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I Covet the State of Liberation!

April 24, 2008

Why is it so hard to be a grrl? Would it have been different if I was born with XY chromosomes (male) instead of XX chromosomes (female)? Was Charlotte Perkins Gillman right about the state of zero crime in an all-female society in her book, Herland in which she pictured the all-female society as a highly civilized society which opposed all forms of violence? Is entirely possible for a female to live in a total state of safety regardless of her whereabouts?

Personally, I doubt that we female will ever be safe, regardless of where we are. One could easily be a target of assault even in the comforts of one’s home, let alone in the streets. What is it about female which makes it a target of violence regardless of their age? Is it the fact that a female only possess about 52% of the upper body strength of a male? Is it because of the biological difference between a male and a female? Or is it the instinct to dominate of a male?

There could be a million reasons why and the possibilities would be endless, yet the target has always been the same, us females (sigh). We have come a long way since the fundamentals of early feminism which is to abolish gender differences, so that male and female would eventually live the same kind of lives and activities, and equal opportunities in pretty much everything imaginable. Indeed, this fundamental remains the same throughout the years and events. It revolutionized our way of thinking, evolving the fundamental into something bigger, equality not just in terms of equal opportunities in occupation but also our rights to live and the rights to our own body.

Female are not merely cunts and breasts or a sexual symbol. However, being objectified commercially over the past millennia has earned females like us a status of being the object of lust and desire. Being seen as a weaker sex and sordid, females always fall prey of domestic abuse, sexual assault, harassment and other forms of violence. In Malaysia alone, we have seen our share of what reality for a female is. The case of Nureen Jasmeen is a wake up call for our society that something should be done for the sake of our safety. Even little girls are not safe to wander in playgrounds anymore!

Female are imprisoned in everyday gender constraints because of the lack of awareness in our society. This gift given by our mothers and sisters should be rejoiced and yet we are deprived of our own freedom because we are female. No longer safe to walk own our own, traveling, a jog in the park, even in the bus. How we covet the state of living without fear, for we live each single day in survival mode.

It would be an onerous task to create awareness regarding gender equality and the rights of a person to his or her own body in a patriarchal society such as ours but it is not entirely impossible as more people are starting to realize that females are capable of more instead of just cooking and cleaning. More humanist and feminist rise to the occasion of defending and protecting as well as educating the society regarding gender equality and rights.

To eliminate a sexist or superior state of mind entirely in our society would be a utopia. But a little change can mean a big difference. Respect between genders should be taught at a mere age, in kinder gardens and schools. A girl should be made aware that she owns her own body, that she is no weaker than a boy. A boy needs to be remembered to treat a girl with dignity and respect.

Images and portrayal of women as domesticated and a façade of sexual beauty by capitalist generated by mass media may never be fully curbed but it is important that a person is able to distinguish the difference between images and the reality. Female are more than just pretty women in the pages of glossy magazines or the super-moms in toilet bowl cleaner ads. Females are more than just a portrayal of beauty, sex and domesticity. Reality is, female and male are alike. We yearn the same kind of respect from other being, we yearn for the same state of peace and tranquility and we each have our own desires waiting to be fulfilled. And the paramount is that we have equal rights to live and the rights to our own body.

However, the status quo of females will forever be lower than that of a male and we still live our day in fear of our own life and dignity if we choose not act and make a change out of the current state. If a female continues to be objectified, oppressed, domesticated and disdained, then the dogma of women as the weaker sex will forever be embedded in the heart of the society, women and men alike.

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One comment

  1. Some thoughts on
    Feminism
    In these days, where lots of forms of revolt are absorbed by society, we have to be careful not to let the same thing happen in our very own middle. For example: in the early days of feminism woman stopped wearing bra´s, shaving their legs, there were major protests, etc.. Nowadays feminism is often seen in a mainstream public as woman having the right to get a job, to put their children in daycare, to earn the same as men do, to be able to vote and so on. Lots of woman in the mainstream public have stopped their struggle because there are some laws which should assure that woman´s rights are equal to those of men.
    Of course these new laws are just alms of governments to make people think that they got what they wanted. To make people give up revolting, to restore order! But it goes a lot further than that. A lot of it has to do with our mentalities, the way we get raised, the way it is normal in our cultures to be raised. Religion still has a big impact on our society, even if we aren´t religious, if our parents aren´t religious, religion has left it´s footprints. Lots of aspects in society, that we´re fighting against, like homophobia, like the taboo of sexuality, inequality between sexes, are the result of religious fundamentalism. And this is sadly still adapted in the ways people raise their children, religious or not!
    Everybody who wants equality, who is prepared to fight for it should try and help to get this mentality out of people´s minds, to get all the prejudices out of people´s minds. Within our struggle, the females shouldn´t play a victim´s role, claiming that they don´t feel safe on the streets that we are living in a survival mode. Instead we have to show society that we´re just as strong, that we can fight our battle´s, that we don´t need a guy to protect us, that we can stand our own ground! This is so important, because by playing a victim´s role we just confirm the prejudices made, and in a way accept them. Something we should never do! We should never surrender!!
    We have to be careful that we don´t let society reduce feminism to a very small part of what it actually is. Therefore we need to fight back, to answer a guy when he´s making some sexist comments, to show that we´re not afraid and will not be satisfied with anything less than complete equality. We need to mobilize people, inform people (and ourselves) talk, discuss, act! Attack the institutions that help constructing inequality! Just use your imagination, be creative and never accept the role of a victim, for victims are weak, and we want to show our strength!



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