Firstly, as a white and passionate feminist myself, I am not here to dictate rules on feminism, and how people should empower themselves.
I know we are all entitled to our opinions; I’m fully aware that calling myself a feminist while tearing down others would be unnecessary performative activism. However, a few things on social media recently have taken my interest and made me wonder: “how is that going to combat misogyny?”
2017 was a glorious year for female empowerment. Feminists of all shapes and sizes took to social media and the streets to protest how we would no longer tolerate unwanted sexual attention and lack of respect. For example, at 2.6 million strong, women all over the globe united to protest Trump’s first tenure, and feminist merchandise sales went through the roof. That is the kind of support that we need, not only to rebel against Trump, but to rebel against other issues of importance that people talk about, but take no action against. I want to draw attention to this interview that took place on British television recently.
I fully respect Lizzie Cundy and Eleanor Miller for going on national television and giving their opinions, where they probably would have been under scrutiny no matter what. But was it really the most effective way to use a platform like that? With an audience that reached so far and wide with this interview, they could have spoken about how feminism needs to tackle global inequality: FGM, child marriages, sexual initiation camps, the 62 million girls that are denied an education. This woman does not speak for me. Feminism as a word means many things to many people, but to the majority of ethnic women who face oppression by tradition, being able to hold our own doors open is irrelevant.
In the same sense, a lady on twitter drawing massive female genitalia near American landmarks isn’t going to help females become liberated. Yes, Emily Ratajkowski has the freedom and liberty to get half naked, lie in spaghetti for a photo shoot, (while making lots of money) and while I understand that her controversial photo shoot was a statement to say that she has the right to do as she wishes with her body, it’s going a little far to dress it up as active feminism.
Why don’t more pressing issues draw more attention?
Here are some statistics that show why feminism should continue to grow in 2018:
1.One in five women on U.S. college campuses have experienced sexual assault. If you want to donate or look at help from survivors and supporters, check out http://endrapeoncampus.org/centering-the-margins/.
2. 62 million girls are unable to access an education. Sign the #UpforSchool petition by here.
3. Female genital mutilation (FGM) affects more than 125 million girls and women alive today. People make money from this awful business and still condone it, you can take action against it here
In a world where we are screen slaves with hundreds of people following our social media platforms, the least we could do every now and then is encourage people to sign a petition. The least we could do for our sisters is raise awareness, and have a voice for those who are voiceless.