THE WAR ON GIRLS

THE WAR ON GIRLS

Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,8 January 2013

The Snap:

Think I’m going too far if I ask why America doesn’t care about its daughters? How long did it take for Steubenville to become outraged about teens laughing about a gang rape on social media? Check out the trend of slut-shaming. How many words are there to describe girls who are sexually active vs. the number for boys? Why does a California court rule that rape isn’t rape if the woman isn’t married?

The Download:

We may have come a long way, baby, but we’ve got miles to go before we sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather grow up a girl in America than pretty much anywhere else. When I talk about the war America wages on girls, it’s not as horrifying as the female infanticide in China and India that has wiped out a generation. We are allowed to go to school without having a bounty on us unlike the unbearably brave Malala Yousazfai of Pakistan. Although we may rage about sitting in traffic (and being the butt of an absurd amount of male jokes about women drivers), we are in fact allowed to drive and don’t have to stage protests putting ourselves and families at risk like our sisters do in Saudi Arabia. And yet…

Girls grow up so fast in this country it could make your head spin. We have TV showcasing young girls and even toddlers dressed far too advanced for their years, shows celebrating teen pregnancies, and entertainment focusing on extremely trivial and demeaning behavior from young women. In Sweden when an Internet user decided to focus on slut-shaming, the town erupted in violent protest. In America, we film a show for TLC or MTV, sell some magazines, and call it a day.

Think I’m exaggerating? That what I’m saying doesn’t apply to you? When was the last time you talked to your son about respecting women and the complete unacceptability of mentally, emotionally, or physically abusing women? When was the last time you talked to your daughter about respecting herself and her friends? What derogatory jokes have you laughed about when it comes to women?

Perhaps as the resident ranting feminist here at TSD, you may think I’m just insisting on waging a war on men, but the next time you hear a horrific story about a girl’s brutalization by a sports team, make a joke about some “sluttily dressed woman,” objectify a woman, pay her less than you’d pay a man or belittle her stop and think: what if this woman were my baby sister? My niece? My daughter? The truth is, slut-shaming and the demeaning of girls is centuries old and present in nearly every country on earth. Does that make it right? Even if American girls have it better than others, is that enough?

What to do something? Check out sites like Malala Yousafzai Family FundMiss RepresentationGirls Inc.Friends of UNFPA, and House of Ruth.

Hat Tips:

CNNNPRJezebelThe EconomistNew York Times, Miss RepresentationForbesWonkette, Image Credit: Flickr

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Trackbacks

  1. […] it’s done more subtly and other times, it is as subtle as a machete and takes the form of prohibiting women from voting, getting an education, or denying other human and civil rights. Still worse, there are places where it is conducted through sadistic acts of violence seemingly […]

  2. […] children have stopped going to school because of armed conflicts. What makes education – particularly the education of girls — so dangerous and how much longer will we sit by while cowardly extremists take aim at the […]

  3. […] weak, how we raise our boys to be tough and never cry, and how we sexualize and objectify women. Making the world safe for our daughters means raising our sons to understand that being drunk, passed out, or dressed in a certain way […]

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