No means no

No means no

Monday, 19 August 2013

The Bonds of Anger

"Anger, especially when springing from a desire for freedom, is a powerful and bonding force." - Julia Baird, 2013 

The year is going so fast, and there is still so much that makes me angry day after day. I winced in anger at every disgusting abuse that was heaped on our first female Prime Minister. I read with anger of the issues facing women in Texas whose reproductive rights are being stomped on. I empathised in anger with the mother of a teenage girl whose gang rape was spread around social media to the extent that she eventually felt suicide was her only release from her pain. I suffer in silent anger and sadness with every woman or girl whose story of rape, sex trafficking or acid attack appears in my newsfeed. 

I don't watch mainstream TV. I don't need to see the glossy face of a world I know doesn't really exist, not when I see the slimy underbelly of the real world every day through the internet and social media. I am sick of hearing those who claim misogyny and patriarchy don't exist. YES, they DO. 

When a woman who stands up for having a woman appear on a stamp is abused and threatened with rape and murder, misogyny exists. That happened in the UK. 

When a woman who openly declares support for an event that will highlight the fact that women can't walk the streets at night because it is too dangerous is threatened with rape and physical brutality, misogyny exists. That happened in Townsville to one of the Reclaim the Night organisers. 

When a woman is told she should have a chaperone after midnight "for her own safety", patriarchy exists. That statement came from a well known (male) DJ on a Brisbane commercial station after Jill Meagher was murdered. 

When a male politician says that a woman politician stands out because she has "sex appeal", patriarchy exists. That was our dearly beloved (sic) Tony Abbott expressing Fiona Scott's credentials as a politician. Well sorry to say Mr Abbott, but if "sex appeal" is a requirement, you lose. Majorly. 

In February 2013 the Workplace Gender Equality Agency provided statistics that showed the gender pay gap is still unacceptably wide, at 17.6% as at November 2012. The Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 addresses the issue, but no positive results are yet being reported. 

Worldwide, rape and abuse is reported at a never-before-seen rate. Social media highlights stories that the MSM simply won't touch. The statistics are horrifying and so negative. 

Yet there are positives. The harder society makes it for women to be truly equal, the more women stand together and fight. I am privileged to have met some wonderful women who stand up every day for other women. The women of the Brisbane Feminist Collective, whether radical, liberal or otherwise. The women of the Reclaim the Night collective, voices for many who can't, often for situational reasons, speak up for themselves. The many women standing up against domestic violence. The women who shared the 2013 V-Day platforms of One Billion Rising and Vagina Monologues. The organisers of TEDxSouthBankWomen, providing advocacy for women to share their ideas to change the world. And many, many more. 

Anne Summers writes of contemporary issues in her website "The Looking Glass". The Griffith Review (Edition 40), Destroy the Joint, Collective Shout, Stop the Worldwide War on Girls, V-Day - all organisations spreading the anger - women are not toys, women are not chattels, women ARE equal! 

Misogyny and patriarchy may be alive and flourishing in 2013 Australia, but it has no place in enlightened society. Anger is a tool, a resource, that we can share to combat them. No one should have to live with threats of rape. No one should ever be told her worth is based solely on her reproductive capabilities. No one should believe that women are not equal in every regard to men. 

And if you believe they aren't, we'd be happy to educate you.

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