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From the daily archives: Sunday, April 29, 2012
It’s been two months since we started working with the ERA Education Project and it is still full of surprises and information that we never paid too much attention to. After interviewing younger people, and watching my classmates’ videos as well, what continuously stood out was the lack of knowledge on feminism and the ERA. But more important is that it appears to be strategically set up that way. In this day and age it is becoming more culturally and socially acceptable to not only be okay with sexual inequality, but to perpetuate it as well. From media to legislation, men and women are being taught that women are (for lack of a better word) worthless in comparison to men. In a culture that habitually objectifies and belittles women, we are being taught that it is okay to be disrespected – and in some cases it’s even encouraged.
Take the domestic abuse situation with Rihanna and Chris Brown for example; it was made publicly clear that her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown (who is also a celebrity people may look up to), beat her on numerous occasions, and for a while there was a huge deal in the media about it. What is truly horrifying is what happened when he performed at an award show a year later. Young women tweeted everywhere that they’d let him beat them anytime. Fast forward a few years later and what happened when Rihanna and Brown recorded another song together? It was no big deal, as if nothing had ever happened. Both of these celebrities are sending negative messages to our future generation: beat a woman and there will be no harsh punishment; or get beaten by a man and continue to have a relationship with him. How does this make any sense? What astounds me is that it’s actually gotten this far.
Again, This can be traced back to the lack of knowledge – as there are still people who think men and women are equal under the law! No one can do anything big enough to make a change because there aren’t enough people that know and recognize what is going on. It may sound cliché, but Knowledge is Power. If people (including my classmates and myself) become better informed on the subject, then we can make better choices when it comes to doing something about these issues- because it benefits us all.
There are already many feminists groups and organizations working towards equality for women, yet very little people who show support either because lack of interest, or fear of being patronized by society. The fact of the matter is we need to come together to make changes in order to move forward. After reading a couple of chapters from Grassroots on art and activism, I feel like that is the best way to do so.
Our generation is very visual when it comes to learning and maintaining interest (as seen with the Rihanna example). We would rather watch films and listen to interesting music than read about a subject. I’m not saying this is a good thing, but it can be beneficial when trying to reach out to a younger generation. In a very real way, it is a form of activism. When watching films and documentaries on social, political, and cultural issues, we usually feel a connection with the protagonist that can be used to transcend any differences towards common ground. That common ground can be the confidence to admit to being a feminist or an egalitarian. It can be to work towards passing the ERA and granting women the equal rights they deserve.
This is a huge part of the reason why we are enjoying being a part of this project so much. Even when interviewing people, I feel like I’ve helped in a small way by bringing up such important questions. I hope that at the end of each interview we conduct people leave with those thoughts and questions on their minds and maybe then they’ll bring it up to friends. Then a new cycle will begin- a more positive one!