Feminism For Everyone – Where Are The Voices For Minorities?

I was watching “Studio 10” this morning and they were giving away DVDs to the audience of the movie “The Suffragettes”, which is based on the true story of the Suffragettes that demanded women have the right to vote. The protests started in 1897 when Millicent Fawcett formed the “National Unit for Women’s Suffrage”. Her argument was that women, who could be involved in school boards at the time could be trusted to vote. To read more about it, go here.

It made me think about how far women in Western countries have come. Common focuses for feminists now are things like equal pay, paid parental leave and domestic violence. The problem I have is that the voices that are often heard in the media are those who, apart from being women, if you like, are generally quite privileged.  They are: cis, able – bodied, Caucasian and middle/ upper class. I’m not saying that these women don’t face problems. But, because of a lack of representation, other issues are too often ignored or not properly advocated for by feminists in the mainstream media.

Where are the voices for:

  • Aboriginal women – who are victims of domestic violence at a much higher rate than non – Aboriginal women
  • Disabled women, who again, are much more likely to be victims of domestic violence than the general population
  • Women who can’t get employment and live in impoverished conditions, making them more vulnerable to domestic violence
  • What about women who are abused by other women.
  • In the workplace, where is the demand –  not just a “feel good” charity case here and there – that people with a disability aren’t discriminated against by employers, or potential employers
  • The rights of trans – identified women and other gender minorities.
  • Justice for women who have been subjected to violence based on religion or culture, such as FGM, honour killings, etc.

 

True, feminists, such as those who write for blogs like Mamamia, have addressed issues such as domestic violence in same – sex relationships. What I’m saying is that the fight for the rights of women need to extend beyond us – beyond the “average” or “upper – class” Australian. Let’s fight for ALL women’s rights. Frequently. And without political correctness. Saying that domestic violence is a problem in Aboriginal communities does NOT mean that ALL Aboriginal people should be branded as a domestic abuser. Saying that domestic violence is a problem in many same – sex relationships does NOT tarnish the whole LGBTQ+ community.

It’s time we stood and fought for ALL women. All voices need to be able to be heard. No one deserves to suffer anything in silence, regardless of any labels (gender, sexuality, socio – economic status, etc).

What’s With Women and Vanity?

 

What is it with women and vanity these days? Herald Sun columnist, Susie O’Brien criticised “thinspiration” blogger, Chontel Duncan for posting a picture of herself while holding her newborn son incorrectly. And yes, she did kind of go on the “thinspiration”debate, but that won’t be my focus for today.

Why did Duncan feel the need to post the picture on-line? To brag to her however – many followers? For her professional profile? To hide her, what are in fact, insecurities? (hey, even attractive people have them). What was her point?

I’m saying this off the record, I’m not a parent, but I agree with O’Brien that she should focus her time on parenting the newborn, instead of posting pictures of yourself on social media. Heck, at least have the baby comfortably positioned!

What cause the vanity or the need to stroke the ego? Did Duncan feel the pressure to show herself to be a success? If so, why?

 

At the end of the day, the people who love you unconditionally; friends, family, etc are the one’s that matter. In reality, they won’t (or shouldn’t) care if you haven’t lost your baby weight a week after giving birth. This need to appear to be perfect all the time and to post it all on social media for the world to see isn’t doing anyone any favours, surely. Be yourself, care about those in your life, don’t try and appease strangers. The people who matter won’t mind if you are less – than perfect.

Enough is enough.

Amazing Woman: Why Haven’t We Heard About Her?

I read this article linked to a blog about Malawi woman, Chief Teresa Kachindamoto who has worked tirelessly to fight against under age marriage and campaigned to have the legal marriage age raised to 21. She done this while facing fierce opposition from

Since last year, Malawi law places the marriage age to 18, however, a loophole allows parents of children younger than 18 to marry them off. Kachindamoto has fought within her own tribe and demanded sub – chiefs make an agreement to annul current marriages where the girl was under age. Sub – chiefs who refused were suspended from the tribe.

Currently in Malawi, sexual assault of young girls is rampant, with one in five girls victims of sexual assault. Kachimindoto has also campaigned to have “cleansing ceremonies” for girls to be wiped out. Sub – chiefs have been threatened with expulsion from the role by Kachindamoto if they refuse to comply and end the practice. This practice is particularly concerning due to the high rates of HIV in Malawi.

As if that’s not enough, she also campaigns for education by funding the school fees of the children that she’d rescued from being married while under age.

 

What a powerful woman! Why is it only today that I read about it linked on Andrew Bolt’s blog? Why not Mamamia? Teresa Kachindamoto is inspirational for women and should be heard from!

“Pink Carriages” The Answer for the Safety of Women and Children?

Last night on Ten’s “The Project”, there was a report on “Safe Carriages” – a push to have separate train carriages exclusive for women and children to avoid would – be predators and sex pests on city trains and to prevent further assaults. Currently, according to Sydney’s “The Daily Telegraph”,* the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics show that six men and six women were sexually victimised in the first nine months of last year. Overall, the statistic is more shocking – 142 women and 24 men have been reportedly victimised.

Other countries like Japan and India have implemented a similar idea to try and keep women safe on city trains. The suggestion, however, has received fierce opposition both here in Australia and in the UK. Feminist, Eva Cox has been one vocal opponent, fearing that it’ll do more harm than good and that it puts the focus on the victim, rather than the perpetrator:

I suspect if men are being drunk and obnoxious, they ought to be stuck away in a separate carriage, rather than limit women in a separate carriage.

Cox worries that, in fact, the move could potentially backfire and make women on mixed – gender carriages less safe:

I get fairly wary of it being seen as we have to protect ourselves by excluding ourselves

 

I can’t help but feel that it’s just a Band – Aid solution to a complex societal problem. What about cracking down on drunkenness on trains. How about, like it was suggested, employing more guards, and I’d also add, give them adequate powers to ban pests or abusive passengers. How about the legal system as a whole stop treating sex crimes and other crimes like a complete joke and give perpetrators lengthy sentences, like life or 30+ years? Or, if need be, increase funding to sex offenders rehabilitation programs? How about tightening liquor laws (times, etc), so patrons are less likely to get drunk and be aggressive in public? It’s worked in King’s Cross in Sydney of all places! (Trading hours for alcohol has been limited until 1 a.m… I think).  I agree with Cox that it takes the responsibility away from the perpetrators and putting the responsibility back on victims (men are also be victimised).

I can see how “safe carriages” could fail commuters. I also think it’s a diversion tactic, rather than dealing with the problem head – on. Everyone should be safe on trains and other public transport. That’s a no – brainer. People should be safe everywhere. Let’s deal with the issue of sexual harassment, sexual assault and other violence holistically, rather than trivially.

  • Note: if you are not a paid subscriber to the Daily Telegraph, you probably won’t be able to access the article in the link.