A new year, a new opportunity to smash the patriarchy.
Let’s be honest, while there were a few glimmering moments of feminist progress in 2018 (for example, our fearless leader showing the world that giving birth in office and combining motherhood with Prime Minister-ship like a boss is nbd) there were also, ahem, just a couple of events that had us angry crying all over our best friends’ Feminist AF tee-shirts. Sorry bout that, btw.
BUT… A new year has dawned, and with it a renewed sense of hope for a feminist future. Here are a few things we’d love to see happen in 2019:
This is a big one. Currently, in New Zealand, abortion remains in the Crimes Act. The framework in place around abortion – a throwback from the 1970s – requires a large number of women to tell their doctors that they are in serious mental distress in order to access termination services. It also declines abortions for a few hundred women each year. Wtf?
Abortion, like any other health issue, should be a matter for a woman to decide, with the care and assistance of her doctor and any other medical professionals she chooses to engage in the process. It shouldn’t be an obstacle course of hoops to jump through during a time that is probably already pretty stressful anyway.
BRING ON LEGISLATIVE REFORM.
Less Violence Against Women
The end of 2018 was a shocker.
Grace Millane’s tragic death sparked a national discussion around the issue of violence against women. At a vigil to remember Grace, the names of women who had lost their lives to domestic violence or violence against women during 2018 were read out. There were far too many names on that list.
It’s beyond time that New Zealand did some serious soul-searching about its terrible violence statistics.
More Feminist Ads
Yeah, so ads generally suck. But if we’re going to be forced to watch some brand hawking its wares, then the ad may as well be interesting – and patriarchy-shattering. Gillette has already made waves in this space, triggering the mass meltdown of fragile men who would rather cling to their toxic masculinity than celebrate the idea of breaking down stereotypes and raising boys to be good men.
Advertising has historically been sexist AF, which is what makes ads like Gillette’s so revolutionary. They go beyond ‘femvertising’ (advertising that commercialises girl power to push the idea that women should buy certain products in order to feel empowered) and shine a light on the oft-ignored responsibility of men to get on board and pull their weight in the battle for gender equality.
More #MeToo Action
I use the word ‘action’ deliberately. #MeToo has been an astounding force for social change, but it has relied on usually female survivors telling intensely personal and often traumatic stories in order to drive the conversation. Now, it’s time for others to step up and demand action.
Particularly, it’s time for men to speak up and play an active role in calling out shitty, sleazy behaviour. I don’t care if you’ve been mates since you played Kiwi Cricket together as 7-year-olds, if your bro is doing something gross and sexist, call him out.
Men Stepping Up
I can already hear the cries of “man-hater!”, but it is time for men to step the hell up.
This whole gender equality thing… Yeah, we’re not going to get there if roughly half the population doesn’t pull its weight. Women have been fighting for equality for decades, and we could do with a hand. Mama’s tired.
It doesn’t take much. Advocate for equality in your workplace. Commit to doing at least half of the cooking and cleaning in your house. Say something if you hear dudes making sexist jokes. If you’re in a position of power at work, implement gender-blind hiring practices. Introduce paternity leave. Talk to the young men in your life about respecting women.
Let’s make 2019 the year of working together to create a better – feminist – world.Support Villainesse