Weekly Anti-Woman Wacko
I have a feature on my personal blog, First Fig, that I call the “Weekly Anti-Woman Wacko.” I started it because I can’t tell you the number of times I have been told that the feminist movement is no longer relevant because women can now open bank accounts, work outside the home, get abortions and supposedly receive equal protection under the law. While there have been many advances in recent history, misogyny is still alive and well, making feminist ideals desperately needed. So every week on my blog, I highlight an example from the news that proves the relevance of feminism.
EmilyCC and Jessawhy have been encouraging me for a while to put up some of my weekly wackos here at Exponent. I have resisted mostly because I see this as one of the lighter features of my blog and my tone is often mocking in nature. But this week I have not felt so light and I picked a story that I think bears re-posting over here.
I sometimes feel that I am not grateful enough for the gender equality that I enjoy in my country and in my religion. I am reminded of how truly blessed I am when leaders of other countries pass laws like the one Hamid Karzai just passed in Afghanistan. One provision makes it illegal for a woman to reject her husbands sexual advances, effectively legalizing marital rape. (Although, I have seen one compromise where Karzai suggested that the law should be changed to require women to have sex with their husbands every four days…I’m looking for a way to be sarcastic about this but words fail me.) Another provision would not allow girls or women to attend school or work or even leave the house without their father or husband’s permission. Women also could not refuse to wear makeup or dress-up if their husband required it.
Yesterday, 300 very brave Afghan women marched in the street to protest this law and demanded that they be given equal rights…that they be treated like human beings! For this action they were called whores and had stones thrown at them.
I am weeping as I write this because it should not hurt to be a woman and I want to know why it does? This law doesn’t really change anything for Afghan women; they were being beaten and opressed before this law was written and it will continue after the law is passed. But can somebody please explain to me why my Afghan sisters have to ask permission from their government not to be raped?
And in case you’re feeling a little too comfortable in the privilege of being a woman living in the United States, spousal rape was only made a punishable crime country-wide in 1993 when the sexual offense codes were made stricter. Despite the criminalization of marital rape, there are still at least thirty-three states that grant exemptions to the perpetrators in certain cases. There is also one major university granting an honorary doctorate to a famous marital rape apologist THIS YEAR!
We cannot afford to believe that we have reached the pinnacle of equality. And here is pure, unadulterated truth: We are all connected and we are our sisters’ keepers. If there are women being raped and beaten, silenced and forgotten, that matters to me! And it should matter to all of us! As long as misogyny runs rampant through this world, none of us, male or female, will be free.