But wait! Let me explain!
The internet is an interesting world: a juxtaposition between a wealth of useful and helpful information, benign pictures of cats and 60s Spiderman reimaginings, and hateful abusive attacks on culture, gender, and sexuality. Usually I steer clear of these aggressive conversations, because I've realized that it is impossible to reason with the unreasonable, and usually it's just 14 year olds who want to cause trouble and swear online, so it's easy to not pay much heed.
But I've noticed more and more that women are still - STILL! in 2012! - not represented well /respected in the media and I've decided that my rights are something worth fighting for. I've wanted to post about this for a while, but I've been finding it difficult to both express how I feel about women in society in 2012, and understanding exactly what it is that has made me so outraged about women's rights in the past 3 months.
And then today I came across this post, "So a Girl Walks Into a Comedy Club". If you have a chance, you should give it a quick read, but in summary: a girl and her friend went to the Laugh Factory where comedian Daniel Tosh was performing. He made the statement that "Rape jokes are always funny," to which the girl shouted back "Actually, rape jokes are never funny!" In response, Tosh thought for a minute and said to the audience, "Wouldn't it be funny if that girl got raped by five guys right now? Like right now?"
(I should preface the preceding post by saying I am no prude. I absolutely love stand-up comedy and I appreciate transgressive humour if it is clever and unique. Rarely am I made uncomfortable by swearing or jokes about sexuality, race, or gender, regardless if I find it funny or not. I have seen a lot of Tosh's stand-up and by and large enjoyed most of it.)
I was completely outraged when I read the post about the woman's experience with Daniel Tosh. I think my anger is twofold: First, talking about the act of rape actually isn't funny. It's disappointing that a comedian who I thought was witty has resorted to making "jokes" about abusive, invasive, violent, and physically and psychologically damaging acts. It requires no effort to write a joke about rape, because if you're trying to be transgressive, you don't have to work hard to get a reaction. It is a cheap, degrading joke to bring into a comedy act.
Secondly: It is a direct attack on and about women. While I know that there are men who have been raped, when it is addressed as capital R rape, it is always portrayed as men who have forcibly attacked women. Joking about five men raping a woman for speaking out reinforces the power structure of male dominance over females, both physically and socially.
I am sick of it, to be honest. I am sick of the fact that even though women are supposed to have gained equality, we haven't. Why are only TWELVE of Fortune Global 500 CEOs women? Why is the highest paid female CEO's salary less than HALF of the highest paid male CEO's? Why are women vloggers like Laci Green being threatened for stating her (highly controversial) opinions, while male counterparts are considered to be clever and witty and have millions of followers? Why are there so many harassment suits being filed by women in the RCMP? Why do women bring each other down by making blanket (and epically false) statements like "Women aren't funny!"? Why do I not feel safe walking by myself in the evening, but do feel safe with a man? Why do we, men and women alike, let our society continue on like this? Why aren't we demanding more of each other? Why is nothing changing?
I'm by no means a bra-burning, stick-it-to-the-man, eliminate-all-the-boys feminist. I like men. I like being a woman and I like chivalry. But I wish more men - especially more young men - were educated on women's issues. I read a great interview with Louise Brealey, actor in Sherlock and a journalist and militant feminist, where she said:
"Seriously, though, I'd like every man who doesn't call himself a feminist to explain to the women in his life why he doesn't believe in equality for women."She goes on to call out women, too, and challenges everyone to start seriously redefining gender roles, rules and restrictions. Women alone can't change society; men need to change their perceptions as well, and then MAYBE we can start to make some serious progress.
I know there is so much more to be said about equality: gender, sexuality, race, religion, ethnicity, economically. I think these are all battles that are worth it. I am taking up the mantle: will you join me?
Number of books read in 2012: 15
Current TV series: The Final Enemy
Current Nail Colour: Essie's "Cute As a Button"