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Hullabaloo


Monday, May 21, 2012

 
Why we fight: feminist edition

by digby


I hope all girls and women who are feeling psychologically embattled in the ongoing challenge and assault on their personhood and autonomy will have a chance to read this inspiring cri de coeur. It's all good, but this struck me as especially important to understand:

If you were not powerful, they would not take you so seriously and they take you very, very seriously. You should, too. You can set the world on fire.

It doesn't feel this way, I know. If that were true, you think, I would not have to sit out baseball games out of respect for religious beliefs that require my subservience and call it a gift. I would not be turned away from serving God with my brothers. I would not be taught that I'm an evil temptress or the virtue keeper of boys. I would not have virginity wielded as a weapon against me and my worth determined by my womb. I would not be spat on and called a whore by men when I am eight because my arms are bare. I would not be poisoned for going to school. I would not be forced, at the age of 9, to carry twins borne of child torture. I would not have to kill myself to avoid marrying my rapist. If this were true, they would pursue my rapists instead of stoning me for their crimes. I, and thousands others, would not be killed for "honor."

Girls, these things happen because there are men with power who fear you and want to control you. I know that I have equated relatively benign baseball games with deadly, honor killings but, whereas one is a type of daily, seemingly harmless micro-aggression and the other is a lethal macro-aggression they share the same roots. The basis of both, and escalating actions in between, is the same: To teach you, and all girls subject to these men and their authority, a lesson: "Know your place." ...


I get a fair amount of criticism for worrying about the "first world" problems of women with their "contraception" obsession and their "choices" when there are people being killed around the world today at Americans' hands, so I found this instructive and illuminating.

I think it's probably ok to be concerned with more than one thing at a time. I'm concerned about the people being killed at the American government's hands, whether it's innocent families in Pakistan or innocent citizens being electrocuted for failing to comply properly with a policeman's order. And a whole lot of stuff in between. I suppose it's probably inevitable that everyone prioritizes some things over others. You're not going to please everyone.

But it must be noted that the alleged first world "trivialities" of American women and the second class status of women all over the world are connected in a very basic and fundamental way. And it's a problem that faces more than half the population of the world to one degree or another. I think that's important too.


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