Happy International Women's Day!
Last year, I had the honor of joining UN Women SoCal as their Keynote speaker for the Intl. Women's Day Celebration. The full UN UN Women Keynote highlight video has reached over 800,000 views since last March! Today, I posted a 90-second recap of my favorite moments from that speech.
This day always seems to inspire my inner she warrior and break my heart at the same time. While women continue to make strides towards equal rights, there are so many cases where we are unfortunately still oppressed.
I made this sign because I feel women suffer an insatiable thirst that can only be quenched with justice. Women are literally starving for equality when it comes to equal pay, work, and human rights. Women are dying for freedom from their oppressors, the sexual traffickers, the persecutors enslaving every aspect of their lives including their uteruses, the governments executing us for not conforming to their unjust patriarchal laws.
|Thirsty for Justice, Starving for Equality, Dying for Freedom|
There are countless shocking examples of human rights violations women are still battling in 2016; from lack of reproductive rights, to the forced sterilization of disabled women in Australia, honor killings across the Middle East and South East Asia, acid attacks, genital mutilations, forced marriage, sex trafficking, sexual violence and exploitation, innumerable, unspeakable abuses being suffered by women daily.
One of the most prevalent abuses, I see globally and commonly in the western world, is slut shaming. Many societies punish sexual empowerment, so extremely it even results in executions. If a woman is seen: dressed "immodestly," nude, breastfeeding, dancing with exuberance, walking down the street confidently, making eye contact with a man, or as sexually active; people are so quick to weaponize their opinions and react with verbal, physical, or emotional abuse. She WASN'T asking for it, and if we want to live in a free and open, civilized, society; I believe we must find tolerance for so-called "immodest" lifestyles that differ from our own. If someone's "immodest" behavior is a harmless self-expression, what gives us the right to become the judge, jury, and executioner? As someone who has grown up surrounded by classical art, I have always admired and appreciated the human form. It wasn't until I was exposed to puritanical belief systems and religious institutions that I was indoctrinated with the "virtues" of shame and discomfort around that most natural birthright in the world. I understand the importance of public decency and yet what I truly find indecent is the act of using someone's sexuality or nudity as a justification to abuse them. In the most extreme cultures women are stoned, hung, executed point blank, raped, or maimed for "immodest" attire. This horrific practice undermines the fundamental human right to life, liberty, and security of person.
If you find yourself unable to accept these realities, I encourage you to speak out against these violations both domestically and internationally. These organizations make substantial efforts towards the advancements of human rights including women's rights.
Futuristic headdress and photo credit: Bubbles and Frown Haberdashery
Makeup by Alexie Petre