Maybe it was being exposed to too many church women’s camps/groups/meetings growing up; maybe it’s because I never got along with the girls as easily as the boys during school or at youth group; or maybe I just have some issues that should be sorted out lying on a couch in a doctors office.
You see, I’m not that fond of women as a gender whole. There are plenty of individual women I love and would crawl over hot coals for but collectively, I can take or leave them.
I have always studiously avoided anything with the word ‘women’ in the title. If it’s expressly for women, I either don’t go, or grit my teeth and bite my tongue the entire time. And I’m equally aggravated by ‘men’s’ events (why do men always have ‘men’s breakfasts’????)
While I am not fond of gender specific events, I am passionate about justice.
Last night I watched a documentary about the Delhi rape case, and just prior to that another documentary called I am a girl. And then went to bed sickened and heavy hearted at how women all around the world are being treated.
According to Indian government statistics, a woman is raped every 22 minutes on average. Just think about that.
And don’t forget that other alarming statistic – every 26 seconds a child is trafficked into slavery.
These statistics make me angry. Really angry.
I’m angry that girl babies are aborted, abandoned and killed simply because they are not in possession of a penis. I’m angry girls are denied an education; are treated as worse than dogs; are seen as nothing more than property; are forced, as young as five, to be the sex slave for upwards of 40 men a night. I’m angry that girls are the recipients of acid attacks, simply for choosing not to talk to a boy. I’m angry that no matter whether a female is wearing a bikini or a burqa, it’s still her fault if she is raped.
And I’m angry that not everyone is angry.
But I’m angry that this is happening to humans. I’m equally angry that atrocities are happening to boys too. It just seems that the weight of these issues is on the female side of the scales and that the perpetrators are predominantly male.
So, I’ve realised why I’m not into events/groups/camps that focus on ‘women’. Generally, and I do mean generally – there are always exceptions, these events are all about finding ourselves, telling us we are wonderful, beautiful and unique. And while those things might be worthwhile, even necessary for some, I find it hard to take it seriously when our sisters across the world are struggling to stay alive; when the shape of your genitalia quite literally dictates your survival and future.
I know that in the western world there are still inequalities galore. But I also know that, again, generally speaking, we don’t know the half of what it’s like to be maligned, persecuted and discriminated against due to our gender.
So, instead of having fluffy meetings that stroke my ego, nurture my misplaced sense of entitlement and seek mainly to make me ‘feel good about myself’, why can’t we have more events for women and men about what we can do to bring about justice for our fellow humans?
If men’s and women’s events empower and educate about the world and the pressing issues and what we can do about it, then I’m all for them. I still don’t know why they have to be either for men or for women, but I’ll take what I can get.
There is no way, in our technological age, to avoid knowing about the injustices and cruelties that are occurring. What then remains is what you will do about it.
It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world.~ Mary Wollstonecraft.