Blaming the Victim

Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act are held entirely or partially responsible for the harm that befell them. (Wikipedia) We see this alot in society in cases of rape, sexual harrassment, and physical/mental abuse. We often see the women blamed for these awful situations in which she obviously has no fault. It baffles me that any kind of rapist or abuser can be found to have just cause because a woman was “asking for it”.

Common accusations towards victims tend to be along the lines of:

1. Look at what you were wearing, no wonder you got raped.

2. You’re open about your sex life, no wonder people always come on to/ harrass you.

3. You openly admit you’re gay, no wonder you’re discriminated against.

4. You spoke your own opinions, no wonder he hit you.

The list goes on and on and the scenarios get more and more mind blowing.

I do not care what I decided to walk out into the street in, I do not care if I am naked, that does not excuse someone raping me nor does it make it my fault that I was raped should it happen. I don’t bend my opinions/beliefs to any man nor will I let him talk me down and if I stand up for myself, I do not deserve to be, nor was I asking to be, hit. Just because I’m comfortable about myself to openly admit that I am gay, bisexual, etc. does not mean that I deserve any discrimination that comes my way. Point blank, it is not the victim’s fault so stop blaming them!

It is such a tragedy to live in a society where a woman is afraid to speak up, or finds it useless to anyways, against one who has abused her for knowledge that she will be blamed and the abuser will get off scott free. 

What ever happened to justice? Stop blaming the victim and start persecuting the abuser!

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Biological Determinism

As quoted from Finally A Feminist 101 Blog biological determinism is characterized as : “the belief that there are uniquely feminine and uniquely masculine essences which exist independently of cultural conditioning. Both actual (minor) and alleged (major) differences between the sexes have been used to justify inequities and constraints which harm women emotionally, financially and physically.”

(http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/05/10/faq-but-men-and-women-are-born-different-isnt-that-obvious/) <—Link to page that quote has been taken from.

Moving on…

How is it that one’s sex makes him/her better at some thing more than the other? Just because I am a woman I cannot be intelligent enough to be an engineer? Just because I am a woman I am genetically predisposed to enjoy barbies and housecleaning while despising building blocks and Chevy trucks? Makes no sense.

How is it that genetics can possibly predispose me to a predisposition filled with preferences and dislikes common TO ALL WHO BELONG TO MY SEX?! It’s not so! This is the biggest crock of you know what that I’ve ever heard and continue to hear! Oh you’re a girl you don’t know what you’re talking about get back into the kitchen. Don’t pursue your PhD, go take up a secretarial job and let your husband earn the money. It all just makes me want to throw up.

There are women who love to build things, get muddy, and sweaty working on cars, machinery etc. There are men who love to cook and work in interior design. There are women who do love to cook and take care of their families and mean who love to work with tools. They are all individuals, we all are individuals and our preferences/abilites are not based upon our sex, they are based upon WHO WE ARE as I N D I V I D U A L S. Do not tell me that because I am a woman, I am not capable of what a man is capable of.

If I am athletically built enough I can run just as fast and long as a man. I can lift as much as a man. I can do the same mathematical equations to the same or better extent as a man. I am human just as much as he is so don’t you dare throw me into some box you’ve created in order to continue to push me down the societal hierarchy.

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My Body, My Decisions, My Right

http://www.alternet.org/republicans-push-700-new-laws-regulate-womens-bodies

The above link states that in 2013, within just the first three months of the year, hundreds of laws were proposed by republicans dictating proposals on the banning of abortions, sex ed guidelines, and we can only imagine what else…. In fact, the tagline of the article reads, “In the first quarter of 2013, states have proposed 694 provisions related to a woman’s body, how she gets pregnant, or how she chooses to end that pregnancy.”

Excuse me, why are a bunch of men given authority to make such decisions regarding the bodies of women. 

Taken from wikipedia (source of all quick and to the point definitions):

Reproductive rights are “legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive health. The World Health Organization defines reproductive rights as follows:

Reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. They also include the right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence.”

