Powerful Politicians: Emma Watson

One female international politician who has gained a lot of influence recently is Emma Watson. She started her public life as the well-loved Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, then began acting in other films and modeling. Throughout all of this, she had always valued her education. She attended both Oxford and Brown University.
http:// http://www.biography.com/people/emma-watson-20660247

Recently, however, she has gained a political presence. Earlier this year, she was appointed as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. Since then, she has been advocating for women’s rights and feminism. In September, she gave her iconic HeforShe speech at the UN, explaining how feminism is for everyone, not just women. She talked about how men can advocate for women’s rights, and why they should.

As someone who grew up looking up to Hermione Granger, I’m extremely happy that as an adult I can still look up to Emma Watson.

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Motherhood

So I was about to type up this week’s blog post, I realized that last week’s apparently saved as a draft instead of posting. I must have clicked the wrong button. I’m really sorry it’s so late!

To me, motherhood has always seemed like a foreign concept. It’s not that I dislike children, just that I know I am not equipped with the patience and maternal instincts to care for one, nor will I ever be equipped with such abilities. Moreover, I cannot ethically bring a child into this overpopulated world when there are plenty of kids in need of homes and families. I also have a phobia of pregnancy. (There’s something literally growing inside of you, something about that makes my skin crawl. I’m not scared of pregnant people, but I’d never want to be pregnant.) I’ve never had the desire to have or raise children, and I doubt I ever will.

However, some people do. Some men choose to be fathers, some women choose to be mothers, and some people choose to be parents. Some of those parents choose attachment parenting as the way they raise those children. I don’t see anything wrong with that choice. Frankly, as long as you’re not abusing your children or instilling them with ignorant ideologies, it’s not really my place to judge.

On the whole, attachment parenting sounds rather healthy. It’s basically all about letting your children know they are loved and appreciated, and that their emotions and ideas are both valid and valued.

However, the New York Times cover, about Dr. Sear and the new attachment parenting craze, is a little strange. I fully support breast feeding, even in public, but three years old might be a bit too old to breast feed. That’s just my opinion though, and I’ll admit that it’s largely influenced by societal norms.

The only real issue I have with attachment parenting is that it takes up a lot more time, which would make it hard for two parents to work full time. (Not to mention, a single parent, or a parent that works multiple jobs, would probably not have time for this style of parenting.) Thus, someone at some point would probably have to sacrifice some aspect of their career.

Most likely, in a straight couple, that would be the mother, as attachment parenting also advocates breast feeding. So in some sense, it is slightly detrimental. I fully support stay at home moms and stay at home dads. However, some women may feel pressured into staying home with children, when they would really prefer to focus on their career. Especially when you factor in the inherently anti-feminist headline “Are You Mom Enough?”

Simply put, society teaches men that the best thing they can do is start a business, and teaches women that the best thing they can do is raise a child. Unfortunately, it seems that Dr. Sear’s version of attachment parenting might serve to reinforce that lesson.

Menstration?!

Note: Before I start, I think it’s important to keep in mind that not all women menstrate, and not all people who menstrate are women. Gender is fluid thing, and there is a diverse spectrum of people in varying stages of their lives. If reading about menstruation is likely to trigger you, cause disphoria or upset you, you might want to stop here.

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LGBTQ Rights

The material we viewed in class wasn’t particularly eye opening for me, not because it wasn’t educational, but because I was already aware of most of the issues we learned about. As a member of the queer community, I try to stay up to date. I’ve been out as a pansexual for almost three years now, and been an a feminist for nearly as long.

So I try to remain informed about issues facing our community. I’m aware of the opposition that LGBTQ people face, though I still cannot understand why. I feel like a large part of it comes from overzealous religious beliefs. In most religions, homosexuality is considered a sin. Also, being trans or genderfluid is often looked down upon as well, because to admit that you don’t feel comfortable in your body is to admit that whatever deity you believe in is capable of making mistakes.

Also, a lot of this hatred may spring from a lack of understanding. People don’t understand queerness, or they are taught to consider it unnatural. Thus, they show revulsion and even hatred towards the queer community.

However, I do believe that it is possible for the LGBTQ community to one day be viewed and treated as equal, not just in the United States, but internationally as well. It will take a very long time, though. Unfortunately, education takes time. Eventually, though, it is possible to stamp out ignorance to this issue.

But I don’t think just legalizing gay marriage is going to be enough. In fact, it’s really the least of our problems. There are currently many states where it is entirely legal to fire, evict, refuse to serve, and refuse to hire someone based on their sexuality alone. And it happens, far more often than you’d think. This leads to increased concentrations of poverty and homelessness in the queer community. Not to mention, because they feel so rejected from society, many queer folk turn to drugs and alcohol, or experience depression and other emotional side effects. So the rates of substance abuse and mental illness are rather high in the queer community.

Not to mention, many openly gay people, trans, and genderqueer people are faced with increased odds of being street harassed or victimised in hate crimes.

So while I do feel that gay marriage is important, I don’t feel that it is currently our most pressing issue. I feel that there ought to be more media coverage devoted to other issues facing our community, in America and abroad. Media coverage is actually extremely important, because people need to learn about what’s going on. Eventually, equality is possible, but only through education.

