Friday, August 14, 2009
Check out "5 Reasons We Still Need Feminism" on the Sirens Magazine website. I could easily write "50 Reasons We Still Need Feminism," but the five reasons they listed were certainly enough, which included the rape crisis and reproductive rights being in jeopardy. But just for some extra material to shove in the faces of folks who claim that feminism is dead and useless, here are my five reasons (in actuality, reproductive justice and the rape crisis would be on this list, but since Sirens already covered it, I'm trying to do something different).
1. Equal Pay Remains a Myth. Although we have laws to protect our right to fair and equal pay, a wage gap still exists. In 2008, women who were full-time wage and salary workers earned about 80 percent of their male counterparts' salaries. And the numbers are even worse for women of color. A core feminist belief (especially within Marxist Feminism) is that women cannot achieve liberation without economic independence. As long as women still continue to struggle with poverty, many have no choice but to depend on men for survival.
2. LGBT People Are Still Being Treated Like a Lesser Species. As long as people still exist who believe that same-sex marriage will lead to the apocalypse and will corrupt our children, gay people will continue to be stepped on by bigoted heterosexuals. Keith Olbermann once asked while addressing same-sex marriage opponents, "What's it to you?" Opponents of equality are selfish and ignorant people who envision a world with legalized gay marriage as a doomed world. To me, the scarier world is one in which over half the population in a state votes in favor of hatred instead of love, churches are performing fake exorcisms on frightened young people, scientific evidence is ignored for the sake of continuing harmful and medieval tactics, and entire groups of people who have done nothing but step into a gay bar are targeted by a terrorist group that wishes to poison them. In comparison to all that, love and acceptance doesn't sound so bad.
3. As High as the Rape and Violence Rates Are Here, Women Are Being Abused Even More Abroad. If you are a woman in the Middle East or in Africa, you have a shitload to worry about. Perhaps you were forced to live underground after surviving a rape because your family was so ashamed of you that they kicked you out, or maybe you have no choice but to undergo genital cutting, in which your clitoris is cut or removed or your entire vagina is sewn shut to ensure that you do not experience any type of sexual pleasure until you are forced into marriage. Or maybe you live in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where you constantly have to worry about you or your daughters or your sisters or your friends being raped endlessly and left with unwanted pregnancies, STDs, or a torn vagina. For these women, I'd say feminism is pretty damn important.
4. Racism is Alive and Well. Let's play a game called Don't Jump the Gun, in which we try with all our might to avoid declaring racism "dead" because our country finally allowed a black man into the White House. Because when said black man is still the target of racist attacks, like comparing him to a witch doctor or a "magic negro," or is targeted for an assassination by white supremacists, I think it's safe to say racism is still pretty active. And let's not forget when for the 45340598390534th time a black man was targeted by cops, and our black president defended him, he was ripped a new asshole by right-wingers.
5. Society is Laying Out the Narrowest of Paths for Our Children. Little girls play with dolls, and little boys play with trucks. If the opposite occurs, the little girl is taunted and called a "tomboy," and the little boy is called a "sissy" or a "fag." Shouldn't our children have the right to express who they are and choose what they want to do, as long as they are safe? In a perfect (see: feminist) world perhaps, but in our society, don't even think about it. Most major toy websites still have "boys" and "girls" sections with "gender-appropriate" toys that condition young boys to grow up to love violence and sports, and girls to grow up cooking meals and playing dress-up. A feminist's task is to break down these stereotypes, until finally a young boy can play with a Barbie doll without being teased by classmates and reprimanded by nervous parents who fear the boy will grow up to be (GASP!) a homosexual. Such restrictions harm children in the long run by forcing them to stifle their interests and talents if they do not fit the norm.
What are your reasons?