 Now if you and I are both reading this correctly, the definition of reproductive rights seems to be telling me that I have a right to do what I want with my body without a legislature of men telling me what I can and cannot do (“free of discrimination, coercion”).  I also have the right to decide whether I do or do not want children, I have the right to have access to methods of abortion should I so choose, and to make decisions that are best for my own personal body. I don’t think I’m reading too far into the definition, I think that a bunch of men are keeping the definition of true reproductive rights hidden and safeguarded so that they can legislate what they’ve no right or insight to.
I find it appalling how much time and energy is spent on telling me whether or not I have the right to have an abortion. What are we ignoring in the world as we sit around arguing about the state of my vagina? What about wars, poverty, abuse, anything else in the world other than what I decide to do with my own body?
No one sits around and dictates a man’s sex life and whether or not he is allowed to leave a mother he has gotten pregnant, leaving her a single parent. No one gives a damn what the male is up to but as soon as a woman decides she wants to have control over her own health, there are 646+ reasons why she cannot (according to all bills presented in regards to the matter of women’s sexual health, decisions, etc.)
I’m going to make something quite clear: WHAT A WOMAN DOES WITH HER BODY IS HER C-H-O-I-C-E.
If you don’t like it? Awesome, it’s not your body. Now go on with your day.
See how easy that was? Why do we need to tell women what they can and cannot do. You don’t like it? Big deal. Leave our options open. Aren’t we supposed to be about equality and freedom for all? Why don’t we, as a country, as a Congress, start acting upon our words?
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77 Cents to the Dollar

“Here are the facts:

  • The pay gap hasn’t budged in a decade.
    In 2012, as in 2002, among full-time, year-round workers, women were paid 77 percent of what men were paid.
  • Women in every state experience the pay gap, but some states are worse than others.
    The best place in the United States for pay equity is Washington, D.C., where women were paid 90 percent of what men were paid in 2012. At the other end of the spectrum is Wyoming, the worst state in the country for pay equity, where women were paid just 64 percent of what men were paid.
  • The pay gap is worse for women of color.
    Compared with non-Hispanic white men, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian women were paid 66 percent, African American women were paid 64 percent, American Indian/Alaska Native women were paid 60 percent, and Hispanic women were paid just 53 percent.
  • Women face a pay gap in nearly every occupation.
    From elementary and middle school teachers to computer programmers, women are paid less than men in female-dominated, gender-balanced, and male-dominated occupations.
  • The pay gap grows with age.
    Among younger workers, women are paid about 90 percent of what men are paid. From around age 35 through retirement, women are typically paid 75–80 percent of what men are paid.
  • While more education is an effective tool for increasing earnings, it is not an effective tool against the gender pay gap.
    At every level of academic achievement, women’s median earnings are less than men’s earnings, and in some cases, the gender pay gap is larger at higher levels of education.
  • The pay gap also exists among women without children.
    AAUW’s Graduating to a Pay Gap found that among full-time workers one year after college graduation — nearly all of whom were childless — women were paid just 82 percent of what their male counterparts were paid.”

The above list of facts about the current state of the pay gap between genders is from the following link:

http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

I chose this list from this particular report, The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap”, as it dispels the myths that women are paid less because they choose low paying jobs, have children, or even that women simply work less than men. (All bogus myths in the first place if I must say so myself. Some of the hardest workers I know are women.)

The pay gap, on average, allots women 77 cents on the dollar that a man makes. OUTRAGEOUS! The pay gap affects women of all races, professions, and ages (some even affected more than others!)

Why should I be working three jobs and going to school, barely able to support myself, while many of my male friends make exceptional amounts of money, far more than I can make in three jobs, at one! Also, I’ve noticed over the years I’ve spent as a women (ha) that it is significantly harder to get a job as a woman! I have witnessed myself and a male go out for the same job, I with the bigger resume, and I’ve lost the job to him! (This has happened on many occasions.) The point is. Women are capable of doing the same work as men so why do they not get paid the same? I’m sorry but if I spend 50+ hours in the office and make 77 cents per each dollar my male counterparts make, I’m going to be pissed.

I do not even know how this continues to go on in this country. I hear it often said matter-of-factly that yes this is what a woman makes and this is what a man makes. I often see many shake their heads in response and go on with their lives. Uhm, hold on BACK UP you were just told that because of your GENDER or your GENDER AND RACE you make less money than a MAN of EQUAL STATURE! How does this not bug the hell out of women everywhere?

If a woman is a scientist she should make a scientist’s wage. If she is an engineer, she should make an engineer’s wage. Doctor, lawyer, professor,etc. etc. the list goes on affecting all women of all professions of all ages and of all races. This is a pretty huge dilemma. Just another sick reminder of our place in this patriarchal society- almost equal to men…hah not even almost, but nonetheless far from equal within the eyes of the society as a whole. It is wrong and I think it needs to be a larger issue than it currently is.

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Privilege Within Our Society

Privilege is defined as having unearned entitlements which are “things of value that no one should have to earn, they should be universal to all.” However, when only certain groups are alotted such unearned entitlements, it gives way to becoming an unearned advantage. [referencing Braden’s lecture on the subject matter]

I chose the photo below as it depicts a man who knows that he is privileged through circumstance of having the persona of an elderly white male. He is the epitomy of what is considered privileged in the eyes of society and he knows it. The sign he is holding which reads “defend rights for women and girls” is, yes, inspiring and commendable however it is sad that in our society when women want to speak up against men, men must still speak for them in order that their voice will really be heard by the majority(how does that make any sense?!)

