⪧ We left our life in New York City to make a new one in Provence ⪦

January 9, 2013

Girls.

Every day on my way to and from work, I listen to NPR podcasts. Especially recently, I've had a deep sense of sadness as I listen to story after story about women and girls. The story of the recent gang rape and death in India. The story of the recovering 14-year old Pakastani girl shot by the Taliban. The recent explosion of sexual bullying of young girls online. Even Obama's lack of women in his new cabinet. These stories have had me simmering with petulance and disbelief.

I am heartened by articles like this highly circulated article in the NYTimes by a woman who survived a gang rape: I Was Wounded; My Honor Wasn’t (in response to reactions to rape like this). She articulated something that I've felt hearing each one of these stories: that the most difficult thing might not actually to be the victim (an impressive assertion coming from a victim of a gang rape), it would be to be the parent of the girl who lives these things. I've been a feminist for a long time. For those who think that the world no longer needs feminism, I would ask them to simply read the news - just a daily glance. As a mother to a daughter, my belief in feminism and advocacy for women has been buttressed in every way. Much more difficult than my own struggle in being a woman, in whatever form that might take, would be to live through Colette being disadvantaged, mistreated or harmed simply for being born a girl.

Heartening are articles like this one: The Internationalization of Women’s Issues, that the outcry country-wide in India over that rape/murder and the exposure events like these are getting in international press and that people are thinking in different ways about gender and how gender relates to humanity.

8 comments:

Xtreme English said...

Thank you for drawing attention to that great article. I've tweeted it. It's so easy to succumb to the thinking in this country of the status quo: that boys are preferred and should get the best of everything. Feminism has helped me avoid being permanently furious, but we have a long way to go. Again, thanks....

Laura said...

Yes.

Aralena said...

It can be powerful/empowering to become a parent for just this reason. The amount of violence and hatred that you want to protect your innocent child from can sometimes feel paralyzing, but also become fodder for activism. The light I see at the end of the tunnel of case after case of unspeakable violence is that rape, bullying, slut-shaming are not simply being taken as part and parcel of what it means to be a women - anywhere. The protests in India, media's refocusing attention on slut-shamers, etc. -- could mean that mentalities are progressing, slowly but surely.

Emilie said...

Aralena cherie - you have articulated exactly what I set out to say. xo

Julie said...

In complete agreement and heart-ache. I think it also behooves us as parents, teachers, friends, neighbors to help the boys in our lives see themselves and women in different ways. It is crazy how many ways privilege and objectification get reinforced (in the smallest seemingly innocuous ways possible - from the kind of play that is acceptable, to the way masculinity and femininity are expressed). To raise children who recognize and resist this seems overwhelming but so necessary. And also one of the hardest conversations to have.

gaminette said...

I've been following, with a mixture of horror (for the girl) and schadenfreude (for the perps), the Steubenville, OH, rape/kidnap case, and how certain bloggers and online groups (Anonymous & KnightSec) are giving the finger to those who believe it's okay to deny and obfuscate the truth. The smug a*holes, under the desperate protection of their community, sheriff (!!!) and coach, aren't getting away as cleanly as they'd like.

Sadly, it's not perfect, but it's a start. As Aralena said above, this "could mean that mentalities are progressing, slowly but surely." One thing's for sure: you're alone in your thoughts, dear Emilie.

Anonymous said...

Paul (7)as he was trying to understand the notion of "sexism" : "I don't see the interest of hurting women... After all, we all come from a woman" :)
A question of boy's education (and maybe girls' as well)...
Yolaine

Maria Petrova said...

Thank you.

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