Saturday, August 25, 2012

Every Woman's Story Counts -- Including Yours

"...we have a world-shaping imbalance in our story telling. Our stories do not teach children that girls and women have independent agency and moral competence. So, why should they grow up to claim them as women or respect them in women as adults?

This is why telling girls' and women's stories is important. Every story counts.

Why does it matter? Because when girls and women are culturally dehumanized we lose our personhood and our rights are not assured, if we even had them in the first place.

When children grow up immersed in environments that don't challenge these ideas they grow up to be people who want to "beat the gay" out of their children and seriously believe that rape causes women to internally ooze contraceptives and that rapidly dividing cells has "new life trumps existing life." They grow up to believe women's dignity is defined by how they manage their wombs and that women's rights must be mediated by benevolent father figures because women are ultimately morally incompetent. They grow up to be presidential and vice presidential candidates and nominees, who "absolutely" support these ideas , but do not appear to care about about the implications for real, individual, fully developed human girls and women who don't conform to their ideals of what makes a female "good."

The only way any of these ideas persists if you teach people through stories and pictures that girls and women are sub-human abstractions and religious ideals and not autonomous, morally competent human beings with rights."

-Soraya Chemaly

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