Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Mary Wollstonecraft

Joana Aziz Open letter to Dear Man

Dear Men, It Is Time to Step Up

An open letter from a feminist requesting male solidarity

I was having a discussion with four male colleagues, and I suddenly realized that I was being interrupted constantly.

Even though I am well versed on the topic, my input, for most of the time, was rendered useless.
It’s not the first time I encounter such a predicament among male presence.

My standpoint has been disregarded, devalued and belittled too many times that it prompts me to write this piece.
I’m tired of being systematically patronized simply because I am a woman.

It is these mundane exchanges of micro-aggression that construct larger disturbances in power dynamics. Disturbances where women still do not possess autonomous control over their own bodies.

Reproductive rights, the wage gap, and under-representation are important gender-based issues that we (men and women) have to actively tackle.

The struggle to achieve gender equality has been underway for 200 years now. It was launched by Mary Wollstonecraft with her treatise A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792.

First-wave feminism enlisted the efforts of suffragettes like Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters who granted us our current right to vote.

The second-wave feminist movement during the 1960’s challenged conventional gender roles demanding opportunity in occupational fields that is our right to work.

Third-wave feminism which began in the early 1990s recognized the importance of ‘inter-sectionality’.

Kimberlé Crenshaw is the leading scholar responsible for coining the term. As a Civil Rights activist Crenshaw recognizes that in order to successfully dissect the hegemony of power, we must account for the nature of social categorizations such as race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Fourth-wave feminism, sometimes known as post-feminism, is what we are experiencing now.

With the aid of social media, the 21st century is seeing the re-emergence of feminism in full throttle. Movements like #Metoo, for example, brought awareness to the often overlooked prevalence of sexual harassment and assault.

USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar had sexually abused more than 100 female athletes throughout his career.

When the victims approached the administration where they trained with complaints, they were silenced and disregarded. Such cases might have continued to be ignored but with the support of #MeToo, the once victims now empowered women testified in court and held their abuser accountable.

Dear Men,

We have come a long way, but we still have miles ahead.

We still live in a largely male-dominated society where beliefs of superiority shape regressive attitudes towards women.

It’s time to step up.

It’s time to accept the responsibility you share in the construction of social values.

To be aware that silence in moments of injustices are acts of complicity and social progression requires your involvement.

Here is what you can do:

1- Acknowledge your Privileges

Acknowledge that being born male instantaneously grants you privileges in our patriarchal structure and conversely being born female instantaneously puts us at a disadvantage.

Acknowledge that you might hold covert judgments and preconceived notions about women. The society and the culture you were brought up in, even if indirectly, teaches the systemic subordination of women.

Acknowledge that opportunity is curved in your favor, as you are more likely to be accepted to universities,  jobs, and positions of leadership.

2- Listen to us

Listen to us when we speak whether in a personal, intimate or professional setting.

More often than not, I find myself in positions where I am talked at as opposed to talk to. I can clearly identify that my male counterpart is not listening to me but rather is assuming he knows the veracity of the situation and is willing to dissect and explain it to me.

The female voice is devalued and underrepresented in various positions from lead roles in filmsto seats in Parliament. A 2017 study revealed that men had substantially more lines in films – 37,000 dialogues – whereas women had just over 15,000.

Moreover, in many cases taking the female character out of the film doesn’t change the story or plot line. We are not generally not exposed to strong female figures which might explain why women in Lebanon account for 3.1 percent of the deputies in parliament – four out of 128 seats in Parliament.

Established norms have enabled the trivialization of women’s speech.

A 2014 analysis concluded ‘that men were nearly three times as likely to interrupt a woman as they were a man.’ These opportunities for change are found in everyday life where the simple act of listening is an act of resistance.

3- Don’t support acts of Objectification

We, as a society, have been conditioned to scrutinize women’s appearance.

The distribution of gender roles teaches girls and women that the greater part of their value comes from their looks. Media’s representation also largely supports the judgments and objectification of women’s physicality.

This has not only been proven to lower women’s self-esteem and lead to self-objectification but has been linked to dehumanization and accepted levels of violence towards women.

Chose to become aware of instances of objectification. Refuse to participate in “locker room talk” and highlight the dangers of its perpetuation.

4- Accept cuts

While many dispute the existence of the wage gap, the truth is women make 79 cents on the dollar compared with men. Women earn less in almost every occupation including sports where female athletes earn an average of 23.4% less than their male counterparts.

Such impositions are due to the interconnected web of gender stereotypes which dictates how women should work and how much they should earn.

Leveling the playing field in terms of gender equality would require men to accept some drawbacks.

For example, earlier this month six of the BBC’s leading male presenters agreed to take pay cuts after revelations of wage disparity between female co-workers emerged.

But what about men?

I truly believe that the patriarchal system is oppressive towards everyone, male and female alike.

Men are coerced into a system of stereotypes as well and challenging it requires the cumulative effort of those involved. As we tackle one side of the spectrum (that oppresses women), we would inevitably be tackling the other side (which oppresses men).

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 140

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

Deep down, a father will never admit that his sons are more capable and intelligent than him: If he had the same opportunities and facilities than what his sons were enjoying, he would have been a much better professional and successful person. And his sons would have never been born too

Il avait tendance a une ascetisme dans l’abondance: pas de gaspillades dans les fetes, pas de bavardages, pas de plaisanteries salace

Il venait de l’enfance, etait fait de ses desirs de gamine, n’avait rien de concret et pas tourne’ vers un futur, mais elle l’aurait attire’, avec son experience de lui, pour une nuit sans lendemain

I’m afraid, if in this new wave of Islamic frenzies, if UN women rights are Not attached to the case of Jerusalem as an aberration, women will be facing more religious restrictions in their respective societies

I have the impression that Twitter is catering to the will of its shareholders and neglecting the purpose of spreading free expressions of its subscribers: limiting the number of followers.

