Obama and Modi seem to be taking a page out of the book of public relations misinformation in the immobilized pursuit of least resistance confrontation with the largest human rights crisis in the world–violence against women. Who can forget Obama’s first striking blow in the fight for gender justice in confrontation with the college rape epidemic in the US with #ItsOnUs. In retaliation to an epidemic that subjects 1 out of 5 women in universities throughout the US to violent sexual violence, Obama struck fired a non-funded hash-tag campaign. How did the mainstream respond to this auspicious limited on thought engagement? They exploded with love and applause. Yet, when university students unravelled tapestries reading, “Drop your daughters off here” at freshman orientation, the public was outraged. Right away they went to the blogs blaming the frats–which are massive problems on perpetuating rape culture. Nonetheless, to perpetuate a sociocultural entity there has to be an initial phenomenon to reproduce.
Similar to Modi’s Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Campaign in which he mirrored the nucleus of that social regressed outlook by saying without girls whom would your sons marry? Because women’s sole purpose in existence is to be objectified as ornaments of your son’s prowess as a luxury item.
In the competition to create the most fallacious insult to the reality of women’s experiences in shouldering oppression while defining the social baptism of our contemporary affairs in equal intellectual ingenuity in sweat and blood that women have done throughout history, Obama took the cake this week. On the 27th of August 2014 Obama declared “Gender Equality Day“.
The declaration was in celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. Well it gave pretty much white women the right to vote. Asian and black women had to wait some decades before they could vote without being murdered and intimidated by threats of rape and more forms of physical violence. In fact, to be honest, many black women in certain parts of the US still face unconstitutional obstructions to engage in their civic civil right to cast a ballot.
This history like the history of violent confrontation that propelled the signing of the 19th Amendment in the US is marginalized and sanitized to support the American folklore of pseudo lift yourself up from your petticoat democracy. The suffragette history was violent. It is a narrative of racism as white women split on African American women; labour organizing that creates the real first steps in intersectional feminism and public relations. The history is long and has to be dissected to understand the wedges between white mainstream feminism and the intersectional and black feminism surging in the US.
For now though let’s discuss why “Gender Equality Day” is another grandiloquent page ripped from the pages of misdirecting history devoid of reality to placate to the press and manufacture the cause celeb or rather cause for celebrities of mediated feminism.
Women’s Equality Day, a day absolved or rather involved in the creation of the principles for which it is suppose to stand, principles manifested in the strength of women held to stand for the intersectional and absolute equality for all women, everywhere.
Voting isn’t, hasn’t been and as long as the US is structured on inequality voting cannot be a channel toward equality. The principle of equality which is suppose to stand behind the inscribing of today cannot be lived without challenging resources and access to its realization for all women, until every woman and her experience with injustice is transformed into the creative, strategic and proactive definition of social justice. A definition which must preface the words liberty and democracy of any kind. Liberty and democracy without social justice cannot breathe without, cannot laugh without, cannot signal right and drive the path in pursuit of any occupation, or education without, proactive justice for women to be equal and free.
You cannot put the word equality in front of day when police brutality stands in the way of blending the two words into a way of life.
I think it is fair to contend, and necessary to contest, as women are subjected to police brutality, lack of a standard of maternal care equal to the budgeting of bombs, reproductive medical care, free sanitary pads, the right to even walk out of the house without being sexually harassed, go to work or college without being sexually harassed, are disproportionately homeless, disproportionately unequal in pay especially those earning undignified minimum wages, unequally represented, tokenized by the system on the one woman in the boardroom to speak to a change unrealized by the women dying at the hands of initiate partners too afraid to call the police, because we fail to enact modern social theory for the alleviation of women’s burden of oppression.
Tell the women being raped who have no judicial recourse picking fruit and tobacco they are equal in practice. Tell the women whose rape kits aren’t processed they are equal in practice. Tell the trans women, intersex peoples, being murdered with impunity that they are equal in practice. Tell women shot down for wearing hijabs or suffer from the perverted social policy that conflates Islamophobia to achieve its foreign policy that they are equal in practice. Tell the women who fear that their husbands who own and house legally purchased firearms, which they fear might be pointed at them, or used on them that they are equal in practice.
Women’s continued fight toward the ideal of equality in all its meaning cannot even begin to be regaled if it is sold as being fought or realized by only those people who climbed the tower through the system and have used their experience of identity and the resources afforded to them based on their plateau of social birth to explain how women should “lean in,” while being battered in the street, in the home, in the workplace, and yet, “Still they rise.”
