It’s difficult to do anything right now. It seems like we’ve been pushed down into the mud, and every time we look up, our faces get stepped on and shoved back in. I don’t mean this for any particular group of people; it’s been a tough year for everyone. Just waiting there for the next punishment, blaming a year because it’s the only thing we have to blame for the mass existential crisis the world has been going through. The whole world is a mess right now. Human rights violations, deaths, suicides, homicides, politics, divisions between family and friends and country… it keeps going.
I don’t know what’s going to happen in 2017, but it isn’t going to instantly fix what we’re going through. New years aren’t magical, and anyone who made a resolution can attest to that. We have to get back up and fight just as we always have, because our rights are just being tossed to the side and will be destroyed if we don’t keep speaking up. We’ve already made plans, we’re ready to march, we’re ready to save what we have, but I don’t know if we’re going to make any progress. But at least we can stand in place. We can push back. Coming from Indiana, I know what Mike Pence is ready and willing to do, and we fought him tooth and nail every step of the way until he somehow disappeared and became vice president.
Research. Pick your fights. Make sure you know what’s coming and what will be most dangerous to the world. If you’re good at organizing, get people together. If you’re good at writing, make sure others know what’s happening and write hope into your messages. If you’re good at standing strong and screaming for your rights, for fuck’s sake do it because sometimes one person standing alone is enough. Vote. Demand. Protest. Stay focused. And at the end of the day, be good to yourself, because there’s a very good chance of burnout in the coming year. Always know that you did what you could, whether it was joining a rally or giving money to a cause that you know needs it. Always give where you can. We deserve our rights, and we are going to keep them. People deserve to live, and they need help doing that. 2017 will be about survival. But let’s never forget what we learned from 2016. We will keep rising up.
Here’s some good news from 2016; feel free to add to the list if you like.
What I’m about to share with you through several posts is my work through the past year. It has been a struggle to contain myself from flipping out and screaming on my blog during the duration of my project. I’ve hated the world, I’ve cried, I’ve rejoiced, and I’ve gone outside several times just to remind myself the world was still okay.
This started out as a research project to determine how human trafficking has effected the Midwest of the United States, where I live. What ended up happening was a concerted effort to understand the darkest parts of humanity, to understand how people could do what they’ve done to others they didn’t even consider humans. I wanted to call them monsters, but I couldn’t. They aren’t monsters. They don’t crawl out in the night and capture people. They don’t hide under beds and in closets. They don’t suck blood or eat brains. They are just humans. Humans who have come to the extreme conclusion that other humans don’t matter.
This paper explicitly shows what happens when we don’t have equality. Lines begin to be drawn for who matters and who doesn’t, who gets to be happy and who is used for fodder.
And I spend most of my time with this project trying to dim down the actual horror behind the crime, because this was an academic paper for anthropology. This is about the United States and its issue with human trafficking, and how anthropology studies it. This paper is so watered down that it actually makes me cry to think of what hasn’t been said. But the information is still valid and important. And I just want you to know that all the stories are true. All the information has been thoroughly researched. And my heart and tears are on every page.
Karma isn’t coming.
I know, for all of us, there is a sense of security that comes from believing that a problem is going to be taken care of. And I don’t mean our personal problems. I mean the global ones that are often out of our hands, come out of left field and take a swipe at our sanity. Where an Indian girl is gang-raped and forced to drop the case, leaving her the option of killing herself or marrying one of her rapists. Or when new legislation comes forward that makes it possible for others to make medical choices for your body that are none of their concern. We want to believe that some larger force is going to come down and help with the situation, and if that doesn’t happen, then clearly it was an oversight.
We want revenge, and we don’t want to do it ourselves.
But revenge shouldn’t be our goal. Change should be our goal. If you want revenge, then you’re going into the situation thinking only of that scenario, of those particular people. And karma isn’t coming after those people.
Karma is meant to be balance in nature and life, and we don’t know what that balance is.
So be your own karma. If it pisses you off that people are getting away with beating their significant others, then do something. Call in that domestic abuse report, and then refuse to back down until they do something about it. You can’t just hope that a truck is going to hit the perpetrator, or that they will be beaten. It solves nothing except giving you a vicious thrill, a taste of violence, when what you should really be doing is fighting against violence.
We are too far out of balance when our solution to violent crimes is to wish violence on others.
It certainly wasn’t karma that put six gang rapists into jail on murder charges. It was a huge crowd, protesting for justice.
Karma isn’t going to stop these doctors from imprisoning new mothers.
And karma isn’t going to come down on the legislators who refuse to pass VAWA.
We are. We’re going to come down on them, and we’re going to keep bringing change into the world.
But we have to be more loving and compassionate than our enemies. Far from being vengeful, we have to be thoughtful and creative with our solutions. We have to face the evils of the world without standing behind a shield of supernatural interference.
“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.” – Andrew Boyd
Grab your boots and shovels, because we’re going to Bullshit Corner!
A woman was fired from a dentist’s office because she was too attractive. But this has nothing to do with gender.
It has everything to do with morals from God.
