Feminista: perspectives on modern feminism

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I have been spending entirely too much time on Hunger Games-themed Tumblrs.

My Google search history consists of Jennifer Lawrence, “Catching Fire” and Advice Peeta Memes.

I have already written about the book, but that was before I saw the movie. And no matter what anyone says, seeing a book adapted to film breathes a whole new life to the phenomenon.

The movie was great, but I am almost positive that someone else will review it and do a better job than I can.

What I want to talk about is the message that both the book and the movies give to young people like you and me and how we should, in my opinion, go about emulating Katniss and Peeta and those who fight with them.

Feminism is deeply rooted in activism.

As parts of a strong social movement, feminists all over the world are running nonprofits, writing blogs and serving in their governments.

Feminism demands that women and men take their destinies into their own hands. And that is exactly what the Hunger Games is about.

I think plenty of people—liberal and conservative, feminist or not—are upset with the political and social situations in the country right now, and maybe even those of the world as a whole.

Maybe it’s my mom’s dead-set belief in the Mayan doomsday prophecy that has me writing this, but I am feeling a more than a little concerned about the state of our social structure at the moment.

Three things happened this week that, after seeing the Hunger Games, really pushed me over the edge.

The first was the Arizona law that essentially bans books from public-school classrooms which do not feature primarily white characters.

Second was the brutal and deadly beating of an Iraqi-American woman, killed in her home by people who left a note saying she was “a terrorist” and telling her to “go home.”

Thirdly came the legislation proposed in our own state that would allow for the names of abortion providers as well as patients to be released to the public, a blatantly anti-choice law.

The first sets me on edge because I’m only about half white.

But even if I were 100 percent Caucasian, I would have reason to be upset with this law.

Arizona lawmakers are stating that any non-white character represents a threat to young children because it teaches them that non-male, non-Eurocentric ideas are not only incorrect but defective and dangerous.

It is a completely elitist take on a law that I can hardly believe is actually being put into practice in 21st-century America.

The second is an issue that hits particularly close to home for me.

As someone who works hard to debunk many of the existing stereotypes about Muslim women, finding out that this woman was beaten to death simply because she was different than what some are comfortable with is appalling.

The third issue is not a new idea. Many anti-choice legislators have tried to pull things like this for years.

The reason why this is upsetting is because it is happening right on our doorstep. No matter how many petitions I sign or representatives I call, anti-choice and anti-women legislation continues to crop up more often than not.

All of these things are disheartening.

Sometimes, activism just doesn’t seem like enough.

This week, writing this column feels like a waste of time. Bad things keep happening, and in these moments, it feels like hatred and discrimination have the upper hand.

And maybe they do.

Maybe they always will.

I have had many people tell me that prejudice will never go away, that I should give up and get off my soapbox.

But I can’t afford to do that.

Even if you disagree with everything I will ever say about gender equality in this column, I hope that you agree that just because times are nowhere near easy does not mean that we can jump ship.

Like Katniss and Peeta, we have a game to play.

It is ultimately up to each one of us what we do with the time we are given, but I believe that unless we are trying, everyday, to make the world better than it was yesterday, we are failing—ourselves and each other.

Sometimes, we have to force people to listen, to know that change is all right.

My favorite Dr. Seuss saying is from the Lorax, who says, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, it’s not going to change. It’s not.”

Nothing could be truer than that statement. We have to fight on, each and every one of us, or all is lost.

I’ll take the nightlock if you will.

One thought on “Feminista: perspectives on modern feminism

  • July 2, 2012 at 1:24 am
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    I can’t believe I feel the same way. Don’t know if you are a real feminist or not since I don’t know you and there has been lately a group of persons calling themselves feminist when they have perverted the original definition of feminist by saying feminism ask for equality (which is a chauvinist statement), but what you’ve written is correct.

    Reply

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