Feeling a bit ineffectual.

July 12, 2012

I got together today with some very dear friends of mine. We took our kids to the park to play, while we caught up. Towards the end of the ‘play date’, it was just Katy and me, and we were having a chat about a lot of things relating to our lives as women and mums. Of course, I always end up talking about the stuff I want to write about and I told her how I can’t keep up with the things that pop up in the world that incense me or inspire me.

I feel like the things that incense me, though, are the ones I need to tell everyone about. I guess I feel like if I don’t, people won’t realise the extent of our global problems and if they don’t know, they can’t do anything about it. And we need to, don’t we?

Today I’m feeling a bit bummed and low about it all, actually. I’m feeling overwhelmed.

In the last couple of days I have heard about:

  • A comic in America making rape jokes at The Laugh Factory. Shit.
  • Domino’s Pizza in the U.S. thought it would be a riot to have a new campaign titled, “No is the new Yes.” Another rape joke. Full article here
  • I read an article about hardcore porn which says:

“…that hardcore porn (called β€œgonzo” by the industry and fans) is now mainstream on the Internet, that choking with a penis, slapping, hair pulling, and verbal abuse is the norm. The producer is horrified to hear that women in porn suffer repeatedly from rectal prolapse (because of pounding anal sex), and get diseases such as clamidia of the eye, gonorrhea of the throat, and fecal throat infections (because of the ATM act in which the penis goes from the anus to the mouth without washing).” Full article here.

Choking with a penis. For fuck’s sake.

  • A woman was executed – shot in the head repeatedly, in Afganistan accused of committing adultery, while a hundred or so men watched and cheered. One comment on the YouTube Reuter’s report was, “These bitches deserved it. They were sluts!!!” …so there are obviously more than this one woman (of course). So where are the consequences for all the male ‘sluts’ in Afganistan?

I actually wept when I saw this report.

The above was just in the last few days (and there were more – but you get the gist). Then there’s the following:

  • Women – and more catastrophically, girls – are being sold and trafficked as sex slaves. It’s abhorrent:

What can be done for these women and girls who live a life of actual, pure hell? I can’t imagine how, when the world seems so disinterested.

  • And here at home? In the ‘developed’ world, women and girls are sold a cookie-cutter image to aim for. That simple.

Why? Because money makes the world go around and we need our women, who carry the weight of consumerism, to BUY!

How can it be done? Create an unattainable image for most and therefore create self-hatred and loathing – splash it EVERYWHERE – make it fashionable – provide make-up, clothes, hairstyles (that all cost more than the male equivilants) – and then sit back (count your billions) and just watch women kill themselves over it.

Body and soul destroying.

  • Women have, without exaggerating, microscopic representation in the running of things on the entire PLANET, yet we make up half the population.

On top of that, it’s an insult to ANY man, after all, to have female traits – “You run like a girl; You’re not crying like a girl, are you?” And ten million other such insults.

Question #71: So how can we ever be seen as equals, when everything we are about and how we perseve, is considered sub-standard?

So here I am – feeling like the ache in my heart can’t quite take it. It practically seems hopeless.

The worst part is that there are people who continually test my claim that I’m not anti-male. I’m quite tired of it. My stance is simple:

Women victims of violence, rape, assault, prostitution, sexual trafficking – due to men. Period. And it’s horrific.

Women victims of inequality in the ‘developed world’ – due to decisions made by men…BUT to an extent, with our consent. Both playing a part.

We need to band together – women AND men dammit! – to start saying, “No, that’s not right!” – REGARDLESS of how long it’s been going on for or when the statement, “It’s how it’s always been,” enters your head.

Question #72: What’s the point of history and evolving, if we’re not prepared to make changes for the better??

Enough of the ‘women against men’ stance and visa versa. That’s not what I’m about (for the millionth time).

What’s the point of fighting me? How am I affecting the world for the worse by pointing out the countless ways women are being exploited worldwide? My journey is about us taking action together to get rid of the patriarchal world, run by a select few.

Deep melancholy breath.

x

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24 Responses to “Feeling a bit ineffectual.”

