It’s time to do more for women’s rights

It’s getting worse, isn’t it? It’s not just me, right?

The racism and sexism and all the other isms are on the rise, or at least more public than they used to be. Perhaps before the Internet, politeness kept the trolls in their basements, and now they have been unleashed to wreak their havoc on the masses. Or perhaps it’s just getting worse.

Women’s issues are my passion, and I’m starting to think it might be a calling. Not my only calling, mind you (still gonna write that history book, y’all), but one that burns a fire in my belly that Prilosec can’t extinguish.

Lately, the news has been focused on Brock Turner (Stanford) and Austin Wilkerson (Boulder, Colo.). I’ve followed along as much as the next person, angry about these cases, but not really surprised. This is not a rare thing. Rapists get easy sentences all the time. But not all rapists, mind you. White, middle- and upper-class rapists. I’m not saying black rapists deserve any less time in jail. I’m saying we need to recognize rape as the horrible act that it is, instead of seeing it as a man’s inability to control his “urges.”

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This is not OK. But it’s also not unusual.

The reason this is especially disturbing is that the judges who dole out these weak-sauce sentences are saying that the victims – women – are less important that the perpetrators – men. If a woman is raped, she was likely “asking for it.” If you wonder why only 40 percent of rapes are reported to police, that is certainly one reason.

Women’s bodies are regularly devalued. We have a presidential candidate who calls women “pigs” and “dogs” and says that women in the military deserve to be raped. We tell little girls that their bodies are like chewing gum and are worthless once they have sex. We belittle women who are too fat or too thin or too old or too young. Too dark, too white, too made-up, too clean-faced. We gobble up gossip magazines that make fun of celebrities’ “beach bodies.” Playboy models shame elderly women in gym locker rooms. Society is constantly telling us we are less than someone else. With all that coming at us, it’s amazing we can get out of bed in the morning, much less go out and run the world.

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Channel your inner Beyonce

With all that going on, I haven’t really gotten all that fired up about these ridiculous rape cases. I thought about it, but I told myself that I’m not getting angry because if I allow myself to pay close enough attention, the anger and depression will cripple me. So, I went on posting memes and stories about the many ways that modern men still attempt to subjugate women, reminding my FB friends “Why I STILL need feminism.” Amazingly, some women think it’s no longer necessary. They are misinformed.

Then I read about this garbage person, Wayne Allyn Root, and I lost my shit. I ranted on Facebook in a way that I never have before. The rage welled up inside me with the burning fire of a thousand suns. This guy, who has not (as far as I know) raped anyone or handed down a slap-on-the-wrist sentence, made me livid. He’s just written a book, “Angry White Male,” like many awful people before him.

He said people who receive federal benefits such as Medicaid, welfare and food stamps should lose their right to vote, as should women who use “free contraception” under the Affordable Care Act.

“So if the people who payed the taxes were the only ones allowed to vote, we’d have landslide victories, but you’re allowing people to vote. This explains everything! People with conflict of interest shouldn’t be allowed to vote. If you collect welfare, you have no right to vote. The day you get off welfare, you get your voting rights back. The reality is, why are you allowed to have this conflict of interest that you vote for the politician who wants to keep your welfare checks coming and your food stamps and your aid to dependent children and your free health care and your Medicaid, your Medicare and your Social Security and everything else?”

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I think it was when he began talking about taking away my voting rights that I began to wish penile cancer upon him. What an absolute turd of a human being. The article I read called him a “Trump surrogate.” Whatever. The fact that he supports Trump is of no consequence to me. Of course he does. What makes my blood turn to lava is that there’s even an audience for this garbage.

You drive your car on roads that the government paid for, so you shouldn’t be allowed to vote? Business owners who take advantage of tax loopholes or move their companies to foreign countries to avoid paying U.S. taxes shouldn’t be allowed to vote either, right? Oh, no. They are white men. They can vote all they want.

Perhaps my rage was fueled by the fact that I had just listened to a podcast about Elizabeth Cady Stanton (by the awesome History Chicks) and was so sad that she died 18 years before women got the right to vote. Now here’s this jackhole telling us that voting is something only the privileged should be allowed to do. ECS is rolling in her grave.

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I feel that anti-feminist sentiment is getting worse. Women have come such a long way in the last 100 years, and now there is movement to push us backward. Just when we are getting close to the finish line, a hater has to pull us back. I’m over it. I have to do something more.

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Katherine Switzer being forcibly pulled from the Boston Marathon in 1967. She managed to keep going, and so should we.

I post feminist stuff on Facebook so much that it’s become what I’m known for among my friends and family. I’m the crazy aunt who gives her nieces feminist children’s books and T-shirts. If at my funeral that’s what my younger family members remember me as, then I’ve succeeded as an aunt.

But in the world, I think I can do more. I can’t buy every little girl a “Self-rescuing princess” T-shirt or subscription to Kazoo magazine (though, if I had bazillions of dollars, I probably would try).

I only have 1,200 or so Facebook friends and a lot fewer followers on Twitter and WordPress. That’s not enough to make a real impact on the world. As my friend Edd Bowser often says, I need to do better.

I need to find a way to combat the Wayne Allyn Roots of the world. Fuck that guy, and all the guys who follow him.

If you have ideas on how I can help the cause of feminism in the world, please let me know. I have to do something. I can’t let the little girls of today grow up in a world that sees them as worthless. I need to do something to honor Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and their fight for our rights.

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