Si vous comptez aux autres pour eveiller et ranimer votre curiosite’, vous etre mal au point pour la duree’

The ultimate opportunist and pragmatist: showering money and opportunities on Erdogan of Turkey to deliver on divergent short-term goals

After 7 consecutive days of marches and demonstrations ill all Palestine West Bank provinces and Gaza, a dozen killed by live bullets, over 600 hospitalized by suffocation from “upgraded” gases, and hundred savagely beaten and administratively detained… can we talk that another intifada has started and will increase in crescendo? Are the BBC and Euronews covering the atrocities of the Israelis and the number of fallen Palestinians?

“If a Woman has the rights to mount the scaffold. She should have the rights to equally mount the rostrum, provided that these manifestations do not trouble public order as established by law…” French Olympe de Gouges

French Olympe de Gouges: Born Marie Gouze, she produced her own version of the French declaration of human rights in Sept.1791, which had excluded women from the document on the ground that women are not considered citizens.

Olympe de Gouges was sent to the guillotine on Nov. 3, 1793 because she challenged the “barbarous prejudice” against unmarried women with children…” and for denouncing publicly the increasing savagery of the revolution…

The English Mary Wollstonecraft wrote “A Vindication of the rights of woman”, promoted woman’s right to education, and lambasted the marriage institution as “legalized prostitution”

When members of a club start congregating in close small knit groups (shelal), betzakkar a7zaab Loubnaniyya, ma fi zabad, taba3iyyat fakat.

Kel 3omro yemssa7 joukh (appease): saar 7alla al naass temssa7 joukho?

Bte3te2ed al jessem byou3a bil sobo7 bidoun kem a77at?

Ma kaan ye2der yemssa7 joukh kel 7ayato: 7abeb yet3allam yemssa7 joukh la ba3d naass kaadirat bass maghmourat

Revised “Declaration of Women’s Rights”

Joan Smith, in her “The Public Woman” book, ended with a “Declaration of the rights of women”.

This declaration was drawn from the experiences and activism of many women who fought for the rights of women since the American and French Revolutions such as:

1.  The French Olympe de Gouges:  Born Marie Gouze, she produced her own version of the French declaration of human rights in Sept.1791, which had excluded women from the document on the ground that women are not considered citizens. She wrote:

Woman has the rights to mount the scaffold. She should have the rights to equally mount the rostrum, provided that these manifestations do not trouble public order as established by law…”

She was sent to the guillotine on Nov. 3, 1793 because she challenged the “barbarous prejudice” against unmarried women with children…” and for denouncing publicly the increasing savagery of the revolution…

2. The English Mary Wollstonecraft wrote “A Vindication of the rights of woman”, promoted woman’s right to education, and lambasted the marriage institution as “legalized prostitution”

3. The Suffragist movement

4. Simone de Beauvoir of “The Second Sex”… https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2008/10/22/the-second-sex/

I added clauses in parenthesis to the original 12 clauses, which Western culture takes for granted:

1. Women are born free and equal to men

2. Women and girls have the same rights of bodily integrity as men and boys

3. Women have a right to safe contraception and abortion

4. Girls are entitled to same level of education as boys

5. No one, male or female, should be married under the age of 16

6. Both genders have an unconditional right to use and enjoy public spaces

7.  Women have the right to exercise, take part in sport and observe it on the same terms as men

8. Children should not be required to adopt religious forms of dress

9. The law should not dictate how adults dress

10. Women have a right to equal working conditions and pay as men

11. The law should require full transparency in pay schedule and the equal pay right be enforced by the government

12. Women should enjoy the same property and inheritance right as men

13. Sexual abuse is as abhorrent as racism

14. Separation of State and Church is essential to protect secular equality between genders

15. The State has a moral obligation to ensure that women and girls are free to enjoy their rights and to guarantee them when denied…

16. (Women have the same right as men to vote and to run for public offices)

17. (Women must acquire full citizenship as men).

For example, women in Lebanon cannot pass citizenship to their non-Lebanese husband or to their children. Unless the husband is from a western developed State or pretty rich. In such cases, women won’t give a hoot about her Lebanese passport… Read: Lebanese women cry out https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/lebanese-women-cry-foul-112-get-citizenship-and-none-for-their-children/

18. Equal opportunities to higher level jobs (regardless of the biased qualification criteria drawn by men)

19. Women right to drive car, train, airplane…

20. Women rights to mount a bike, a horse, a man (her preferred intercourse technique…)

21. (Unmarried woman with children should enjoy the same rights as unmarried men…)

22. Children should remain the joint custody for both parents at any age of the children, and never separate them to give preference to any party of the family, if the conditions do not involve criminal activities or addictions

23. Mortgage evaluation to purchase properties should not discriminate against single working women, on the assumption that they will eventually get pregnant and stop working full time. And the State should guarantee the enforcement of this law.

24. Women and adult girls should have the right to travel without the written consent from husband, father, or elder brother…

25. Women and adult girls should have the right to have a personal bank account without the written consent from husband, father, or elder brother…

Do add as many clauses as your particular society discriminates against women. Do not assume that any clause implicitly cover your particular case.

Note 1: French women got Full citizenship in 1944

Note 2: English women snatched the right to vote by 1914

Note 3: US women got the right to vote around 1912


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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