So, I think it fair to contend based on the continued unfair treatment of women today that the day, this day, seeks to pacify, on an equality deferred. One step further, this day seeks to break the backbone circulating the great activism of those fighting today for those principles which today is suppose to stand for, seeking for this fight in its present urgency to be co-opted by celebrations of organizations that spend more on administrative costs, more on championing the politics and politicians of least resistance, than spending those resources or speaking up in the name of the women and people who have and continue to activate by courage in light of today’s contemporary narrative–a blood narrative of continued Jim Crowe tactics. It doesn’t seek to bring women who are finding resources by any means toward the goals of liberation in agitation by all means, to a society in conflict with their existence, to the table for the realization of a day of equality.
If this day is to stand for anyone, it should stand for the undocumented woman. The woman locked away for fleeing this country’s foreign economic crushing hand that ushers femicide in their home lands. It should stand for women who cross the desert nourished sole in a faith exceeding the pains of hunger over the hurtles of fear dehydrated hope, escaping of an uncertain death step by step to find some small liberty in a land that forgot what liberty stood for the day it declared liberty on stolen land. Yet, it doesn’t stand as a day for those women whose pursuit is met by further inhumanity and enslavement by a system who can find an endless number of ways to pervert the law when it comes to exploiting in its own benefit but can’t find an ounce of energy to stand for the benefit of those it exploits. A system that subjugates her to unregulated work, sees her as disposable and then despite her efforts rallies its hateful politics of misdirection in her direction galvanizing the ignorantly incompetent led by only those less competent to a cacophony of violent xenophobia unchecked and unquestioned in its hateful liable speech until it crescendos in violence.
Just as much this day should remember her sistren locked in some prison out of sight and with little judicial oversight; a place where women can’t find sanitary pads and are subjugated to humiliation and sexual violence with no recourse or aid. As you know, or don’t, this narrative isn’t mutually exclusive to women from Central America, but is the common narrative of women from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Eritrea, Somalia, and too many more places to name.
A day for those who see the plight of the Palestinian women living in apartheid as indivisible to the justice of women everywhere, and interconnected to the equality and right compassing the direction of our humanity in understanding indivisibility and inalienability of human rights as guiding principles for women’s lives and protection of their existence in pursuit of their potential anywhere and everywhere.
A day that recognizes that the principles of democracy, so-called democracy, have never been advanced by a bullet fired in its land grabbing, neo-colonial, proxy or absolute unjust wars anywhere.
Instead, it was advanced by women like Amelia-Boynton, who passed today leaving what she paid for in blood, in fighting off aggression, in pursuit of liberty never realized entrusted in the hands of #BlackLivesMatter. If we are to celebrate it, it must be celebrated in solidarity and in action.
It must be celebrated in the reflection of our #BlackTransLivesMatter, #Transliberation communities linking arms in defiance of a degraded culture that has defiled their history, contribution to history and continued fight toward liberation in guiding a culture toward a place where history can be claimed in equality.
It must be celebrated in action in the recognition of the women of colour culminating to dismantle the commercial campaign complex of silence toward the issues of the systematic and systemic murder, marginalization, devaluation, subjugation of their humanity.
Most of all it mustn’t be a day, equality must be a lifetime prepared for today. It is what all of those who histories have met at the converging intersection of oppression and it must be a fight that engages every man because every woman has been carrying it everywhere for way to long. If it it to be a lifetime every man must now, more so then ever, check his inadequacy and transform it into courage instead of hyper-masculinity. If it is to be a lifetime, every white man must transform his racism into an action that lives up to the courage to carry the weight that every black woman and woman of colour has carried by shouldering it on the wheels of his privilege which can only begin to move forward by listening and hearing. If it is to be a lifetime every man must see in the reflection of every trans woman and person a person instead of his own ignorant shortcoming fear of himself from which his barometer of inadequacy increases by the courage of someone else’s sexuality in defiance of ignorance. If it is to be a lifetime there must be no “other.” If it is to be a lifetime it must be a promised lived up to by this government so all peoples can work together to see one another in one another and not a government.
Featured Image Credit: Photo of Betty Friedan leading a group of demonstrators outside a Congressional office in 1971 to show support for the E.R.A. | VFA.us