I'm not buying the "if you don't like it, don't buy it" argument. Images have an impact whether or not you allow them into your home. The more we normalize corseted costumes and Daisy Dukes, the more our girls will be attracted to them. I can tell my daughter that the "firefighter goes to the fetish club" costume is inappropriate, but when she sees a happy girl her age on the packaging, she's getting mixed messages.
I have often been told that I don't seem like a "typical" sorority girl and I'm never sure how to take that. Am I being applauded for not being a daft, superficial party girl straight out of Animal House? Obviously we go to parties (like most university and college students do), but this has never been the primary function of a sorority.
Somewhere along the way, we lost track of what the feminist movement stands for and what it doesn't. Just this week, a prominent feminist media critic, Anita Sarkeesian, cancelled a speaking engagement at the University of Utah to talk about the portrayal of women in video games, under threat of a "Montreal Massacre style attack." Really ladies...are we out of the woods yet?
David Letterman recently hosted Parks and Recreation actor Aziz Ansari on his show who beautifully summed up what it means to be a feminist. I think even those Hollywood girls who won't call themselves a feminist will agree with this analogy: "You're a feminist if you go to a Jay Z and Beyoncé concert and you're not like, 'I feel like Beyoncé should get 23 per cent less money than Jay Z. Also I don't think Beyoncé should have the right to vote and why is Beyoncé singing and dancing -- shouldn't she make Jay a steak?"
While it's always good practice to stop and celebrate our achievements and accomplishments, we still have a long way to go to truly empower girls. The non-profit organization, Girls' Inc. coined the term "supergirl dilemma" in a 2006 report to describe the pressure on girls to be everything to everyone, all the time.
Let me make this clear: It is not just one little sleeper. It is countless versions of these little declarations appearing on t-shirts, cups, purses and other random propaganda, coming together to form one big, persistent message. This message will help shape my daughters view of being a woman as she gets older and it tells girls exactly what society expects of them before they can even walk, or you know, hold up their own heads.
To the Mr. Misogynists out there, I beg of you to ask, where did you go wrong in life? At what point in your lives did you stumble upon a fork in the road, taking the path poorly traveled, deciding to turn your back on your DNA? Was it in the boys' locker room, after the big game, patting each other on the bum?
It's important to note that despite my appreciation for Watson's UN campaign, I believe much of the criticism she's faced has been warranted. Liberal white feminism tends to cling to these seemingly iconic moments in which feminism briefly becomes more palatable, more easily sold to the masses. Men shouldn't care about feminism because it may improve things for them. They should care about feminism because it will improve things for women.
There is a wellspring of magic in women empowering other women. I would argue that it is one of the most transformational forces in the world for stretching our purpose on this planet. But I have witnessed that as powerful as we can be in uplifting each other, we are also a formidable force for bringing each other down.
If you search "Emma Watson UN" on Google, the first results that show up have to do with one story and one story only -- the community-based site 4chan's supposed threats of leaking naked pictures of the actress. Commenters on the thread have specifically called out Watson's speech as a reason. The message here seems pretty clear: you shoot your mouth off about being equal, and we'll show you how easily we can lay open your most intimate secrets, objectifying your naked body at our will. But here's the problem with that logic. Being naked in a photo doesn't make any woman -- or man, for that matter -- less of a feminist.
Like so many other people inspired by Emma Watson's impassioned speech in her new capacity as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, I shared it to Facebook. Like so many other posts on Facebook and elsewhere calling for attention to women's rights, it almost immediately received a comment from someone who took umbrage with the message.
It's everyone's right to have an opinion. But here is what bothers me: they've got the wrong definition. They are basing their judgment of me, my beliefs and on feminism as a whole, on inaccurate information. What I am calling for is a re-education of women, and men, across North America. If you take a look at feminism's goal (one more time: equality!) and still want to tote a sign that says, "I'm an anti-feminist," I suppose that is your prerogative.
I understand baby M's preference for her brothers' toys and enjoy watching her play with them. I was a tomboy as a child and I secretly like that she seems to be one as well. However, I think my expectations of seeing her playing quietly with what Toys "R" Us would deem "girl toys" is definitely changing
Truth be told, I have so many issues with FEMEN, I wouldn't even know where to begin, but I'll attempt to explain them all here as best as I can. For those who don't know (and there are many of you), FEMEN is a Ukraine-based movement started in 2008 to protest the growing sex industry in the country. The movement soon branched out and began protesting other gender issues, including the perceived oppression of women at the hands of religious institutions.
Liberal Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette is proposing a private member's bill that will institute a quota system that will mandate that 40 per cent of all corporate board members must be female. Gender quotas result in good numbers on paper, but that's about all they do for the advancement of women. In reality, gender quotas simply reinforce tokenism and push the sexist belief that women somehow aren't "good enough" to earn power on their own.
Avoid Rapists: Stay away from those who commonly commit assaults: strangers, family members, friends, partners, spouses, co-workers, bosses, clients, teachers, doctors, teammates, and police officers. Be extra careful during peak times when rapes occur i.e. daytime, nighttime, dawn, afternoon, early evening, tea time, nap time.
The remedy for all ignorance is simple; compassion and education. If you come across a 21st century "alpha" male basking in North American blindness, be kind. They are less-educated in the ways of human behavior, and perhaps it is best to leave them to it. Pick up the torch, speak up, and educate those who are willing to listen. Your voice has power. Never let go of the truth in equal rights.
Do you need feminism? I do. But I'm one person, with one view point, which not everyone agrees with. For instance, on a recent morning, I came across the online community Women Against Feminism, and I have to say, I was pretty baffled at what I found. When I look at their pictures, all I see I see is a bunch of misinformed ladies who seem to have little understanding of what feminism actually is.