With all the contemplation that the New Year inevitably brings, I had planned to do a quick summation of 2013 for women. When I saw this video though, from amazing organisation Miss Representation, I realised didn’t have to do it.
I don’t know about you, but it depressed me. While it is certainly heartening that the Representation Project is highlighting these issues (and therefore showing that we’re not willing to put up with this shit anymore), the deluge of crap women have put up with in 2013 has not been great.
With this in mind, I thought I’d put together the top three things I’d like to see in 2014 to make it better than the last twelve months. Let me know if you have any suggestions, comments or questions.
More positive coverage
While Malala, Wendy Davies and even Beyoncé have brought feminism and women’s rights to the forefront of discussion, the “How The Media Failed Women” video proves that these efforts were somewhat undermined by mindless, misogynistic advertisements and news stories.
I want to see women in the news more. I want women like Daisy Coleman, a teenage rape victim who spoke out against her attackers, and Charlotte Laws, who fronted an amazing, dogged campaign against revenge porn, to be on the front of magazines and newspapers. Women’s magazines could learn a lot here. Do we really need another Hollywood star on the front of Glamour or Cosmopolitan? How about profiling campaigners or activists? They might be less glamorous and have less to say about juice diets and yoga, but they would send an invaluable message to young women.
I’d also like to see more pro-woman ad campaigns. I’m not saying I want Gloria Steinem selling me toothpaste, but having seen a couple of great ad campaigns aimed at women doing really well and getting loads of press coverage, there’s no excuse anymore for sexist ads.
The most prominent and successful campaigns I’ve seen this year are this, from Pantene Philippines, which highlights the double standards faced by women in business, and this, from GoldieBlox, which encourages girls to ditch the Barbies and become engineers.
See - it’s not that hard!
Less mindless fuckery
Seth McFarlane, Robin Thicke, Martin Freeman, Tony Abbott…just four of the people who, over the past year, have fucked up. If I spent about three more minutes thinking about it, I’m sure this list would multiply depressingly.
Is it really THAT hard not to say disgustingly offensive things? Is it totally unreasonable of us to expect slightly higher standards from people who have such a huge platform? We’re always told we’re “overreacting” for not wanting to hear gendered, racial, homophobic or transphobic slurs, as if language isn’t THE ENTIRE BASIS OF EVERYTHING and that the cultural environment we live in isn’t THE CONTEXT FOR LITERALLY EVERYTHING THAT WE DO.
I wrote about not putting up with this shit last month, and I stand by it. Down with this sort of thing.
Harder, faster, louder
2014 for me is going be a year of action. Whether it’s volunteering, supporting charities through donations, writing, calling people out on their lazy stereotyping or just tweeting, I’m going to do everything I can to support other women. I’m monitoring my own language, reading as much as I can and admitting responsibility when I do mess up.
Are we going to piss some people off? Probably. Does that mean we’re going to stop? Definitely not. We’re not going to achieve anything by keeping silent - so lets make 2014 the year we make as much noise as we possibly can.