Sunday, April 8, 2012

We're Awesome

So it sort of feels like the world has exploded into an “I hate women” kind of atmosphere and it’s been dragging me down a bit lately. I mean, every time I do my morning Internet sweep I get a bit angry and depressed about the possibilities for my future as some sort of sexual-temptation machine (how dare I have a body that has curves and the ability to bear children).

Anyway, it felt like it was time for a bit of positive thinking.

It’s incredibly important for feminists to continue moving forward, to remember that we can make changes, that there are amazing women out there, and that women are influencing and helping to create a better world everyday.

So today, in light of that message, I’d like to give a little shout out to some of the female role models that are out there today and to some of the good things that have emerged from the feminist movement.

Cool lady number one is of course, Burmese politician, Aung San Suu Kyi. This incredible woman has proven her steadfast commitment to the ideals of freedom and democracy again and again, even going so far as to endure house arrest for years just for speaking out against her government.

In case you’re not completely familiar with the facts of her life, Aung San Suu Kyi was born to a powerful politician and was lucky and smart enough to receive an incredible world-class education, even obtaining a Ph.D in Oriental and African Studies. She returned to Burma and began to lead the pro-democracy movement, an action that led to her house arrest and her separation from her children and ailing husband.

Now, the Burmese government offered her the choice of leaving Burma or staying, but only under house arrest. Concerned that if she left she would never be allowed to return, this formidable woman chose to stay in her country despite the fact that she spent fifteen of the next twenty-one years under house arrest and even served jail time.

Throughout this whole debacle, Aung San Suu Kyi was an outposken campaigner for the ideals of democracy, believing in non-violent protest and speaking out against the fight for power that mars the face of political elections.

So internet, where’s the tumblr meme website for this incredible woman?

The Hollywood voice: So usually we all hate on Hollywood. A lot of the things produced by that institution/plastic-surgery-fueled-town are sexist and well, annoying (yeah, I’m looking at you, Michael Bay), however there are still good things and cool people working their magic over there.

For one, the unexpectedly cool Fran Drescher; Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, “The Nanny?” Really?
Really. Despite the high-pitched voice Ms. Drescher is what I would consider a strong, independent woman, who’s been able to not only make it in a male-dominated industry, but also participate in female-centered activitism. She’s a respected comedian, well-known producer, director and writer (even doing a stint on Saturday Night Live back in the day).

But what really makes her a person of interest for me is her support of LGBT issues (especially after her husband came out to her after almost twenty years of marriage; the two divorced, but have remained close friends and business partners) and her campaigns for women’s healthcare. She survived uterine cancer and has created non-profit organizations and charities to help spread awareness and relief for uterine cancer. In 2008 she even became a U.S. diplomat for Women’s Health issues and currently travels around the world to work with women’s health organizations. Don’t believe me? Feel free to check out the numerous awards that she’s received internationally in behalf of her thoughtful work towards women.

However, that’s not the only reason that I believe Ms. Drescher is someone to be admired, in 1985 two men broke into her home, assaulted her husband and then raped both her and another friend staying with them. Despite this horrific event, she was able to overcome the assault and is now actively campaigning for the safety and well-being of other women.

Rock-on sister.

The last little bit of good news I want to share with you today before I head off in search of vegetable-based food is to showcase the ideological changes finally starting to happen in our society.
For years we’ve told our young men that they’re not really romantic; instead, we’ve told them that the only thing they love is sex. It’s a flawed gender lie that we’ve been spreading for years and it did true harm to our young men. Society told them that they were weak and overly emotional if they fell in love; it told them that as a man they were purely physical creatures, driven by lust and testosterone. Was it any wonder then that the young men of America decided that they should behave that way?

Well finally, we’re starting to see things differently. The ages for a young man’s first sexual experience have risen by 3-4 years on average over the past twenty years; instead of “losing their virginity” at the age of 15, more young men are waiting until they leave high school and find someone that they truly love to share the experience.

I love this. Love is not only for women, teenage boys can feel it too and I think it’s fabulous that it’s becoming more and more acceptable for a boy to acknowledge his feelings of love and respect for the girls he’s intimate with.

So you see world, we are making progress; your bigoted attempts to return us to antiquated ideologies about gender just aren’t going to fly anymore. That’s right world, we have your number and we’re going to continue to feed our social angst until we reach that ultimate goal: equality.

What are some of the good people and things to emerge from the feminist movement that fill you with hope for our future?

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