Happy New Year’s from South Korea!
Last night, (two night ago for you because of the time difference) I rang in the new year with the help of a big bell and about 50 hugs from random Koreans and a few men from Nepal. It was a blast.
So, to start off my first New Years post I thought I would share some of my wishes for feminism/social activism in the New Year, and excluding that one goal to date Alexander Skarsgard (if only I’d been born as Kate Bosworth!), I’ll share some of my own New Year’s resolutions in this area.
Goal number one: See the positive.
Feminists and other social activists tend to get a bad rap sometimes; people tend to see us as whiny or bored, wealthy over-indulgent suburbanites who need something to do.
It’s not a very nice stereotype and I don’t think it’s true, nor do I think it’s appropriate to belittle people who are sincerely trying to help others and make the world a better place.
That said, there are times when we overlook good things that are happening in order to point out the bad. So feminist New Years resolution number one is to not get so caught up in the negatives of this world (of which there are many) that I fail to see progress.
I think this is especially important in terms of longevity for the feminist movement—if we do not see progress happening, some people may give up trying to change things (just as the converse is true—if people see only the good, they become complacent and stop participating).
So, to share something positive, I’m going to share this article in National Geographic about child brides (which I’ve shared here before), however this time, read from paragraph 14 on the second page (the link should take you straight to the second page) wherein reside the incredible stories of a few girls who were able to fight back, escape, and are now educating others on the great evil that is child brides. These girls are a mighty example of the incredible power of a few brave souls and they demonstrate the fact that change is happening, slowly to be sure, but it’s happening. And it is good.
Goal number two: Become active in charities, volunteer organizations and communities that actively support women and the ideals of equality for both sexes.
I think I’m a good person, for the most part: I don’t litter, I give up my seat on buses and subways for the elderly and infirm, I donate to charities when I can and I graciously shower the world with my wisdom through the penultimate power of blogging (yippee-ki-yay!).
But is that enough? Do the stacks of cereal boxes and milk cartoons piled up near my door and my “Save the Whales” status updates blaze trails through the dark forests of oppression and hate that grow all over our world? Despite my clever wordplay and brilliant imagery (cough), I’m no Lewis and Clark.
Therefore, goal number two for this year is to become even more active in reaching out and helping others. Personally, I’d like to start volunteering and as a traveler, I know I have lots of opportunities to help out in the countries I visit.
But more than that, I want to be a little more outgoing in righting the wrongs of this world; I’d like to act like the last woman in this video who was strong enough to stand up for and protect someone who was in danger.
Goal number three: Eschew those things that do not support women and the ideals of equality for humanity.
There are a lot of companies and organizations in this world that make their money off of the oppression and ill fortune of others. Sweatshops, child labor are just a few of these methods and unfortunately, some of the companies and stores that I frequent utilize those kinds of factories and employees.
Goal number three then, be more aware of these companies and do my best to avoid financially supporting them.
Goal number four: Do not sell myself short in my own goals and ideals and don't be afraid to share my opinions.
While no one I know has ever asked me to share my opinion just a little more, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t. That’s right dear friends and enemies, all of you that think I don’t shut up enough as it, be prepared for 2012 because this year, I’m going to be on fire!
You may not believe it, but there’s been lots of times that I held my tongue to avoid a fight or stepping on someone’s toes, and while I don’t want to get crazy (or become crazy) I think it’s also time that I worried less about offending someone, and more about doing what’s right.
On a more personal, touchy-feely emotional level, I also want to stop selling myself short. I’m constantly surrounded by and made aware of incredible and inspiring people. I see writers, artists, journalists, activists and friends that are doing so much for the world and interacting with others in such a positive way, that I sometimes think I could never be as worthwhile as they are.
But that’s not the case. Realizing our potential to assist in changing the world is something that we should not deny ourselves.
Goal number five: Be funny
A lot of people don’t think that feminists have a sense of humor; I mean, we don’t laugh at sexual harassment jokes, we yell at politicians online for the sexist cracks they make, and we even hate hilarious commercials and advertisements that may feature a bit of gender mocking. I mean, how dare we be so uppity and lame, right?
But I’m here today to share the hilarity of funny women. Just because we don’t laugh at your stupid, demeaning jokes, doesn’t mean we don’t have a sense of humor, it just means we’re better than you (JK!).
Seriously though (I’m so ironic), there are loads of people out there who are legitimately funny and who I love laughing with.
To whit: Caitlyn Moran (I wrote a review of her latest book, here), Sarah Haskins, Sloane Crosley, Ellen DeGeneres, and this column written by women over at the rumpus (being published in this column is an on-going New Years resolution for me).
Incidentally, this is pretty much the shortest, most not all-inclusive list that has ever existed.
So there you have it world (or at least the ten people who read this), my goals for feminists and myself. Please, share your goals and resolutions (and funny people and websites) in the comments below.