I was re-reading Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristoff & Sheryl WuDunn the other night before bed. Its a book featuring stories about some of the social injustices that women around the world face- especially in impoverished societies – because of their gender, social class, political situation, cultural factors and even legal restrictions that put them in an unfair position. The book doesn’t only talk about loss and injustice, but also about triumphs and victories that occur when women receive help that change their lives.
Its encouraging to read about the successes of entrepreneurs who have helped initiate change and progress for impoverished women, yet at the same time I can’t help but continue to feel disheartened that such issues are still occurring. I’m glad I live in a society where I’m not persecuted for being a woman and I’m righteously pissed off that there are women my age in other parts of the world being condemned, abused or killed just because they were born a woman.
Sometimes when I think about it, it puts me to shame because such social injustices make my own problems seem like poxy things. Yes, they’re important to me, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m privileged as compared to these women. There are girls as young as 12 are married off to men 5 times their age, and are not permitted a say in who they wish to marry, or when they wish to marry.
In some Middle Eastern countries, women are not allowed to seek a divorce from their husbands. The law does not recognize the voices of women, while men can freely divorce their wives. It is not publicly against the law for men to beat their women sometimes, but she if she retaliates, her husband may bring her to the authorities and have her flogged or even put to death for disobeying her husband. Look at at Aisha, an Afghan girl who was featured in Times magazine in 2010, who had her nose cut off by her husband. Her crime was to have run away from her husband’s family because they had nearly beat her to death.
The worth of a woman is measured by the presence of her hymen. If she’s discovered to be a non-virgin, not only is she scorned, but her family loses their respect. On the other hand, men are free to engage in sexual relations before marriage but demand that their birds be as pure as the driven snow.
In conservative societies in parts of China India and the Middle East, a male child is prized, but a female child brings tears, frowns and fears. A male child is seen as the family protector and breadwinner of the family because he can pass on the family name. A woman is seen as a burden, a shame, and a disappointment.
>Women in some Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia are being trafficked, beaten and sold as sex workers against their own will. They are stigmatized for remaining with the brothels yet people remain unaware that they remain because they have no choice.
African women are seen as war trophies and raped. Sometimes with sticks, bottles and even guns. How that can work – I do not even want to know. How these women survive after such shocking brutality is also something that puzzles me equally.
Are women really worth that little in the eyes of some societies?
Sometimes these horror stories make me cry out and sends me into a fiery rage where I’m shaking my fists and I feel as though there’s a leviathan inside me rising from the depths of my heart and demanding justice. It makes me motivated and determined to want to do something. Screw the patriarchy I want to do something about this. Yet sometimes I’m plagued by sheer defeat. Each time a woman is saved, another 10 are beaten, raped or stoned to death. Sure it made a difference to that 1 women, but sometimes it makes you feel that your efforts can go futile. I’m so sick and tired of hearing all these stories someone please take me away from this pithy planet right now. It makes you tired and question the existence of God. Or at least, it makes me question the existence of God. Like you know how God loves everyone and some people say that God has a plan for everyone, and if that’s the case, then why must he make women suffer?
Is it God’s plan for thousands of women to be raped, killed, abused or burned?
Are women really condemned to the suffer the consequences of Eve’s mistake? It makes me think of balance. Yin and yang. Black and white. Rich and poor. Good and evil. Lucky and unlucky. Life and death. Think about it. Can everyone really be rich? Can everyone really be good? Can everyone really be lucky? Can everyone really be saved? Can everyone really be free from the intricacies of patriarchy? What happens when there are excesses in one construct and a complete deficit in another? Are social injustices in the world some sort of twisted karmic balance in the society, a karmic justice of sorts? It sounds cruel to imply that social injustices exist because they function to maintain an equilibrium in society, but its nothing but a sociological perspective – one of the various themes and theories I learned in the Sociology class I took in freshman year – that I’m taking on right now as I contemplate the global outcries in this world and struggle to understand all this upheaval.
Don’t take it to heart. I’m not being pessimistic or a sadist, but rather, I’m being a “contemplatist”
My mind tends to wander and over think when I’m bored.
On a side note, I bought a new sparkly heart shaped necklace on Thursday with the Shu! Updates again in the next post.
Here’s me wearing my kurta I bought in Nepal 3 years ago and my Indian-esque accessories for a giveaway I had wanted to enter but it turns out it was available only in the U.S. Darn.
Ciao, bellisimas. Is that even a word?