I so badly wanted to write that feminism was hot! Back in business, back from the dead and ready to take the world by storm!
Beyoncé declared herself a feminist, Emma Watsons bookclub is a huge hit, Germany has had a female prime ministers for years, Canada has a self-proclaimed male feminist prime minister and it looked like the US would now follow by electing the first female president. Feminism seemed hot.
And then yesterday happened.
Yesterday a man who proudly proclaims to able to grab women by the pussy because he is so famous, who stated he wants to criminalize abortions and who has shown a lack of empathy with most feminist issues, was elected president of the U.S.
But that is not what shocks or saddens me the most. Because after his (admittedly more moderate) victory speech the dialogue didn’t become more moderate. Far from it.
Twitter started to fill up with women and minority groups reporting incidences of mental and physical assault. The one that stuck with me the most: a woman being grabbed by the ass as the perpetrator yelled “Trump, baby!” Clearly, the newly election of an assault condoning president legitimized the assault for women throughout the U.S.
Now I do not live in the U.S. and am not a U.S. citizen and stating I would have preferred a different president in a country thousands of miles away from my own seems random and off point. However, considering the fact that the same undercurrents bely the culture I live in, makes it a valid point, in my opinion anyway.
Moreover, I see the same thing happening in my country. Sexist jokes are becoming more gruesome and saying anything against it makes me a sore loser, a feminazi, ridiculous or overreacting. It’s just jokes, right? It’s just jokes until the person who acts on them becomes the president of a country that is known to influence my own.
Having said this, the one good thing about yesterday for me: I realize yet again why I am speaking up for these issues and that perhaps I should do even more.
So today I am publicly declaring myself a feminist!
A feminist, who wants to help the struggle to improve on these issues, and who is committed to this cause.
A feminist, I realized, who is woefully ignorant of the history of feminism.
I do know suffragettes got us the right to vote, but I have hardly an idea how; I do not really know what first wave or second wave feminism is and even if we’ve got a third or fourth wave; I am very unsure about women like Christina Aguillera and Miley Cirus: are they strong independent women who are not afraid to show that women have their own sexuality, or are they the victims of the patriarchy still exploiting women for their own financial gain? Or would it be ok for me to not hold either believe and let them make their own choices?
Also, I haven’t got a clue how race and religion impact feminist issues and to what extend they are linked. I hardly know what has been done to provide me with the privileges I now have other than the biggest ones (I can vote, I have autonomy over my body and I no longer need a husband to take any financial or moral decisions), but other than that?
Many questions that I am fairly certain many more (young) women have.
So, first things first. The coming year, I want to educate myself on these issues. Have any tips on what I should read or watch, please let me know. Struggeling with the same questions? Please let me know. Like what you are reading here? Please let me know.
Together, we can get to a more just and equal society!