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Western Communities and Gender Issues

As I read the stories of women across the span of the globe, I am disheartened at what so many women must endure. Women throughout the world must fight tooth and nail for basic rights to land, education, independence and freedom. I have a righteous indignation that it's 2014 and so many women are treated like property. I do feel fortunate that I do not face those challenges on a daily basis. Yet, I wonder how remnants of the past treatment of women (and current treatment in some places) ripples into the mainstream culture of the west.

Women are still objectified in places like Hooters, men's magazines that have a borderline pornographic element, and all over the silver screen of Hollywood. Yes, there has been a shift and women are changing the media, but perhaps it has become ingrained into each and every woman's brain.

How many men equate self worth with appearance or waist size? How many women feel that they have to fight the aging process so they can be loved, instead of letting nature take its course? How many times to women feel guilty, unwanted, not good enough?

The hardest part of being a woman in the west, is our own thoughts and insecurities. Opportunities exist for us. For the majority of us, we are doing well and have it all: great family, good job, sustainable finances. And yet, we still feel less-than.

Technology gives us power, helps us connect, but it also helps us compare ourselves to our friends and coworkers, and to celebrities. It can make us feel inferior. I'm tired of feeling inferior. We need to start using technology to connect with one another and celebrate the positive actions taken. We need to share stories, swap feelings, and liberate one another's burdens. We need to make a conscious effort to use technology for good, for example: support groups, advocacy, global campaigns, educations, awareness. We can do so much if we get out of our own way.

We need to rise above our own thoughts and prejudices against our selves. If we can't help ourselves, who can we help?
If only we could change our thinking and realize just how amazing, special and brilliant we are. We could change how feel, which in turn, impacts those around us. We just might change the world.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

Comments

Hideko N.'s picture

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on women's issues and your wish to rise above the way society keeps women in inferior positions. I had gotten some opportunity to think through how the society put women as inferior beings. And it was learnt by going through terrifying domestic violence in Africa where I could have been buried alive, but I was lucky enough to escape. There were variety of reasons why women are positioned less than the reality. Society pressure men to be superior, earn more than women, succeed and provide--but when society provides no access to these provisions, it is a threat to men as their manhood is at stake. Nigeria was such a society and I have seen many women as well as men were tormented mentally and physically. The quickest way is to blame the weak and defenseless as solutions for many--objectifying, inferiorizing or commodifying women, you name it. So my focus is now how we can address those issues? And that is what I do with the NGO I founded. I encourage you to continue addressing. My experience for doing it is that you "seek and you find answer," which now is my happiest moments in my life more than what money can buy.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts,

Hideko N.
http://www.swacin.com
https://www.smore.com/6xuqy

kkrompas's picture

Hideko, What a strong woman

Hideko,

What a strong woman of courage you are. I have never experienced anything even remotely close to what you described. I just looked at your website. It seems like a really powerful NGO. Nigeria has seen so much devastation and atrocities. I keep the missing girls in my prayers.

Ridingthecamel's picture

Yes!

Hi there sister!

Thank you for your post! I completely agree with you how we may have some opportunities to improve our quality of life now (we can get a job, have access to technology, etc) but how this still doesn't mean anything unless we use these opportunities to improve how we feel about ourselves.
I think this does not only mean surpassing the 1950s stereotype, but also the 2014 stereotype: we can be power-women with good academic degrees and a great career, but we can also be power-women as housewife's or as fans of the latest romance novel..
In my current hometown I still experience this as somewhat of a struggle... The moment I would wear a pink skirt to work my colleagues and clients would immediately question my authority because I would live up to the stereotype of a woman who belongs in the kitchen as opposed to the office... Which is... of course... completely ridiculous. ;')

Anyway, thank you again for your entry and please keep up the good fight! :) (this struggle isn't over yet, that's for sure!)

CamelRider

kkrompas's picture

Hi!

Thanks for your post. I agree with you that it is quite a balancing act. Sometimes it's unfair because as women, we should be able to enjoy all the great perks of being a woman without feeling like we're doing something wrong, or we're not as powerful. I'm wearing pink as I write this!

Thanks for your support and right back at ya!

erincriley's picture

Brilliant!

Hi Kkrompas,

Your post was absolutely brilliant! You write a very inspiring piece about how women should be empowered and not evaluated solely on their looks. There is a long way to go before are not as objectified.

If you haven't watched "Miss Representation", a documentary, you should.

erincriley's picture

Brilliant!

Hi Kkrompas,

Your post was absolutely brilliant! You write a very inspiring piece about how women should be empowered and not evaluated solely on their looks. There is a long way to go before are not as objectified.

If you haven't watched "Miss Representation", a documentary, you should.

kkrompas's picture

Thank you, Brilliant. I have

Thank you, Brilliant. I have not heard of that documentary, but will look for it!

Mauwa Brigitte's picture

Thank you for the courage

Hi KKROMPAS,

Thank you very much for your message, which is so great for expressing your feeling for the humiliation of women, just women themselves are called to defend their case and raise their voices to be heard in the world and their values ​​are respected.

Brigitte

kkrompas's picture

Thank you, Brigitte!

Thank you, Brigitte!

Dani26's picture

Thanks for sharing your insights

Hi Kkrompas

Your blog post rang really true for me, as a feminist in a Western context (Australia). I think you highlight really well how we as women can internalise ideas feelings of inferiority that patriarchal structures support. I agree that I think the answer is women joining together and building our confidence in ourselves, and as you say "get out of our own way". I think sharing these ideas on the internet can help show other women that they're not alone in these feelings, and help them to question these ideas about themselves and indeed band together and change the world!

Thanks again for your thoughts.
Dani

Dear Kkrompas,

Your insights are indeed profound and I understand them, thank you for have started to write your journal because I consider it your first attempt of fighting against injustice and violence. Your voice is precious for the rest of us, please do not stop. Keep writing and connecting with more sisters! Together we can make the difference!

Peace,
Sabapetit

Sabapetit

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