You see, the dentist, after ten years, decided that he couldn’t control his urges anymore for his secretary, but it wasn’t his fault. No, it was the devil’s. And the woman’s. She just wouldn’t stop being sexually-harassable. He tried to make her stop, he really did! He told her the bulge in his pants was an indication of her wrong-doing! But God love him, he just couldn’t stop her evil ways of being born the way she was.
This pisses me off. I tried to disbelieve the idea that 7 out of 7 men in the Iowa courts found this to be completely legit, but then when I found out my mind just said, “Yep. Of course that happened.”
I don’t see how people can look at our world and believe that women are being treated equally in the workplace, or that something isn’t wrong with firing without probable cause. Discrimination is everywhere, and our courts are holding it up as valid! There is nothing in this situation that is fair.
Oh well. The internet is fired up for this news, so we’ll see what happens.
It occurs to me that part of the problem that people find with feminism is the absolute overhaul that feminism wants. Equality for everyone, responsibility for everyone, choice for everyone! There is a lot of fear in change, and it’s becoming very apparent.
For instance, despite our rousing success in making women and people of different ethnicity a bigger part of the political system, there are still other invasive problems that people do not want to address. Heterosexual people want the man to propose, and not the woman. How could we break away from such a cherished tradition, such a romantic ideal?
And why would we want to deny a woman her moment to feel beautiful or sexy? Not every comment is harassment! And why shouldn’t we worship a woman for bringing life into the world? She’s amazing for doing so!
These arguments are sound, but the idea behind feminism isn’t breaking the traditions that people want, but to deal with the underlying problems that come from those situations. Like the woman being considered property, or street harassment, or staring at a woman for nine months and denying her her very identity as anything but a breeder.
It’s also dealing with the denial of other types of lifestyles, like being gay, transgender, single, childfree, childless, or being considered less because you don’t fit into the beauty ideal, or being older, or having the wrong fashion. When women deny that they are feminist despite believing in the strength of women and the need for equality, they are trying to brush off the uncomfortable need for change that underlies all of our traditions. They are trying to break down the conversation of us needing to be inclusive of all people. It’s too much change, too much responsibility, too much freedom for them to handle, and they refuse to be a part of it.
People who deny being feminist might also have the false idea that feminists are not inclusive, or believe that they want to make inequality work for them, such as making men less a part of society or denying them their rights. Which might be true for some people who call themselves feminists and hide behind the label (another discussion for another time). But it isn’t the core of feminism. Feminism requires change for the better.
Change is uncomfortable and slow. But it might just be slow because no one wants to be uncomfortable.
But people should start being uncomfortable with the way that they live, and the exclusion and violence that happens in the world. They damn well had better be uncomfortable, because it isn’t right. It isn’t right for people to be raped as a weapon of war or as a sign of power, it isn’t right for people to be objectified and made less because of their lifestyle, and it isn’t right for people to be constantly told that they have to fit into a tiny square of acceptability or the world will hurt them.
Be responsible with your life. Don’t ignore what’s wrong with the world because you’re too uncomfortable to admit that it’s there. That denial will sit with you. You have to take action. And feminism is action.
“Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.” -Boondock Saints
This could probably be my favorite quote ever. It rings so true, no matter the time period. There may be evil in the world, but there is no way for us to defeat evil if people keep turning blind eyes to the trouble.
What do people say about rapists and pedophiles, traffickers and murders? That they’re rare, that they aren’t in my neighborhood, that their crimes couldn’t effect me. And yet we hear about it everyday. The victim is blamed. Surely they did something, because there is no way that just happens to the average person! No way that could happen to me!
And so, crime goes on because the general public is too afraid to even admit that evil is there. We become apathetic to the troubles of others, fearing the world outside of our volunteered ignorance.
But I’ll tell you something. If we all admitted that things were wrong, the majority of us would be in the fight against these evil people. We would quickly take charge of situations where someone was in danger. No longer would people stand by and watch, but they would get involved and save the victim.
If evil can’t hide behind our apathy, then evil has no where to hide. So call the cops when you see a crime being committed, defend people who are being hurt, and be aware of the cruelty in your world. We can stop it if we stop denying it.
So, I realize my last post was full of things people wouldn’t want to hear from a feminist because they dedicate themselves to ignoring what feminists say. So this supplementary post is filled with pictures with quotes from other people!
I know… calm down Alyssa, they’re still not going to read this. Oh well. I have quotes for my feminist friends too, down at the bottom! But I believe the top quotes are good for anybody fighting for a cause!
Anyway, I think it’s important for us all to take stock of what we’re really doing with our lives. Strong beliefs are great! But if you believe that people should be good and decent people, and spend your days being hateful, then you’ve completely missed the point of what you yourself teach!
What good does hate do anyway? Does it further your cause? Does it make the world more like you want it to be? If it does, you need to seriously reconsider your morals! The world is never better with hate!
And hate certainly don’t help you as a person. In fact, it empties your life of joy that you seriously need!
Now, I know some people join in on a cause because their friends and family are firmly into that cause. That will hurt you too! You spend your days acting like someone who isn’t you, and taking on morals you know to be against your own world views! How does that help?