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a global issue. Every year, people are sold into slavery, forced into indentured servitude, or tricked into inescapable jobs. Sometimes, they are forced into prostitution. Other times, they provide cheap labor in abhorrent conditions. More often than not, these people do not speak the local language, and thus, they cannot ask for help.

Unfortunately, not many people are aware that human trafficking even exists. In fact, many Americans would be shocked to learn that there are still people in these United States that could be considered slaves, for all intents an purposes. Every year, more and more people are brought here, expecting a better life, only to find out they’ve been tricked into something awful.

So in order to prevent human trafficking, I think the first step would be to raise awareness. We could do this by forming a global alliance dedicated to ending human trafficking, possibly run through the UN. The next step for this alliance would be to educate people in areas where trafficking occurs. They should be taught what to watch out for. Furthermore, human trafficking could be further criminalized, in an effort to deter traffickers.

However, this would only treat the symptoms of a more severe virus: poverty. If people around the world were less impoverished, they would be less likely to resort to extorting other people. Also, people would be less likely to fall victim to trafficking. Sometimes, people are just randomly kidnapped. But often times, trafficking victims are tricked into thinking traffickers will give them real work, a chance to get out of their poverty stricken area, or a chance at a better life.

In terms if sex trafficking and the trafficking of women and girls specifically, something drastic needs to be done soon. These girls need to be protected, by their families and by society. As a whole, sex trafficking is a product of patriarchal thinking and the idea that women exist solely for men’s pleasure.

Either way, whether it’s forced labor or forced prostitution, human trafficking is a huge issue in the world today. Like most problems, it stems from poverty and ignorance, and won’t be completely solved until those issues are resolved. But, there’s is a lot we can do to lessen the effects of it, and we should do everything we can.

Domestic Violence: A Global Standpoint

Domestic violence, though it seems like a problem that should have died out with Neanderthals and cave men, is still an issue that plagues our modern, “civilized” society. Fortunately, I don’t think it’s become any more common than it used to be.
However, people have become more aware of it, and begun to see it as an issue. Not too long ago, wives were considered property more than they were considered people, and they were not expected to speak up when they were being abused. Now, at least in some countries, this attitude is changing. Women are leaving their abusive partners. Shelters exist to help these women. Divorce rates are increasing, not because marriages are getting worse, but because they’re getting easier to leave.
However, there is still a lot of progress to be made on this front, especially in other contries. In the United States, a woman may stay with an abusive partner for a variety of reasons: emotional attachment, fear, children, financial security, the inability to find help, etc. In some other countries, these reasons need not even be considered, because in that culture it is impossible for the woman to leave her husband.
Domestic violence is global, but it is certainly more concentrated in certain areas. The worse a country treats it’s women, the more they will be abused. The less reproductive rights, political voice, and financial freedom women have, the more likely they are to face domestic violence.
Rates of gendered violence, spousal abuse and domestic violence vary from culture to culture, but one thing is constant: male entitlement. Men, around the world, are raised to feel entitled to women’s bodies, and whether that manifests itself through rape, victim blaming, street harrassment, or domestic violence is completely irrelevant. These are all just symptoms of a bigger problem, and as long as the patriarchy remains a global phenomena, we can expect these symptoms to remain global as well.

Domestic Violence: Rihanna and Chris Brown

In my opinion, the entire domestic violence scandal with Rihanna and Chris Brown was both a tragic event and an opportunity to raise awareness about what has become somewhat of an epidemic in our society. However, not everyone shares this view.
Some feel that Chris Brown made a mistake, that he didn’t mean for it to happen, that he had been provoked, or that he’s just not usually that kind of guy. But domestic abuse is often long term, and it can take a while for abusers to actually hit their victims. So if he had reached the point where he beat her up that badly, he had probably been abusing her, at least emotionally, for a long time.
Moreover, any attempt to defend the perpetrators of abuse is an attempt to shift blame to the victims. If Chris Brown isn’t that kind of guy, then Rihanna must have brought it out in him. If he’s never hit his other girlfriends, then something about Rihanna must be different. If Chris Brown doesn’t normally snap like that, Rihanna must have provoked him. While people might not actually say anything was Rihanna’s fault, it’s implied when they start defending Chris Brown.
Also, some people actually do blame Rihanna for her actions afterwards. When rumors started to swirl that the two might get back together, people began to criticize Rihanna for setting a bad example. Technically, I suppose, she was. But that’s her love life and her decision. Besides, abuse victims shouldn’t be blamed for loving their abusers. They loved them before the were abusive, and haven’t yet given up hope that their partner will change.
More importantly, no one was that upset at Chris Brown for setting a bad example. People still listen to his music and buy his CDs! Personally, I don’t think they should, but I suppose that’s up to each individual person to decide.
Either way, I have the utmost sympathy for Rihanna, and none whatsoever for Chris Brown.

More About the NFL and Domestic Violence

I happened across this article from the Washington Post earlier today and I figured I should share it. It’s about the NFL and domestic abuse, and it relates to the discussion we had last Monday. Ray Rice is not the first football player to hit his partner, and unfortunately, he won’t be the last, either.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/10/17/for-battered-nfl-wives-a-message-from-the-cops-and-the-league-keep-quiet/