  1. I agree, I agree, I agree, I agree, I agree …. makes me sick to my stomach how we can just ignore or not even see the horrific, repulsive treatment of women world-wide and buy into, and become overly concerned with, our very ‘first-world’ problem of “am I pretty/thin/beautiful enough?” UGH!!!! I feel like I need to do something about this too Paula and I just don’t know what .. I don’t know how to help, how to stop it. But I want to, and maybe that’s the first step is knowing the direction…. oh Paula….

    • questionsforwomen said

      The young ones. It’s the only way. We have to drill as hard as ‘they’ do – get in their ear.
      We’ll be right darlin’! All these wonderfully understanding comments of support are just the ticket.
      Lots of love to you, Kate.
      Deep Breath. x

  2. I was in this place a few weeks back. I had to realise and accept I can not change the world on my own. That in fact I have no control over anything whatsoever except for how I react and respond to situations. Yes, I can talk about situations and events and issues, I can raise awareness in my own circle. And people in that circle will talk to people in their circle. Change is slow. Change can seem infinitesimal, but change is change. But most of all I can talk to my children – not lecture them, not harp on at them, but talk about issues, get their take on it, talk about what it all means. And they then talk to their friends and so it goes. Yes, we can feel absolutely hopeless but as I say, fall down seven times, rise up eight. ONWARD.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Thanks Kim. Yeah, I know. I’m in the girls’ ear when anything arises or if they have questions – which has already happened, of course, with everything that flashes in front of them. I just fear that it (I) won’t be enough to combat it. So it’s like I’m asking society for a bit of help.
      Thanks again – It’s lovely to get your encouragement and experience. x

  3. Dear beautiful Paula, you’ve just expressed exactly how I have been feeling lately, so heavy in my heart from these tragedies commited against women and girls and the ridicule we face as women and advocates of basic human rights for our sex, so much so that I had to read this post through my tears. It does seem endless and through all our work, care and love, of all of us on this mission it’s still getting worse, not even daily or hourly, but minute by minute. I just have to send so many blessings and so much love out to all the women and good men on our mission, for I fear to think of what our world would be otherwise, when it is this bad, and esculating inspite of all our love and efforts for equality. It’s hard it’s really, really hard. it’s heartbreaking. women are human beings too, and at this point, it feels like we live in a world committing mass femicide on every level of our existance. Do they even realise what this world will look like with only shattered broken women remaining?
    I’m so proud of you and all that you do for our sisterhood, for your voice and your action. Sending you loads of love, blessings always, Lily xx

    • questionsforwomen said

      Thank you, Lily – that means a lot. I’m afraid, however, that no matter how simply the message is phrased, so many just don’t get it – of either sex.
      But our voices are getting out! …I guess that’s one great positive of the Internet.
      Deeep Breath. x

  4. Reblogged this on freedomfrompornculture and commented:
    This needs to be read, we, men and women need to band together for change, for dignity for women and girls, for safety for women and girls, for respect for women and girls, for decency, for the female of the sexes, for our lives as a sisterhood, for our experiences on this planet. This destruction, abuse, neglect, torture, mutilation, femicide, degradation and hate towards women and girls can’t continue for us to continue on this planet. I want so desperately a world of love and reverence for women and motherhood and I am far from alone on this. What do we want our world to look like? Because to take a look at our planet now it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of ugliness, it’s hard not to feel hopeless. But to all you beautiful amazing women’s rights activists and all you amazing men standing up for women, Thank you from the deepest parts of my soul, for these are not just questions for women, these are questions for our human race.

  5. Michelle said

    women need to find a way to speak up and change things together, play as a team like the boys do. It is all about balanced lifestyles for both men and women.

    This is a really interesting perspective from an American woman, consistent with Australian experiences

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-can-8217-t-have-it-all/9020/

    • questionsforwomen said

      Thanks Michelle! I put a link to an article discussing this piece in my post, “Feeling the strain, mums and dads?”
      It’s absolutely right – balance is the key. There is a BIG job ahead, however, because of the entrenched attitudes and beliefs (in both genders) about ‘how things are.’
      And YES, the sisterhood needs a good shake up.
      x

  6. elsa said

    Your writing is beautiful. I wish I had your communication skills to let my thoughts out so powerfully.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Thank you so much, Elsa! What a lovely compliment. I’m relatively new to this blogging world, but feel very passionately about what I’m writing. Your comment just made my morning!
      Deep Breath.
      X

  7. opt4 said

    Reblogged this on opt4 and commented:
    Isn’t it sad that a human being would even thought to be sold at this day and age. However, with the current culture we’re living in where a woman is not allowed to talk about her own reproductive organs, it’s being questioned as to whether a woman should be able to decide what goes on in and around her body, when woman’s body’s are exploited with and without their knowledge, and violence is as normal as the blue sky….the selling of another human being…especially a “girl” is not that surprising.

