International Women’s Day: Why we march!

What’s today? International Women’s Day and in some places, it’s also “A day without a woman” day campaign/march/protests.

I wasn’t going to post anything today but like always, anything regarding woman’s rights is hit by a backlash of women and a backlash of men complaining, “what exactly are women still fighting for when they are nearly as equal as men” or “they’re all just a bunch of whiny privileged girls”.

This always comes up so let me get it out of the way before I continue: “Yes there are women who are bad people. So yes there is an equivalent of the same people, personalities, and occurrences that I’m going to describe about men for women. No I’m not taking sides. The fact of the matter is, for centuries and still now, regardless of how many rights women have, they are still the lesser counterpart regardless of how well YOU personally treat them. This doesn’t make it unimportant, it just means there’s more to be done; your support still matters!”

Now I’m not a woman’s rights activists or a spokesperson or a researcher or a historian but I have a brain and can see why women are still peeved about having basic human rights or ACTUALLY I should say, they are peeved about having R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Because a struggle for rights, regardless of what your background is, it’s not just about rights, it’s about understanding, support, and respect.

wads

These images above were old ads from around the mid 1900s. Let me help you see what’s wrong with them: the 1st talks about women being some sort of servant, slave or trainable animal to do everything a man tells her to do; the 2nd talks about a women’s place being at home, serving the husband; the 3rd puts women at the base of a man’s shoe; and the 4th sexualizes a little girl. But these are old right?wads2

Here are a few more modern ads, some of which were removed because of public outrage: the 1st sexualizes the ad by comparing Katy Perry’s breasts to an all natural chip bag; the 2nd emphasizes the importance of how a woman looks and acts, and emphasizes the lack of woman capabilities unless she tries to be like a man; and the 3rd are a series of Got Milk ads “supporting woman’s PMS”. They use men who look and act incapable of understanding women, and make stereotypical male complaints towards women. But woman’s rights don’t matter? I’m sure it’s locker room talk! Check out these articles:  BIC CNN Got Milk! The Gloss Got Milk NYT!

While I personally believe some of people who hit the streets to march aren’t entirely sure why they’re there (and I mean, they don’t have any personal reason why they want to march aside from being supportive or because it’s what’s trendy), here are a few reasons why I think women still march:

