I’m a feminist. But according to women leading the feminist movement I am the enemy. Do I believe that women should have equal opportunity? Yes. Do I think women deserve equal pay for equal work? Absolutely. Do I think women should be able to sleep with whomever they want whenever they want? As long as it’s consensual, yes. Do I think rape is horrible? I think rapists should be put to death. Yet, I would not be welcome at the Women’s March and other Feminist Organizations for many reasons. The third wave of feminism – the one that promotes pu**y hats, claims there’s an unfair gender gap, and teaches women that masculinity is inherently evil – doesn’t include me and, furthermore, I think it’s much more damaging to women than helpful. The sad thing is that the world does desperately needs feminism but not in the places feminists usually are marching. Below is a list of where feminists should be focusing their energies.
- Where we should be fighting for basic privileges
Women hold powerful positions in America. We can wear whatever we want, buy whatever we want, marry whoever we want, and divorce whoever we want. This is not the case in many other parts of the world. Saudi Arabia recently announced it would lift its ban on women driving in June of this year. Women in Saudi Arabia are still expected to have a male “wali” – an official guardian, typically a father, brother, uncle or husband. In practice, women need their guardian’s consent for any major activity, including travelling, obtaining a passport, getting married or divorced, and signing contracts. They also can’t “wear clothes that show off their beauty,” interact with men, compete in sports, go swimming, or try on clothes.
- Where we should be fighting for sexual freedom
Young girls in Mali and Somalia are still subject to genital mutilation. In Mali and Nepal child marriages are the norm. In Mali, one in 10 young women die in childbirth. 37% of girls in Nepal are married before 18. The rape of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo is so widespread that United Nation’s investigators called it “unprecedented.” Systemic rape is a huge problem in Pakistan and Sudan as well. Things are so bad for women in Afghanistan in terms of domestic abuse and forced marriages that women turning to suicide as an escape has become the norm.
Sex trafficking exists all over the world, including the United States. But compared to other countries, the United States is doing fine in this area. The following countries are the biggest violators of human rights via sex trafficking: Algeria, Libya, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Congo, Kuwait, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, North Korea, (but hey, Kim Jong Un’s sister is cool right?) Belarus, and Russia.
- Where anti-domestic abuse efforts should be focused
In Guatemala domestic violence is abound. Honor killings still take place in Pakistan where they are so prevalent women are frequently executed for adultery. Honor killings are commonplace in India as well. Both countries have informal court systems which almost always side with men.
- Where we should be concerned about “women to work” and education rights
In Afghanistan and the Central African Republic, only 24% of women can read, in Benin 27%, in Chad 14%, in Mali 22%, in Niger 11%, in South Sudan 16%. It’s no coincidence that many of the most violent-towards-women countries are the ones where women are least educated. In Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, Haiti, Egypt, Pakistan and at least 15 other prominent countries, girls go to school at much lower rates than their male counter-parts. Usually because they are not allowed to or the risk of rape is too high if they do attend. 85% of women in Afghanistan receive no education. More than three-quarters of the world’s illiterate adults are found in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa; of all the illiterate adults in the world, almost two-thirds are women
Education obviously effects work opportunities. In every country with low female education rates you can expect work prospects to also be low for women. But to take it one step further, in 18 countries, married women cannot get a job without their husband’s permission: Bahrain, Bolivia, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Mauritania, Niger, Qatar, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates, West Bank and Gaza and Yemen.
- What should alarm feminists about abortion and gender bias
Abortion is not an equal opportunity experience. By that I mean female fetuses are aborted at a much higher rate than male fetuses. Before we leave the womb, we’re already being discriminated against. Gender-based abortion happens in third world and first world countries alike due to cultural preferences and a desire to “keep the family name alive.” Official figures suggest as many as 4,700 females have disappeared from the latest national census records of England and Wales, raising fears that indicate the illegal practice of sex-selection abortion has become prevalent in the UK.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, around 117 million women are believed to be “missing” in Asia and Eastern Europe – the result of son preference and gender-biased sex selection, a form of discrimination. A problem since the 1990s, in some areas there are reports of up to a 25% difference between male and female births. These gender biases have been linked to increased human trafficking and domestic violence against women.
Writing this made me feel shameful. Shameful that I have done absolutely nothing to help these women around the world. Everything listed above is not commonplace in the United States. I live a pretty kush life. Are there issues for women in the United States? Of course. I have my gripes like everyone else. But they are small potatoes compared to the extremely dire situations for women around the world. Women in America march around in pus** hats whilst college educated, divorced and bruise free. Millions of women in other countries couldn’t even dream of doing such a thing. I mean literally if they told the wrong person they did dream of it there is a good chance they would receive some sort of very unpleasant punishment.
But where are all the Women’s Marchers? Not to say none of them are helping these poor women overseas, I’m sure some of them are, but a great deal of effort, money and time are put into feminist efforts here in the states. I can’t help but wonder what that kind of effort and media attention could accomplish in Nepal or Afghanistan or Cameroon.
Don’t ever accept an injustice just because it’s not as bad as it could be, but do think about how you can best utilize your resources, make the biggest changes and exploit your abilities. In feminism and in every facet of your life.