    This is where we, the general people of the world, need to stand up and say…enough is enough. We speak with one unified voice and say STOP! This is outragrous and it just plain won’t happen anymore!

    Opt 4 the change we all want to see.
    Opt4 rallying people to start making noise.
    Opt4 making noise about the problems that need to be discussed!
    Opt 4 doing something now!

    • questionsforwomen said

      I COULDN’T AGREE WITH YOU MORE!! I just wish it were that simple.
      I think the general public, on the whole, IS horrified by the atrocities of the world…it’s the speaking up that they’re afraid of.
      For some reason, even a simple email is ‘putting your name’ to something and there’s fear that…well I don’t know what the fear is.
      Whatever the reasons, people HAVE a great power when they band together – because it’s only against OTHER people.
      Thank you so much for your comment – it’s comforting to know there are people like you out there!
      x

  8. Derrington said

    Its the same in the UK. Women are being bought, sold, used and viewed as sexual livestock, never more so than now with on line pornography a kind of eroticised hate propoganda. I think we have to lobby the psychologists to keep providing fresh evidence, the media experts, social experts, relationship experts to evidence the very real violence we are being subjected to in our day to day lives and then start lobbying the political parties to start representing their voters properly, not just the male ones but the women and children too. Collect together and start asking the political parties what the f**k are you doing for us and our basic safety. And if they won’t do anything, then maybe we need to start forming political parties to represent our rights as humans – after all, more women than men now vote in the UK if I remember the most recent stats.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Oh Vicki, I agree wholeheartedly. I just wonder why women haven’t truly stood up and voiced their objections to this shit situation, as you’ve described – hence the reason I started this blog.
      Until women truly say, “Enough!” the controlling factors are just going to keep perpetuating and evolving – keeping us in place.
      But it HAS to come from us – can’t have a porn t-shirt without a woman saying, “OK – I’ll do that.”
      We need more women in government – to get a balanced perspective regarding policies, but most importantly, women need to stop CHOOSING to participate in our exploitation – then we can help the women that haven’t been given one.
      Thanks heaps for your comment.
      x

      • Derrington said

        Given the amount of below the line violence and blackmail women are subject to in their day to day lives, I think it’s difficult for most women to stand up against state and family. You have to remember that the violence females are subjected to is largely from members of their own family. 1 in 5 female children are estimated to have been assaulted because of their gender within their own family, 1 in 3 schoolgirls from males in their school, 1 in 3 women from partners or exes. These assaults are described as sexual assaults, but they are really gender hate assaults, with men and women from around the women ganging up against her to make her put up with some form of either physical, financial or psychological abuse. Just to illustrate how incidious this violence is, when my ex husband pushed me backwards out of a first floor window for telling him he needed to get a job to help pay the bills, he didn’t even check to see if he had hurt me, my father asked what I had done to deserve such treatment (in his head it was my fault automatically), my brother and sister said nothing but inferred that I should have known better than to expect him to pay his way in a relationship etc etc. In other words, they all thought it was quite ok for him to leach off me, to lie to me at times (a separate argument we’d had where my family also kind of swept his behaviour under the carpet). I could go on as I have had this experience from the police in dealing with his violence against me and also Social Services who refused to interview him but threatened me with taking my child away if he hit me again. It’s not a choice to participate in your own humiliation etc if the state and society sanction that violence, which at present is the case. Watch a film called Hardcore which also shows very well how much pressure the single mother wanna be porn star was put under to do things that she had refused to do and in agreeing to one porn act, was then intimidated or simply subjected to other acts without consent – ie raped, right in front of the camera. The documentary film crew had to stop filming and get her out of one film set as they realised she was being psychologically intimidated on set to do things like anal she didn’t want to do and had explicitly refused to do. Sites like yours help women begin to understand the Matrix like lives they live in, particularly when they experience male violence and people inexplicably back the male, regardless of basic ideas of fairness and human rights. We have to reeducate women as to their rights, but also to have compassion for women who come under huge pressure from their peers, families and the authorities to put up and shut up to maintain the status quo and the PR puff that positions male superiority as a natural phenomenon rather than an enforced one. Sorry for the long winded reply but wanted to illustrate to anyone reading that it can be incredibly difficult to stick to your guns when your home, family and children threaten to disown you if you insist on being treated like a person rather than a servant! Women fighting for equality are already heroes, but not every women has the strength 100% of the time to be a hero when she’s busy just trying to keep her head above the water. But you and I are speaking out, and others, and as Pussy Riot says, you can’t kill an idea – particularly when its so clearly just.