  • Image of Women.
    • This one is obvious to many but it seems to be ignored, even women. There’s this belief, “if it’s not me, then it’s not about me”. However, advertisements and commercials like the one I’ve posted above are far too common; the image of a women is always weak, stupid, sexual, baby factories and in favor of white women, particularly blondes. One great example is Hardees and Carl’s. Their view hasn’t changed regardless of how hard women fight; google their ads and commercials and you’ll see what I mean: Explicit Content: Hardees’s     Hardee’s again  Don’t worry, there’s more than just these!
  • Rape & Sexual Assault: RAINN Stats on SV       NSVRC Stats on SV
    • Let’s start with the definition of rape: Forced sexual intercourse including both psychological coercion as well as physical force. Forced sexual intercourse means penetration by the offender(s). Includes attempted rapes, male as well as female victims, and both heterosexual and same sex rape. Attempted rape includes verbal threats of rape. I’m sure by now some have already forgotten what I wrote in orange above so I’ll repeat it: “yes there are female rapists” Sadly for men, the majority of rapists are male. And a lot of them either get off free, mentally ill or about 2-3 years probation or jail. Most men don’t see it as a problem, often think it’s a joke and feel like it’s THEIR right to forcefully come onto women. Even when a female rapists comes onto a man, it’s joked about as a sign of luck. Talk to a man about being raped and a lot will laugh and welcome it. It’s gotten to the point that there’s little justice done for child victims. The police don’t take it seriously. Court judges don’t take it seriously. Men don’t take it seriously. So who’s protecting the women? 
  • Locker room talk.
    • To men, it’s locker room talk, until they’re on the other side of it. Why is it okay for a group of guys to get together and talk about Tiffany and how you’ll do sexual things to her by force or that she’s a “dirty slut” after you spend days trying to be with her and she finally gives in? I see a lot of people saying “women do it too”; that’s the new excuse. But do you see the immediate outrage? Am I the only one who sees it? Does someone doing something justify you doing it too; if you’re friend jumps off a bridge…I don’t have to finish that quote, right? The more you do something, hear something, say something and see something, the more you believe it. Why? Because the human mind loves patterns, even if it’s a pattern of lies and hate. Humans are also habitual, meaning you get used to something if you do it enough times. So what makes you think that calling women bitches doesn’t eventually make you think that that’s what they are and makes you feel like you are above them? If you are then who’s respecting women?
  • Grab’m by the Pussy.
    • THIS. It’s the idea that men feel they have a right to women. That all women are just a meat hole for men. Yes, even in “modern society”. Yes, even you who fell deeply in love with your wife/girlfriend. Men who harass women by catcalling them in the streets. Men who touch women inappropriately whether a friend, family or stranger. Men who constantly whine by their wife/girlfriend’s side when she’s not in the mood to have sex but won’t leave her alone until she does. Men who call women a “worthless cunt” if they refuse to have sex. Men who call women a slut, whore, tramp, skank, after they finally put out. Men who don’t understand NO. Men who see unsure women and still take advantage of them. Men who beat women. Men who psychologically damage women. Men who control women. Men who rape women. The list goes on. If not men then who is loving and caring for women?
  • My body.
    • The idea that the body of a women is not hers…unless of course, there’s a situation men don’t want to be responsible for. Many men want to be able to tell women if they can have children, when they can have children, how they can have children, with who to have children with, how many children to have, how to take care of children, how to dress and look, whether how they look is to get men’s attention or not, what sexuality to be, how to have sex and whether or not they can abort the child. The list just keeps going. But let’s skip to the “Of course, there are exceptions” part; the part where men tell women that THEIR body is actually THEIR body. A lot of men believe women own and control their own bodies when she gets pregnant and they want nothing to do with it, when rape and sexual assault happens, whether “she was drunk” or “but she liked it” excuses are used. This is right around when simultaneously, a man’s body is not his own, when “I was drunk” or “something just came over me, I must be mentally sick” become credible excuses for men ONLY. Isn’t it odd that a man can say he was drunk while committing sexual assault and be seen as innocent but when the woman was too drunk to defend herself she’s no longer a victim? Can we talk about how if a women wears a tank top and booty shorts, she’s trying to get hit on by men. Shall we also talk about sluts, prostitutes and strippers and how a women is great for sex but the minute she uses it to empower herself or chooses it as her profession, it’s wrong? Who’s defending women if men aren’t?
  • The workplace.
    • I personally don’t understand why but for some reason having women in the workplace is somehow threatening to some men. Having an outspoken women in the workplace is threatening somehow. Having a strong female leader is threatening somehow. Having women who excel more than men is threatening somehow. There have been so many excuses as to why women should not be in the workplace for years, ranging from women being too stupid to maternity leave. Of course now, complaining about maternity leave isn’t so big because, Ta-Da: paternity leave is a thing (women still get the bitter end of the stick because there are some men who question the woman in the life of a man who needs paternity leave). But to make the biggest point of the workplace against women is that beautifully glistening glass ceiling. Glass ceiling means “an intangible barrier within a hierarchy that prevents women or minorities from obtaining upper-level positions” (Merriam-Webster). It’s no riddle why the majority of people in high position are mostly white males. It’s true, with hard work one can accomplish a lot and there are many who are in fact lazy, but how do you tell that to someone who’s worked at a company for years and watches a person with no credentials take the job they wanted simply because of who they are? Who’s watching out for women in the workplace if men aren’t?
  • Child Marriages and Human Trafficking.
    • There are still a lot of very old fashioned families and beliefs around the world and in the U.S. Even in this day and age, child marriages take place. A lot of people would say, “well if the parents want to do that, then why not”. I’m sure a lot of you wouldn’t say that to the sobbing 13 year old girl at the court facing her 35 year old fiance. Or the two 15 year olds (who are too young to drive, drink, rent a home, have a credit card or understand their parent’s intentions) forced to wed (because surely they can understand marriage?). It’s a women’s right issue because the majority forced into marriage are young girls. NYT NPR Human trafficking is also a problem all around, for men, women and children and for people all over the world BUT I’d be lying if I said women weren’t the larger target in regards to sex trafficking. There are several other types, like labor human trafficking which nearly 50% are males.  UNODC    What about men and boys?  Who’s protecting the little girls (and boys)?
  • Trans Women, Women of Color & many others around the world.
    • Lastly, trans women have joined the struggle, or at least they and many other who support trans have voiced the lack of representation in regards to women’s rights. People tend to have a particular image when a phrase or idea is mentioned, but we should remind ourselves of what those phrases and ideas stand for. Women’s rights is about the struggles of ALL women, regardless of their background. It’s also about men because a man who understands and knows can be supportive and help with the struggle. The idea of human rights isn’t just about equality, it’s for all to be understood and taken care of and if that’s not possible, then it’s also for all to have a platform. The Disabled     Trans women are Women    Touchy History on Race      India Who’s supporting ALL women?

These are a few reasons why I think standing for women’s rights is still important and why others keep fighting the struggle; I’m sure many others have different reasons. And to men who read this, you’ve probably heard this before, but women’s rights isn’t just about women. I would like to think that men realize that some of the injustices that go on against women put men in a weak, animalistic and bad light. I would like to think that men CAN control their sexual urges, that they CAN care for another without feeling challenged and that they CAN show vulnerability without feeling that the entire world will be laughing on their shoulders.

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