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A Fresh Perspective and The Battle of the Sexes

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Recently, I’ve been getting into self-help books like a bag of crisps. For someone who used to avoid them (if not laugh at them), you might be wondering what made me change my tune? As I am always very honest and confiding, I will admit that I was at a point (during a predicament) where I needed guidance beyond what my friends, family and own reasoning or instincts could give. Open mindedness and a willingness to try was simply the only option left.

One book I am reading stressed on the importance of “giving up frustration and anger in lieu of a new possibility” – basically making positive any negative situation. It encouraged the mindset of making your own life good, not waiting for an external source to do it for you. It also suggested that you can speak to the universe – that your choices and mindset shape what comes to you. Those who read too literally into this would see this as ridiculous, but those who are willing to understand can really take away a lot from this perspective.

The message of this particular book, although not one on feminism, reminded me of my struggles within the Women’s Rights Movement and gave me an idea on how to overcome this. One issue I really find hard to deal with is how many people see feminists as bitter, or a bunch of complainers. It’s easy to bring out the claws in defense, but what good does it do but confirm the accusations? And even if we are in the right, this is a person’s honest opinion of feminism. Perhaps we have to acknowledge this? So how do we deal with the continuing struggles of gender equality being of non-importance to many, while considering these statements against feminism, and still go forward towards our collective goals? (We give them a Pepsi of course. But if that fails…)

We change tactics, and we challenge our mindsets. We look at negative situations as opportunity to grow. 

Let’s take a look at the Women’s March on Washington for example. The love and community that came from that day inspired more than the reason for the march. Embracing the best from a negative situation inspires. Focusing on the negative – i.e. the reason women were marching to begin with – sucks. We have to think of ways to make positive every situation within the Women’s Rights Movement, even when we feel our anger is justified. And yes, it begins with acknowledging how far we have come and how many people have contributed to this ever-improving situation for global gender equality, even if we haven’t achieved a 50-50 world yet.

If this seems like a slap in the face of all those who sacrificed so much for the cause (or those who already do acknowledge how far we have come), I assure you, I originally thought this too. It took a while to get my head around this, but we have to understand that this doesn’t mean we ignore the wrongs that have happened, but we rather look at things with a NEW perspective. If we want a more positive approach and welcome more people into the fold of feminism – perhaps we have to further understand why exactly people don’t support this cause, digging beyond the surface level of people’s opinions.

After all, I think the root of our problems has little to do with superficial stereotyping of feminists, and more to do with a cultural habit that has existed for centuries, if not millennia. And this is where I get to the real guts of this blog entry.

Our whole culture – not just in the case of feminism – encourages a battle of the sexes. Since it’s birth, feminism has been mislabeled as a cause for man-hating, and every modern feminist feels like a broken record trying to communicate the true definition of the word (if not having it man-splained back at us). But let’s continue to zoom out: most men and women are in a constant power struggle to outdo one another and try to prove their superiority. In work, in education, in sports and reality TV, magazines and casual sexism in conversation, even down to the expectations parents place on their children. It’s hard to find one example where men and women, boys and girls aren’t compared or pitted against one another, or even simply separated based on biological differences. Despite the social and political advances of women in the last century, this war wages on, and I believe this is the fundamental reason for why feminism is seen in a negative light. People only see it as segregation of the sexes. This is why so many people opt to be called humanists or egalitarians, or denounce feminism when the values they speak are, in fact, feminist. This mindset runs rampant in our community, and until we recognize the nuances of it’s existence,  we unwittingly participate in the war. So this message is for feminists, self-proclaimed non-feminists alike:

If we all truly want gender equality in our lifetime, we have to recognise that the battle of the sexes – and how we stereotype men and women – are fundamental in our viewpoint of feminism. We need to redirect our understanding to be based around social justice (the principal of equality in all definitions, for all people), not solely focusing on the semantics of the name.

I became a feminist because I wanted to prove my value as a woman. The more I invested in the movement, the more I realised that this cause was bigger than my own. Our ideas on feminism are palpable and resonate with others. We need to make them positive and inclusive, if we want positivism and inclusiveness to come back to us. It goes back to that idea of putting out to the universe what we want returned. Basically, we have to acknowledge that most people want equality, and feminism is called feminism because it’s a cause directly associated with women, but that doesn’t mean it’s exclusively for women, or beneficial only to women. Changing the name of feminism simply takes away the special significance of women’s suffrage in the movement.

Call me idealistic, but I think if we actually learned to understand the reasons why people see our values differently, and learn to not take it personally when someone disagrees, we may become closer to Planet 50/50 faster than we think.

“Now you know better, so you do better” – Maya Angelou

This entry skipped and hopped around a bit, much like my thoughts tend to do when excited about an idea. But do you agree? Do you disagree? I want to know your thoughts! Share in the comment section below.

