6.22.2005

Women's Autonomy and Sexual Sovereignty Movements


I'm happy to announce that a new project near and dear to my heart went live tonight. It's two projects in one really - Women's Autonomy and Sexual Sovereignty. Pseudo-Adrienne of Alas, a blog is going to help me out with updates, and I'm open to others who might want to join in. I'm envisioning this as a loosely organized blogswarm that focuses on writing and calling politicians and media on the two issues.

Women's Autonomy is the best description I could come up with for a new wave of the women's movement. The tag line - The Third Wave just became a Tsunami - expresses the need for renewed energy feminists, and a deeper goal than just more opportunity and better pay. I want to see deep change in the way women are perceived. It's time for people to really "get it" - that women's rights ARE human rights, and we won't be an underclass when we are the majority. We are not property. We are people.

The second issue, Sexual Sovereignty, involves a change in the way sexuality is perceived in this culture. I'm fed up with kowtowing to regressive attitudes about sex. If someone wants to practice some bastardized version of 2,000 year old scripture, that's fine for them, but I live in the 21st century. The mores of ancient tribes don't work for us in this culture - or any other, for that matter. It overlaps a couple of issues.

Gay rights is an integral part of the change that needs to take place. We simply have no basis other than Judeo-Christian repression/oppression to dictate whom an adult may or may not marry.

Another aspect I hope we can shine some light on is the practice of allowing children to marry. We all hear horror stories about child brides in Africa and the Middle East, but most people aren't aware that it's happening in this country every day. Marriage is an awesome responsibility, and it makes no sense that people under 18 are allowed to marry. You can't sign a contract to rent a VCR at 18, so how are you supposed to be competent to make the most important decision of all? This is a particular problem in largely Mormon communities, where young girls are often forced into plural marriages with much older men. These marriages are illegal, of course, but law enforcement is following its tradition of turning a blind eye to sexual abuse of these young girls.

I propose that we demand an answer to the question of why we deserve less - less money, less safety, less power, less representation, and don't settle for answers of tradition or faith. If we see oppression, stop it short. If we see hypocrisy, call bullshit as loud as we can. When the people that are supposed to protect us don't do their jobs, scream like a banshee until their indifference and incompetence can not be ignored.

The blogosphere has amazing momentum going right now - let's make sure that at least half of that energy goes toward helping women. We've waited long enough, and this is not the time to take a back seat to "important shit". We are important. Our lives are important. We matter.

Women's Autonomy and Sexual Sovereignty Movements