Some of you are legitimately worried that if change happens, it will effect you in a negative way. I understand your fear. But hating and worrying about change that doesn’t effect you at all is no way to live your life!
Now, for those of you who feel you are being hated on, keep hope! Anger always stems from another emotion.
Learn from the mistakes of those who hate, because it will help you in the long run. You don’t want to be like that person, do you? Of course not!
Don’t let them wear you down! They may attack you, even personally, but they don’t have the power to make you feel their hate. If you know what you’re doing is right, then nothing they say should be able to affect you.
Always consider legitimate arguments. However, many times in angry blogs there is no argument, especially not a legitimate one. So just let them go.
If it does start to bother you, and I understand it will (it happens to me), take a break and reflect on how awesome you are! We all have struggles, and the best of us take on a lot of struggles we wouldn’t have otherwise.
Anyway, that’s about all I have to say! I hope this helps someone to have a better day, or to consider being a better, happier person!
Okay, I can’t keep to myself anymore. It’s time for a good old fashioned rant.
Hey anti-feminists. How’s it going? Seething in your hate for me right now because I have a different opinion from you? I wish I could say that I’m sorry, but I’m not. I’ve spent this past week looking at nothing but hate for feminists.
How proud you are to hate us.
How you wish we would just let men take back their rightful place.
How selfish we are for wanting to join in on national conversations.
I hear you. Sort of. It’s kind of hard to get past all the base insults you keep throwing around. You keep saying that all we do is throw around insults, while you yourselves keep calling us sheep, bitches, worthless…
You mock us and ask others to join in the hate. Not two weeks ago I saw a post that was laughing at feminists for sending their support to others who were going to a rally. What was there to be mocked?
I particularly cringe at the stories that start with, “As we all know”, like everyone has the same exact experience and opinion as you, and feminists are just some creepy sub-species that works to devour reason.
I don’t know why you think it’s okay to tell feminists to shut our mouths while you spew hate. Why is your opinion the only good one? How all-knowing could you possibly be? Do you see yourself as perfect, as God-like? You must be right because that is the opinion in your head?
That’s pretty damn arrogant.
I know I’m not perfect. Sometimes I miss parts of conversations, or I confuse statistics. But I correct myself. I let other people talk and have their opinions. I understand that people have different viewpoints from me.
All I ask is that people don’t live life to hurt other people. But that’s all I’ve seen this week. People just hating other people, trying to hurt them because they’re different.
Where has the love gone in your life? Why are you so angry?
Let me tell you why I’m a feminist. I want to help people. I want to help the poor get the health care that they need to make their lives better. I want to expose human trafficking so that it can be stopped. I want to help create a world where people can walk out onto the streets without being beaten, harassed, raped, kidnapped, killed, or bullied for being a certain gender or living a certain way. I want safety for future generations. I want happiness for the people that I love, and people I don’t even know.
It all starts with education and understanding. It continues with healthy conversations and actions. I don’t mind that you have a different opinion than me; I just wish that you wouldn’t do it with hate and anger.
So, and I say this with all seriousness, calm down. I know there is some common ground that we can land on.
I learned a great deal about human trafficking yesterday in my capstone class. It was inadvertent, as we were supposed to be learning about how to use the library resources, but my topic of human trafficking in the Midwest was used, and most of the time nothing came up. It wasn’t so much human trafficking as the Midwest that was hard to pin down, but when it came to recent news, there were a lot of pings. In fact, Google was kind enough to autofill “Human trafficking in Indiana”, where I live. One woman was so surprised that she read the line out loud. Human trafficking in Indiana?
A few people laughed uncomfortably, realizing that this should not shock anyone. But I heard the thought process across the room, because I had heard it out loud before. Human trafficking can’t happen here! That’s so third world!
Unfortunately, the case stands. To believe that you are safe from human travesty is just a self defense mechanism. Sex trafficking happens in third world countries. Sex trafficking happens here.
People get sick and die in third world countries because they can’t access health care.
People get sick and die in America because they can’t access health care.
People are raped and beaten with no legal recourse.
And we are all forced to listen to people in power make remarks that hurt us and undermine our lives.
This is no third world experience. This is the human experience. And when it comes right down to it, we are no different than our ancestors. Our house is still a hut designed to protect us from wild animals and intruders. We still use light to protect ourselves from being snatched up in the darkness. We still eat animals and food from the ground. We still live in tribes and defend ourselves from the other tribes.
Empires have risen and fallen, and despite the common idea that America was there yesterday and will be there tomorrow, we still live in a system that allows nations to crumble to the ground and be built back up as new nations.
So yes, modern day slavery in the Midwest may resonate as impossible, but it happens every day. Ohio just found out that an average of 1000 children are taken into slavery every year in their state.
Don’t deny that crimes are happening around you! Defend your tribe! Defend yourself! Expose the dangers that are taking over our lives!
You do not live in a different world from anyone else. You just wish you did.
Prosecute Human Trafficking as a Crime Against Humanity
A closer look at gender and online news
Fabulous feminism for all!
Voices of women and girls around the world!