This past week, a few milblogs have mentioned the brutal treatment of women in Afghanistan. While this would pass with little fanfare in mainstream, humanitarian or women's media, what makes this stand out is that milblogs are a traditionally male-dominated genre.
After all, we've known for decades about the murder of wives no longer wanted, the murder or abandonment of unwanted baby girls, the selling of young girls into slavery, trafficking into prostitution, rape, the withholding of education, sweatshop conditions, forced marriages, & female castration. These realities unsettle all women, and yet when we bring them up we risk being relegated to the status of left wing moonbat, a veritable Birkenstock-shod, skirt-wearing radical.
Women have written books, colleges have held symposiums, documentaries have been produced, and there have been international womens' conferences on equality and the need for education as a means for gaining economic parity. Without the education of women and girls, the chances for freedom in the long term are slim. Still, the situation in some countries is backsliding.
For a long time, I've been a member of a mainstream organization which promotes and funds education and equity for women and girls. It has never been a secret that education gives women personal and economic choices. It also gives their children and subsequent generations options. But still, back when I was active, we ran into a wall of denial, castigation and suspicion here on our own soil.
Why? We weren't indignant enough for the left, the right thought if we just shut up things would be okay, and the religious right was sure we were going against the grain of God. It seemed we were out there on our own, even though in retrospect our organization has always been overwhelmingly conservative.
But the thing people were most afraid of was being labeled a feminist and its image, which is someone unkempt, loud, abrasive and disrespectful. I can't fault them for rejecting the image, however, I take issue with not pushing away the stereotype in order to take in the message of education and equity. Those noisy ones, after all, are the reason why quieter ones have been able to have well-paying jobs. Cultural shifts require a few tenacious, even abrasive persons to crack open the door.