Now privilege does also dig a little deeper than whether one is a man or woman. Privilege can be based upon one’s race, financial situation, education level, sexuality, style of dress, etc.etc.etc.

It’s true a white woman has privilege over a minority woman. It’s true a white man has privilege over a minority man, a minority woman, and a white woman. While this is, horrifyingly, true this does not make it right. This system of privilege persists because it is not challenged. Yes, there are exceptions- for instance if one is a queen, king, innovative mind, etc. then perhaps they become the privileged ones. However, even that does not make it “okay”. There should be no ranking system- why should anybody be placed higher on the scale of importance above anybody else? Are we not all human? This man in the picture shows just through his actions and few words that he understands there is injustice, and he understands he is a part of the system that is allowing it to continue- but he is not standing for it, he is standing against it. He’s decided to take his advantage and use it to make it so that the oppressed will be heard (at least by those who walk by him on the street or come across the image as I did).

Privilege exists, it persists, and will only continue as long as the oppressed continue to play into what society believes that “their place” is- below those deemed “privileged”.

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Rape Culture

Rape culture is “a concept that links rape and sexual violence to the culture of a society, and in which prevalent attitudes and practices normalize, excuse, tolerate, and even condone rape.” One doesn’t have to look very hard to see the prevalence of rape culture within our society through victim blaming, the sexual objectification of women, and the lack of seriousness with which rape is taken and considered within our society. 

Women are often blamed for the abuse they’ve sustained, accused of being out an an improper time, wearing “rapist attracting” clothing, or perhaps even that they “should have known better” than to be alone where they were, when they were there. 

It isn’t hard to see why it is that women are targets for such a terrible act when magazines, billboards, tv advertisements, etc. are CONSTANTLY portraying women as sexual objects and, even worse, sexual objects that bow to the every will of men. Emphasis on OBJECTS.

Everywhere I go I hear rape jokes in the form of “I’m going to rape you”, etc. I’m sorry but I do not personally find that funny or something to be taken lightly AT ALL. Why has it become okay within our society to make fun of/trivialize such a serious issue? Many women suffer PTSD and emotional trauma due to rape and really are never the same person for the duration of the rest of our lives, but it is okay to make a joke out of it?! NO!

It is beyond absurd that women continue to be blamed for their abuse, that men get away with it under such excuses as “Well, did you see what she was wearing?” I do not care if she was walking down the street completely naked, she was not asking to be raped nor did she deserve such abuse and certainly she does not deserve to be blamed for that abuse! GIVE ME A BREAK! I believe the two pictures below do a good job of illustrating the aforementioned points. It’s true, no one looks to the rapist and asks such useless and absurd questions and women shouldn’t have to base their lives around the possibility that she might attract the attention of a rapist! Let’s put the blame on the perpetrators, not the victims. Let’s stop perpetuating a culture in which this abuse persists through trivialization and promotion (through this trivialization and sexualization of women) of such a terrible crime!

 

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Patriarchy Within Our Society

Patriarchy is defined as, “a social system in which males are the primary authority figures central to social organization, occupying roles of political leadership, moral authority, and control of property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination.”

“You hit like a girl.” “Man up.” “Don’t cry like a little girl.” “Woman’s work.”

The list continues forever. If one sat down long enough and tried to think up derogatory terms toward women or those phrases that place men as stronger and more competent than women- he would not have to think very long or very hard. Within our male dominated society, men have been placed as heroes, bread winners, inventors, catalysts of change, etc. etc. while a woman’s place has been established as a child bearer, nurturer, and servant to her husband. A woman has every capability that a man does: she can be smart, she can be strong, she can be a hero or a catalyst for change, but in the eyes of our society her best will never be enough- she will always be one step below her male “equivalent”.

We live in a society in which women are second-rate citizens, even moreso if they are of a minority status. A woman makes less money for every dollar than a man who holds the same position as she does. There has never been a female president as well as there is a very minimal presence of women within Congress and other areas of government. It is also very apparent that jobs have been divided into “women’s” and “men’s”. For any that are to make an attempt to refute the fact, by perhaps pointing to a female mechanic or marine I’ll respond that yes while she can hold this position, it is not without many obstacles, jeering, harrassment, etc. that she has come to hold and further maintain such a position- guaranteed.

The below video serves to expose just how visible the divide between men and women within our society truly is. This successful women depicted in the video is seen as arrogant and bossy while her male equivalent is considered strong and confident. It is sad that we live in a world where a woman can work her way up to a high position and still be ridiculed and considered incompetent as she watches a man of the same position be praised for the same position and skills. I think this video does an excellent job of illustrating this point.