I’m just back from San Diego and I would like nothing more than to write you some fun things about Comic-Con International, but they’ll have to wait because when I was asked (by an intelligent and well-educated friend) if sexism is a “real” problem, I had no choice but to drop everything and write about the very real abuse women in the world contend with, simply because “they’re women”. A world with these kind of prejudices impacts the quality of life for us ALL, male and female and it is in ALL of our interests to be aware of it and combat it. This is a lot of information, but it really is just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately there is still a long way to go before sexism is a thing of the past.
Please note: This doesn’t include links about women being specifically harassed in the comic book profession or at conventions because I am sure you already see plenty of those links in our industry and (unfortunately) it’s quite standard stuff. The depressingly common daily manipulations and abuses seem to happen in too many areas of everyday interactions (i.e. in all other industries, like video games, tech, and politics). Instead these are some links about the dangers women contend with in the larger world, because sexism isn’t a problem isolated to a single industry or a single country, but a problem everywhere.
First of all, this is the article that really cements the gender equality problems in our current society. It’s about a travel guide for “pick up artists” (a school of thought which encourages men to dehumanize their own sexuality, basing it more on an attitude of conquest and abuse than actual primal desire) called “Don’t Bang Denmark”. Basically it lays out the facts that as long as women aren’t as safe or as financially secure as men, we will be prey to abusive men:
And in case anyone still doubts that there is a financial gap between men and women, there’s this:
Also on a home news front, this is pretty funny/ridiculous/sad. It’s about this tumblr which is filled with women who clearly do not even slightly understand what feminism is, so they hate it! (Which is sad because feminism is why they have the freedom to say these things out loud without recrimination.)
Generally, just being a woman and taking care of our bodies is a very frightening and dangerous endeavor and it really shouldn’t be. Many groups seek to politicize hormonal treatments like birth control, creating an atmosphere of guilt around something which, for many women, is a necessity. Here is one example of a very bad situation:
Internationally, there are violent abuses of women’s rights going on. Maybe you missed this when it happened, but last month a group called Boko Haram abducted hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria to protest of their education. These girls are still lost to their families and it is generally accepted by many that they may never return to them. Now Boko Haram are threatening to sell these young girls:
The UN reported this last week, about millions of women being threatened with genital mutilation. Isis are denying it, but the fact that the UN deemed this plausible shows that there is a legitimate fear of this threat and genital mutilation does still occur:
And further, this is an article really opened my eyes to how damaging genital mutilation is to women’s whole lives, not just their physicality:
There is some interesting analysis of a recent Unicef report on female genital mutilation here:
Here’s something that you probably thought was in our distant past – witch hunts. There is some dispute as to how many thousands of women are dying, but it is happening, Indian women are being tortured to death:
There’s an interesting article here about how Facebook wasn’t interested in removing violently misogynistic content until advertisers pulled their content (money talks more than concerns about human decency apparently):
A while ago I was lucky enough to work on a campaign to fund education for girls in developing countries. In the process I learned a lot about how difficult it is for girls to get an education and the hazards they face if they don’t. Conversely, if they DO, then they actually tend to funnel their increased income back into their villages and stay healthier, so it’s a win/win really. Here’s the infographic I did for the client. Ultimately it had too many comparison figures which were deemed somewhat divisive, so a much simpler one was used for promotional purposes. But the facts in it are solid and the information is useful, (the site itself isn’t up any longer, which is a shame because there was a also lot of info there):
That’s everything I can think of right now, hopefully it gives you a picture of the horrors that are out there all over the world. Being cognizant of the problems and raising awareness is a simple thing, but it is important because then we can focus on inspiring and inciting discussion and change, through our art, our work, and our lives. This relatively short list of articles is, as I said, just the tiniest tip of the iceberg.
If you have links or information which you would like to share and you feel could be informative and add to this discussion, please do so in the comments below.
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