Saturday, March 10, 2007

FAQ: Isn't feminism just "victim" politics?

updated 01May07

No. Women as a class are subjected to real hardship and oppression just because they are women. This is unjust. Pointing out that women are disproportionately victimised is accurate analysis, not "playing victim".

Witchy-Woo on the "will you women just stop whining" subtext:
I think that those who would rather avoid acknowledging the global injustices that women face, those who deem themselves successful in the struggle, those who find it easier to accuse us of ‘whining’ rather than critically examining their own role in those injustices when we speak about them, are further enabled in their deliberate ignorance by the “you can help yourself” school of thought. Individual solutions for collective problems don’t work.

Not everyone can help themselves. Should we stop speaking about that because it’s percieved as ‘whining’? Many, many women actually are victims - and many more still are survivors - should we, as feminists, really be saying “shit happens, get over it - I have” when, globally, the making of women as victims (and survivors) is systemic and political? I’m thinking, not.

I’m thinking the “stop whining” response is one that comes from those who’d like to close us down, shut us up, make us be quiet.
Read the whole thing.

Kevin T. Keith posted the following list from the UN about the worldwide traditions of impunity for violence committed against women:
  • Violence against women is the most common but least punished crime in the world.
  • It is estimated that between 113 million and 200 million women are demographically “missing.” They have been the victims of infanticide (boys are preferred to girls) or have not received the same amount of food and medical attention as their brothers and fathers.
  • The number of women forced or sold into prostitution is estimated worldwide at anywhere between 700,000 and 4,000,000 per year. Profits from sex slavery are estimated at seven to twelve billion US dollars per year.
  • Globally, women between the age of fifteen and forty-four are more likely to be maimed or die as a result of male violence than through cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war combined.
  • At least one out of every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Usually, the abuser is a member of her own family or someone known to her. Domestic violence is the largest form of abuse of women worldwide, irrespective of region, culture, ethnicity, education, class and religion.
  • It is estimated that more than two million girls are genitally mutilated per year, a rate of one girl every fifteen seconds.
  • Systematic rape is used as a weapon of terror in many of the world’s conflicts. It is estimated that between 250,000 and 500,000 women in Rwanda were raped during the 1994 genocide.
  • Studies show the increasing links between violence against women and HIV and demonstrate that HIV-infected women are more likely to have experienced violence, and that victims of violence are at higher risk of HIV infection.
KTK (Sufficent Scruples) then analysed how sexism leads to inequities in healthcare provision for women.

Ginmar (A View From A Broad) wraps the whole issue up in a gloriously clarified rant: One Simple Thing
Society is based on the notion that women are things to be used up and discarded. Therefore, while it is possible to work within a framework of society, one has to be very careful as to how one goes about it. Feminism is nothing less than an insurgency in society, disturbing the very framework of our lives. You have to brace yourself for hostility and hatred when you're an avowed feminist. You're disturbing people who've never much thought about women except when those damned women didn't do what they were supposed to.
There's a lot more to read on women's oppression. It really exists.

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