I guess I am reducing my life down a little too much. I want to talk about something that I've become incredibly passionate about but have never really written about in this space. If we're friends on Facebook, you're probably very aware that I am a passionate advocate for women's rights. This includes the desire to change everything from the overt objectification and sexualization of women in the media to the lack of education and ritualistic cutting of women all over the world. The name for this social movement is feminism. I know a lot of you tend to shy away from this word as images of bra burnings and abortion rallies come to mind, but feminism is simply the belief in equality for women. Caitlin Moran sums it up pretty well in her book, How to Be a Woman:
"We need to reclaim the word 'feminism'. We need the word 'feminism' back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist - and only 42% of British women - I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of 'liberation for women' is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? 'Vogue' by Madonna? Jeans?"
For me, feminism is the right to see women of all shapes, sizes, and races represented in the media, both as true, unaltered representations, as well as diverse characters in films and television. Feminism is women supporting other women in all that they do. It's about ending sex trafficking and the forced slavery of women all over the world. I feel strongly about these issues largely because of documentaries that have changed my life. I cannot recommend these enough.
1. Miss Representation is a documentary about the negative portrayal of women in the media. Watch the preview:
2. Half the Sky is a documentary based on a book by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn that focuses on the plight women face globally. It's about six hours of straight turmoil, but it's so worth it. Watch the preview:
If you want to learn more, I also recommend following these groups of Facebook:
Smart Girls at the Party (founded by Amy Poehler)
And of course you can always add me as a friend on Facebook and get flooded with reposts from these fabulous groups above. And just in case you were wondering, I often share these posts and documentaries with Karl, who also now identifies as a feminist. ;)
Feminism has become hugely important in my life as of late. I am always thinking of ways to spread its message and to change my own mindset and that of others so that we can all become forces for change. In the end, the only way to reshape world is to do something or to say something. We can all alter the way the world sees and projects women, we just have to identify the problem and get to work.
So here's my question for you: how do you feel about feminism? Are there any other issues that you're passionate about?