As a feminist I find it incredibly frustrating to have to explain why feminism is still relevant to our generation of women. Those who don’t “get it” assume that everything’s all rosy now that women can (gasp!) vote and (shock!) succeed in their chosen careers – up to a point, of course. Gotta love how women on the tenure-track or whatever work ladder can easily be pushed aside or frowned at whenever they make the decision to a) have kids; b) take care of their ailing relatives; or c) deal with some real life issues that places work second to family and health matters.  Because that’s what we do: we make choices that benefit our lives outside of work (that’s why it’s a society) and we still get penalized for it in a way that men most often don’t.

But that’s not the only reason why I’m a feminist. My feminism is based on several things, such as: solidarity with women around the world who are fighting to be free of discrimination/violence/poverty/oppression; dissatisfaction with the feminization of poverty; anger at continuing structural, physical and emotional violence against women that permeates all aspects of our society. This last point is evidenced in porn, pop culture, advertising, low conviction levels for rape, stalking, domestic violence, multiple murders of sex workers, so-called “honour killings” (oh, how I hate that term), the Pussycat Dolls selling themselves as “feminists” (despite what they claim, they are not an example of women’s empowerment), sexual violence and threats of sexual violence, war, the threat of war, being called “frigid” or the c-word by a stranger at a bar because I won’t let him grab me…

So if you are also angry at continuing structural  violence against women, take a look at this post by Jill at Feministe. She is a few years younger than me, a law student, and a great writer. In recent months she has been targeted by a group of male law students (law students! those who are supposed to defend our liberties! those who are supposed to improve our society!) who have been stalking, harassing and threatening her via a popular law-school message board. The creators of this message board have claimed that this is about free speech, and refuse to defend Jill. But it’s not about free speech, it’s about slander, and violence, and hate speech, and nastiness. It’s about never feeling safe, because there’s always a creep out there (or, in Jill’s case, hundreds of self-important, privileged, wealthy, woman-hating creeps) who thinks it’s his right to go online, post your picture, and threaten to rape you, because he doesn’t like your ideas. This is an example of why I’m a feminist, folks: our society – including the “elites” such as those attending this law school – hates women.

This is our generation, and it’s our problem. Go read her post.