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Let's Talk

The Women’s March on Washington

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Woke up to the most exciting news about the marches across America and the world. The Women’s March on Washington (specifically the one in DC) is so big, they couldn’t formally march to the White House. The march in LA expected 80k people, but got 750,000. This is so historic. Make sure you understand why these marches are happening before choosing to sneer at it, or stay neutral. When women first started marching 100+ year ago, it lead to (white woman’s) first rights to become CITIZENS so never underestimate the power of an organised peaceful protest.
Images from marches across America. Via: NYTimes.com

I’ve taken a break from my hiatus, otherwise I would have missed the most exciting day for women and minorities in the current state of affairs! Who would have guessed how BIG this was and how far spread it was?  What a day to be alive!

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Women’s Marches across the globe: including Antarctica!

As I began this blog in August last year, I was aware of the unrest and underlying anger of feminists, humanists and civil rights activists and so forth across the world. I had no idea what was to come, but I felt a huge urge to do and SAY something myself. I knew it was time to get on board. Having received so much flack for my views, it’s empowering to know I wasn’t alone in this, and that so many people feel what I feel. It seems the election of Trump was just the ignition needed to blow up the ticking time bomb. I am so incredibly proud to have witnessed humanity rise up – across the world – to say “NO” to the system, the flaunting of ignorance and indecent human behaviour, and people who don’t believe in equality for all.

The fact that the Women’s March on Washington (which is effectively a march for equality, climate change, anti-greed and so on, not just for women) has dominated the news scene and dwarfed the crowd turn out for the Inauguration is so exciting. It says something. Everyone from career activists to celebrities to first time activists and introverts have joined up – oh, how I’d love to have been in the States this day! The Official Women’s March on Washington in DC was SO BIG it couldn’t march to the White House for safety and coordination reasons. The LA crowd was expected to be 80,000 but got an estimated 175,000! There were marches in London, Sydney, Vienna and about 20 other countries, and even in 4 cities in little old New Zealand! All organised in less than 2 months! This sort of outcome is not to be sneezed at. If you haven’t taken thought to why this is happening, I suggest you get informed — after all, I believe this will become a notable piece in the history books, and you’ll want to be able to proudly tell your grandchildren how you played a part.

“Once or twice in every generation a line is crossed so egregiously that where you stood on the issue will forever define you.” – Kara Vallow

Hilarious and clever signs from various marches. Please contact me for crediting!

For those who understand why these marches are happening, I need not explain. For those who don’t understand why these marches are happening, let me explain.

In a nutshell, the last four thousand years have seen women persecuted, cast as secondary human beings, not been seen as capable or intelligent as men, and often having to struggle in abusive conditions and lifestyles across many different cultures and laws. We don’t know a lot about Women’s History because it’s simply never discussed or taught in our schools. Black Civil Rights has been covered a little better – simply because the condition for Black people was so much worse. But for many minority groups, their stories have not been told.

But without delving too much into the history that brought us here, it is important to know that laws for equality that came around only over the last century didn’t happen because white men in power suddenly felt guilty and decided to be nice, they happened because the minorities in every culture stood up and protested. I didn’t get my education and freedom to work as a woman without the activism of the Suffragettes pre-1920. I’m super grateful to these women who had the strength to stand up and risk persecution, job loss, jail time, ridicule and even torture so that my future as a woman wouldn’t have to be a choice between becoming a spinster in a limited career path or the property of a husband. Likewise, those who activated for Black Civil Rights in the 60s and Gay Rights in the 80s-onwards have all risked EVERYTHING in order for the particular minorities to have less social stigma today. Our future children will thank those today who stood up against a corrupt US Government for equality, climate change and reproductive rights for women, among the other rights that are being trampled on by the Trump administration and the extremists of corrupted nations and religions across the world.

Some might think this is a waste of time! But even if today was completely ignored by Trump, the whole world has taken notice. People are getting inspired and jumping on board. People are questioning what they value. Mindsets are being changed. The fight has only just begun.

The Women’s March, or the March against Trump, isn’t a march against Democracy. It isn’t even a march against the fundamentally flawed Electoral system that helped seal Trump’s victory. The Russian scandal, his lying and breaking of the constitution on day 1 hasn’t really been mentioned. This March is focused on protesting the values of the Trump Government, which is working to eradicate all that is fair in America. The rights of and opportunities for all citizens, including immigrants and the LBGQT community. The Arts. Science. The fight for the Climate. And bringing in Greed, Religious Fundamentalism, Discrimination and Sexism. Normalizing casual misogyny, racism, homophobia and xenophobia. Working backwards to make America Hate Again. If anyone is comfortable with this sort of value system, they really need to check their heart. This isn’t about standard republican policy, this is about basic human dignity and decency.

If you see only one presentation from the March, I urge you to watch Ashley Judd’s hugely powerful and emotional rally speech here. Also, the NY Times has a rundown of the events that have/are taking place. Stay informed, and get on the right side of history. To those who are following, or taking part, I am SO PROUD of you. Let’s stick together and fight for what is right. If you took part, I want to know! Share your thoughts down below.

hillary
Words from my hero ❤

“Women’s Rights are Human Rights” – HRC

www.womensmarch.com/

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