      • questionsforwomen said

        I’m speechless. Thank you SO much for sharing your story.
        I need to apologise because I sometimes write things down quickly (and vaguely) and they can be interpreted in different ways.
        When I wrote that women need to stop choosing to participate in our exploitation – I meant women who choose to gyrate half naked in a music video or play a role on “Two and a Half Men” as a hyper-sexualised, dumb witted female or join the Lingerie Football League – all things that perpetuate a grossly incorrect image of women, that’s then funneled through the media and bombards both our girls AND boys, educating them – creating more such women and teaching men to exploit them.
        Women like you are the second part of my comment – the women with NO choice. The woman being choked with a penis in a porn movie. The women around the world being sold as sex slaves.
        Until the women in the ‘developed’ world start to stand up and voice objection to our portrayal in the media AND stop participating in it – then this vicious circle will continue- one, that by all perceptions, seems to be spiraling out of control…and yet there’s more of us on the planet!
        My heart hurts to hear your story, as the countless ones that are out there.
        I wish you all the strength in the world to fight and stand against the narrow-minded views that surround you.
        I feel sorry that I can’t offer you more than these words.
        Thanks Vicki
        Love Paula. x

      • Derrington said

        Thanks for your words Paula, I shared my experience to illustrate some of the problems women have in even beginning to access a different world view than the one they are born and groomed in to. I feel the same compassion for some of the guys that inadvertently rape women. Porn tells them that women enjoy rape. If the only male mainstream media portraying women and children is giving them a distorted and lying view of us, it is as difficult for men to get a more humane viewpoint of a women’s or child’s experience at their hands. We need to band together with everyone that can see what is happening to debate and spread the message that the rich powerful people at the top of our various countries are creating this age’s equivalent of asbestos and thylidomide … junk food that is fattening and addictive, junk sex that is eroticised hatred of women, junk democracy where the media feeds us lies and the politicians are in the pockets of the corporations. That which does not kill us makes us stronger … everything I have learnt from these narrow minded people is useful in preparing arguments to tear down the walls of their prejudice and to help my daughter and others live in a world that can learn to do things better. We keep doing what needs to be done … its all we can do really isn’t it? πŸ™‚

      • questionsforwomen said

        Absolutely!
        I agree about the affects on boys/men – since the saturation of porn on the Internet, they are also being ‘groomed’. I wrote a post a while ago about the new sex ‘education’.
        We have reached a stage of emergency – which was my motivation for starting this blog.
        I want to thank you for the articulate way in which you’ve shared your experiences and thoughts. I really appreciate it. πŸ™‚ I’d love to hear from you again in the future.
        Paula x

      • Derrington said

        Keep posting, keep sharing – how did you find Miss Representation? I loved how it simplifies and visualises the process of social grooming … πŸ™‚

      • questionsforwomen said

        I’m hosting the screening on Monday night – I can’t wait! I just organised it on my own and don’t even know if I’m going to break even or not – but I just really wanted to see it. I’ll chat to you on Tuesday! Haha! πŸ˜€

      • Derrington said

        It will make you cry … or it did me. And it was truly, truly inspirational … as are you … hosting a big ole screening all on your own – way to go sister!!! You rock!

      • questionsforwomen said

        The pimple I wrote about a few posts ago…is still with me. Noice. It’s been a full-on few weeks.
        Thanks, you sound pretty awesome yourself.
        πŸ˜€

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