Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Social Justice Event #2: UnSlut

On October 29th, I attended a viewing of the documentary Unslut which showed the stories of six girls whose lives were drastically affected by slut-shaming.  It was a very eye opening experience on how much power being labeled a slut has on a girl’s reputation and self-esteem.  One of the stories told in the documentary was about a girl named Rehtaeh.  One night Rehtaeh and a friend went to a party with a bunch of guys where she got really drunk.  A bunch of the guys decided to take advantage of her inebriation and took her upstairs to a bedroom where they proceeded to rape her and even took a picture of them having sex with her.  Later on, the picture ended up making its way around her school and that’s all it took for her reputation to change.  Everyone turned on her and started harassing her, calling her a slut and she only had one friend left to stand by her side.  In the end, the constant harassment became too much for Rehtaeh, and she ended up committing suicide.

This is an all too common problem!  People (especially kids in high school) throw around the word slut like it’s nothing to girls who are said to be sexually active or dress provocatively.  They never think that it could have such a drastic effect on a girl like it did with Rehtaeh.  This automatically made me think of the video Tough Guise that we watched because in all of the stories the girl’s problems were caused because the guy went to his friends and bragged or showed a picture of the girl naked and that’s where the girls get their slut status.  The guys want to be seen as manly by their peers by showing off who they slept with, with no regard to how it could affect the girl.

It also reminds me of the class where we talked about sex positivity because we need to change how our society views women who have sex.  Our society believes that only guys should want to have sex and any woman who wants sex is considered a slut or a whore.  Then in cases where a woman is raped, like in the documentary, this kind of thinking leads the woman believe that it the assault was her fault even though she was a victim.  This shows how powerful a single word can be and we need to work on ending the use of it.

This is the trailer for the video.  Please watch it and if you ever get the chance, watch the full documentary.  It is eye opening and can be life changing.

Fear of Feminism by Lisa Hogeland

Hyperlinks: Why Don't More People Call Themselves Feminists

In Lisa Hogeland’s piece, “Fear of Feminism: Why young women get the willies” she talks about some of the many reasons why so many young women are afraid to consider themselves feminists.  One of the biggest reasons is because so many people believe feminists are just angry lesbians that hate men, therefore if they call themselves feminists they are afraid that this stereotype will be placed on them too.  In this way, homophobia is what keeps so many from calling themselves feminists, so Hogeland tells us that, “Feminism requires that we confront that homophobia constantly.” 

Another reason many young women avoid the word feminist is in order to protect their romantic lives.  Hogeland says that “young women may believe that a feminist identity puts them out of the pool for many men, limits the options of who they might become with a partner, how they might decide to live.  They may not be wrong either: how many young men feminists or feminist sympathizers do you know?”  This is a legitimate point.  In the article that I posted above (“Why Don’t More People Call Themselves Feminists” by Jill Filipovic), it says that according to a poll in 2013 only 18% of men called themselves feminists compared to 38% of women.  That’s a ratio of less than 2:1, so you can imagine how difficult it would be for a female feminist to find a partner that wouldn’t be scared off by the title.

Also, in the article, Filipovic talks about what some celebrities say about feminism. “Taylor Swift isn’t a feminist because she doesn’t “think about things as guys versus girls”; Lady Gaga isn’t one because she “loves men”;… Shailene Woodley also “loves men” and believes in “sisterhood more than feminism.”  These are some celebrities that younger girls look up to, and they are giving them a bad definition of what a feminist really is. 
This is a pretty cool video from BuzzFeed that shows why feminism isn't a bad word.  Afterwards, I read some of the comments and saw how a lot of people were bashing the video continuing to say how feminists just hate men and they want women to have more power than men.  We need to get more people educated in what it really means to be a feminist because society is only giving feminism a bad name.