I am both appalled and thrilled. Appalled that women are still treated so badly in our culture, and thrilled that some young women are willing to speak out and demand change.
I'm not exactly an optimist on this subject. After all, I was fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment in North Carolina in 1979 and 81, and have an idea of what we're up against. But I've been hanging on to the hope that things are better for today's young women.
Not any longer. Last night I visited Who Needs Feminism, a site created by students in a class at Duke University and recommended by my friend Susan. Judging from the hundreds of posts, young women's lives are as bad as the old days, if not worse. By bad, I mean:
- Being manipulated into having sex
- Enduring catcalls while walking down the street
- Being judged solely on the basis of appearance
- Getting blamed for sexual harassment
- Putting up with "slut-shaming"
- Having "no" interpreted as anything other than NO!
- Being unfairly judged by parents, girlfriends, boyfriends, teachers, bosses and everyone else who wants to weigh in
And our country is so far ahead of the rest of the world?! That's not much to be proud of, considering how constrained and abused women and girls are in other cultures.
It's funny--well not funny, just serendipitous--that just yesterday I read Lewis' Law of Online Feminism. The law, coined by British Journalist Helen Lewis:
The [hostile] comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.
Just another example of how far we haven't come.