Ladies, women, girls, females… it has been an interesting month for women’s rights, and I don’t mean that in a positive ‘I’m jumping for joy’ way.
It recently came to my attention that 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head for speaking out for girl’s rights. Although this attack has been condemned by officials, I seem to be reading about cases of the negligence of female rights more and more. While some of these cases are not as violent as that of Malala, they are still highlighting a gross and rampant abuse of femalehood; of our bodies, our rights and our freedom to make choices without fear of patriarchy.
Only in the last several weeks has a huge story been emerging in Great Britain, of the now notorious broadcaster Jimmy Saville who has been accused of numerous cases of abuse. What I found especially gross about these allegations is that this has lead to further allegations of people knowing these disgusting acts were taking place, and chose instead not to act. (To put this in perspective for US readers, Jerry Sandusky, anyone?)
It also emerged that on Reddit, a sub-forum had been created where “users posted covert photos they had taken of women in public, usually close-ups of their asses or breasts, for a voyeuristic sexual thrill.”
Finally, as I was doing the rounds on Tumblr, one post stood out among all the others. Cosplayer Beautilation, also known as Mandy, attended New York Comic Con dressed as Felicia Hardy (aka Black Cat). While Black Cat’s costume has undeniably been designed to be provocative, I was still maddened at her account of men’s responses to her portrayal of this character. What is even more inappropriate is that when she was interviewed with what initially seemed to be an interest in her cosplaying skills, she was asked: “Well let me ask you an important question then… what is your cup size?”
So what’s the point of all these instances of feminist rage? It’s not simply to infuriate other women as I have been infuriated. While it is a justified response to these instances of violence, harassment, abuse and disrespect, we can do more than get angry at the male perpetrators. This is a rallying cry to women.
You CAN act out against oppression.
At the age of eleven, I can’t recall knowing what the word ‘feminist’ was. Malala Yousafzai, at the age of eleven, was writing a blog for the BBC Urdu website from a girl’s campaigner/girl’s rights POV. This proves that it can be possible for females of every age and every background to find a way to speak their mind.
Going back to the cosplay frustrations of Mandy, she exclaims:
“Do not be afraid to speak up if you feel uncomfortable and to let the person doing it know that they are crossing the line. Don’t keep quiet because you’re scared of what they might say or think – because if you say nothing, they will continue to see what they’re doing as OK.”
I shudder at the thought of bringing a young girl into a world where we are taught to have to think of a man’s response to our actions before acting or dressing or speaking. I don’t want to raise a daughter who will be oppressed and angered and frustrated by the things I fight against today. It is never too late to act for positive change and for gender equality. I don’t want women to be placed on a pedestal for being women – I just want the same rights as every man out there. Whether this is the right to have an education or the right to wear what I want without fear of lewd remarks from arseholes, I want them. I want the same respect as a man and, focusing on the articles above, it looks as if we are some time away from this. Until that day, expect me to keep writing and acting against the injustices.
Will you join me?
Share your moments of feminist rage in the comments below and how you plan to fight the good fight. I’ll see you there!
Written by Becci Yare