The awards ceremony was amazing. More than hearing about the courageous and sometimes heartbreaking stories that journalists from Ms. Magazine, Bloomberg News, and Marie Claire (yes, Marie Claire, they have people fighting to write serious articles there because they know that they’ll reach a different demographic) had written, I met a woman named Kamala Lopez and learned about her Equal Rights Amendment education project.
Since most United States citizens believe that men and women already have equal rights under the constitution, she is going to make PSAs with celebrities and tell them that that’s not true. The ERA was proposed in ’23 and shelved in the ’70s because of four states, and it’s been collecting dust ever since. Her project is geared towards getting my generation to DO SOMETHING because girls and boys grow up pretty much believing that that’s true – and then in the future, women reach a glass ceiling and are legally powerless to do anything about it. I’m waiting for the day that the ERA is passed so that is a woman is paid 77 cents for every dollar of a man’s salary, she can freaking sue her employer.
Anyway, I told Kamala that I am 100% on board. She needs as many college students as she can to get the word out and create a movement. She told me that she’s hopeful after seeing Occupy Wall Street because she thinks that we’re beginning to fight for civil rights again, and as history tells it, where civil rights consciousness grows, awareness of equal rights for women follow. I told her that Occupy Wall Street’s slogan is extremely effective: We are the 99% and I think that a sort of feminist movement should follow en suite: We are the 52%. How can half of society be so repressed, discriminated against, and brutally treated? Again, my story is personal. I grew up fortunate enough to be given an education and I will probably earn a good salary (even though I don’t have equal constitutional rights as men so I’m going to have to persuade and negotiate my ass off for that salary and for other rights or work my ass off to show that I’m their equal). But when I began to live in other countries, I realized that the vast, vast majority of women in the world have much dimmer prospects, and are in fact, enslaved by their societies.
People need to wake up and get over their issues with feminism. Feminism is not about trying to make men obsolete or hating them. It’s about recognizing the fact that females are not treated equally in society. Theoretically, I also love feminism because it is not essentializing at all. Some civil rights movements, especially ethnicity-based ones, essentialize people so that they can mobilize and fight for their rights. Later, some people become confused and are discriminated against if they do not fit within the confines of this ethnic group and their behaviors. Feminism has always shown that women are simply not all the same, and certainly not all “feminine”. Being “feminine” is really just a socialized behavior. One of the things that I love most about feminist theory is that it paved the way for people to study the LBGT community and how gender is a performed role.
Which brings me to this article. I spit out my morning coffee for laughing. Chemaly is a hoot, and an indignant one at that. We have hard statistics and tons of anecdotes to make the world see that women need to be respected more. They are being controlled, shamed, and humiliated. How are we going to make this world a better place? What is the first step towards eradicating poverty? I could write article after article about why this is, but you’ll just have to do some research yourself if you don’t believe me and realize that it is women who are going to change the world for the better. Women prioritize education and healthcare. They invest in their families and in their communities. Yet they comprise 52% of the world’s population and only own 1% of land in addition to being 70+% of the world’s most destitute and impoverished. Occupy that.
Here’s a documentary about this paradoxal question: if women are the majority in America and in the world, then why are they do not doing better? It’s because they face a system that devalues them, implants insecurity, turn them against each other, and leave them without control.
If I were to begin a “We are the 52%” movement, campaigning for awareness of the feminization of the poor and the human rights violations that women undergo, would you support me? Would you support Kamala Lopez’s Equal Rights Amendment education project at your college campus? I look forward to your comments, insight, and general discussion below.