A couple of weeks ago, Whedonesque posted a retroactive link to a four-year-old post by Joss Whedon about the "honor-killing" of Du'a Khalil Aswad.
I feel that Joss's words on that particular subject are far more eloquent than any of mine can be, and I encourage anyone and everyone to follow that link and read what he had to say.
Ever since I reread that post, I've been feeling a lot of anger and frustration at the world. So much that I feel like I might explode. This blog is a venue for me to air my own personal feelings and/or rant about crap that pisses me off. So here I go.
I just don't understand people. It doesn't make any sense to me that someone can look at a group of people and decide "you're less than me." For thousands of years of human history, in almost every culture and with few exceptions, women have been considered to somehow less than men. How does that make sense? How is that okay?
The fact that women can be considered a persecuted minority infuriates me. A minority? Really? Half of the population is female. That is hardly a minority. What kind of a world is this where every other person receives significantly less respect just as a result of their gender? In what possible way can that be construed as right or even logical? It makes absolutely no sense to me.
And I don't want to hear about how it's not as bad as it used to be. Sure, we in America have much more gender equality than we used to, but we're far from equal. And there are plenty of places in the world where women are not treated anywhere near equally.
We have a black president. And that's great. It really shows how far we've come as a country. But I don't understand how, during the election, I could hear people praise Barack Obama while simultaneously calling Hilary Clinton a "bitch" when they had pretty much the same exact policies.
The true discrimination of women comes in subtle ways. Societal double standards. A man who has an active sex life is respected and revered, a woman who does the same is a slut. Hell, a woman who is even comfortable with her sexuality is considered wrong and evil.
Women are expected to act and look a certain way by society. So many more unrealistic expectations are placed on women than on men. The media tells women that it is more important to be thin than to be healthy. I've known several women in my life -- very beautiful women -- that have an extremely poor self-image and a few that have even put their life in danger in order to correct what they see as flawed. You know what's even worse? This is common. We live in a society that encourages women to hurt themselves to please men. How do so few people see how insane that is? How absolutely ridiculously insane. If you take the most beautiful, confident, healthy, self-respecting person and tell them that they are wrong enough times, they will believe it. But that does not make it true. I HATE HATE HATE that this is what is happening and that so few people even seem to care.
I'm far from perfect and far from the person that should be preaching out against this. I've objectified women before, and I'm not proud of it. But I feel like the fact that I am ashamed of that at least puts me ahead of most people. The kind of people that tell vulgar and sexist jokes and don't feel one iota of shame for laughing at them. The kind of people that take advantage of women because they can.
I hate that I can't seem to put my anger about this into words. I am really trying to express just how angry and infuriated all of this makes me, and I feel like I'm failing.
I guess the main thing I'm trying to get across is that I don't believe this is how the world should be. If you are a man and you are reading this, I think you have a responsibility to make a conscious effort to be a pioneer for our gender. Show the world that a real man doesn't need to put women down in order to feel masculine. A real man understands that every person is valuable and that nobody deserves to be treated as less than what they are. This isn't something you do one time. This is small and everyday. Next time you hear people calling a girl a slut, or telling a demeaning joke, speak up. Say something. Don't just let it continue. That's what a hero is. I often get mocked for calling myself a feminist. But I think the fact that I get mocked for saying that is the very reason I must continue to do it.
If you are a woman reading this, you can do the same thing. You have just as much right to speak out against sexism as a man, and you probably should. I also feel that you have an even bigger responsibility, and it's a tough one. You need to try your hardest to be strong. To face this world of women-fearing people and say "I don't care what you think, I am a woman and that is okay." To fight against all of the people telling you that you are wrong. I can't even imagine how hard it must be to live in a society that constantly tries to undermine you.
You can also donate to charity, and I highly encourage you to do so if you have the means. In particular, I suggest paying a visit to the Equality Now website.
This is a hard and cruel world. But if we stand strong, stand together, and speak out against discrimination and injustice, we can change it. We can make this world a kinder place. A place our sons and daughters will be proud to call home.