantic interest in the guy, but rather the male to male respect that would create boundary lines.
According to RAINN, (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), 1 out of 6 women and 1 out of 33 men have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape. The site gives these facts on their page on rape victim statistics
3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
I wanted to put some statistics on rape up before I addressed the issue I have with rape jokes. The fact that there is even a category of jokes classified as “rape jokes” is sickening to me. Besides the fact that they’re not even funny, they can be very detrimental, even traumatic, for victims. I think that often times people make this jokes without even thinking about what they are saying. Most of the people I’ve heard make them certainly wouldn’t advocate in favor of rape.
Regardless of their intentions, these comments are still highly offensive. It’s the same principle as people saying “that’s so gay” when referring to something in a derogatory manner. In both circumstances words are being twisted to have a completely inaccurate meaning.
I do find it interesting that often times “rape jokes” are used to imply that the “rape” was an act of power over something. For example: “I just raped that test”. That statement actually reinforces that rape is about power and control, not gender or appearance. I mean how do you respond to a “rape joke”? Should I come up with an equally offensive and misogynistic response such as “What was the test wearing?”
There is nothing even remotely funny about rape. There’s plenty of other ways to express what you are trying to say that are much less distasteful.
It puzzles, and alarms, me that we so often times are tolerant of injustice. If you stand by and watch a bad behavior continue that is just as bad as contributing to the behavior itself. By remaining silent you are supporting that behavior. I’ve often heard the argument “It’s not my place to get involved”. Really? It’s not your fault to call someone out on a detrimental action towards someone else? If we all just act as bystanders then nothing will change.
I’m not saying you have to go start a riot every time someone says “don’t be a pussy” or “she looks like a slut”, but you can, at the very least, speak up about it. It’s not always an easy conversation, especially if you know the people saying those things. However, it helps no one if you stay silent. Sexist comments are so prevalent in many parts of society that people often times don’t even realize that what they are saying is offensive or derogatory. Taking the time and courage to speak up could completely change the way someone thinks as well as how they treat others.
The progress we have made towards gender equality in the workplace and societal perceptions in general has be encouraging. However, we still have a long way to go. As I’ve gotten older I’ve seen the difference of how society expects men to aspire towards and what women should aspire towards. I think that as women it is often assumed that we want to get married or that we want to have biological children. Some women may truly want those things and that is fine. I commend them for that. But what about the women that don’t want that for themselves?
Why is the thought of a full-time, dedicated woman in a demanding career so strange or taboo to us that we made up the term “career woman” for it? I’ve always heard women questioned on how they plan to balance a career and the role of a mother and wife. Men are rarely asked that question. It’s frustrating that with every possible occupation I’ve been interested in, I’ve had people ask me how I can have a good marriage or children with those things.
Maybe I don’t want those things. Maybe I do, but either way that’s a personal choice that I for myself have to make. No one else should assume that for me.
The message here is pretty clear and simple, but for some reason it seems to become complicated, especially in western societies. I think that there is an often inaccurate assumption that women choosing to cover up their bodies for religious, cultural or modesty related reasons must be suppressed in some way in order to do so. This argument completely skews one of the key feminist ideas…that women can think and choose for themselves.
That’s really what it is all about. Choice. It’s the choice to decide what you wear or don’t wear. It’s the choice to decide what set of moral or religious guidelines you follow, if you even choose to follow any at all. It’s the choice to have control over YOUR body and YOUR life.
You can’t just give women the freedom to choose then take it away because it’s not what you wanted or because it makes you uncomfortable. If women covering their bodies bothers you then I urge you to educate yourself…and also find something more important to worry about than a decision that doesn’t even concern you.