Friday, 9 March 2012

Cause and Effect

Ok, so it's been a while.

But it is International Women's day... sometime this week maybe... so there's been a lot of things floating around that are relevant to my interests.

Firstly this.
If you don't believe we still need feminism, just take a look at the tweeted horror stories. The sheer numbers of them, all showing the same damn themes, is horrifying. This is not isolated cases, this is all women, everywhere. And these are just the ones who live in the English speaking part of the world that has twitter.

Secondly, I'd like to call your attention to this video.

It's a great video. And provides some good ideas for how girls can try and change things.


We're talking about teenage girls here. And personally, I don't think it's fair to off-load all the responsibility for their mental wellbeing in the face of crappy media stereotyping on to them.
a) It's not their fault they're being bombarded with images that destroy their self-esteem.
b) They can isolate themselves from some of this harmful crap, but not all of it by any means, and there are certain parts that they can't isolate themselves from if they want to have a social life. Unless all the girls in your school aren't concerned with image and fashion and what was on TV the other night, you're going to loose out socially for not being into all of that stuff as well. And bang goes all that self-esteem.
c) They're teenage girls, ffs. That's a hard time for either gender, trying to find your place in the world is bad enough without having all the responsibility for changing it on your shoulders too.
d) This can only work as a collaborative effort. As long as society remains the same, all girls can do is damage control. Which is not to say that the suggestions are bad, or that girls shouldn't do them, just... it can't be the only thing we do.
It's a bit like those "rape awareness" campaigns that focus on what the victim "should" do to stay safe. Yes, it's sensible to not drink too much, yes, it's sensible to avoid bad areas, yes, it's sensible to use a buddy system, BUT; that kind of thing puts the focus on the victim, when it should be on the criminal, it can't prevent all rapes (though it might help one or two women. Might), and it should not be the way we tackle rape prevention. This is the same. It can only be damage reduction, and occasionally help some girls. Unless society changes, and stops forcing self-esteem destroying stuff down our throats at every turn, we're not going to solve the problem of their being too few female leaders by telling young girls to be role-models and stop reading fashion magazines.

Just to highlight my point, here are a few of the comments posted under this video on youtube...

there's a low percentage of female leaders for a reason, it's called evolution. - leakeg

by a woman's touch, do you mean it needs tidying up and some sandwiches? if so, i agree! - gnglulz

This is what happen when women go out of the kitchen - xmadxlamerx

Well as a guy, all I know is this: women are naturally emotional, sensitive, sympathetic and moody. So with these traits in mind, you can say, women are better off as a lovely worm mother than a great iconic leader.
But I already said, I don't deny that women can manage things well, but not the whole way up to be a leader. - AbuSaa

I don't deny the fact that women can manage things, but I'm against women to be in power. Thats all. - AbuSaa

Women are not meant to be leaders. - AbuSaa

Ok, so three of those are from the same person (though they aren't all that he said) and were (thankfully) opposed by more than one commenter, but when even something so positive and affirming can be hi-jacked by dipshits arguing - not over how we can encourage more women into leadership roles - but even if they should be allowed there in the first place... is it any wonder that girls are being put off? They know they'll have to slog through this negativity for the rest of their careers if they choose that path, and it won't go away, even if they achieve their goals. Looking good according to today's standards might be just as difficult to achieve as success in any other field, but when it's the one field where women are going to get some sort of approbation for getting there, can you blame girls for choosing that road?

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