Let’s gain some perspective

The United States isn’t all bad when it comes to gender issues.
Yeah. That’s a brave statement. I know.
And up until like two days ago I would have been beyond angry to hear anyone echo these words.

Well, per usual, my Gender and Justice class gave me some perspective.
Disclaimer before we even begin: Yes. The United States has many issues to still work on, especially when it comes to intersectionality and just overall acceptance. However, let’s take a look at some practices that still continue in other countries.
I’m also going to throw out a trigger warning. I’ll be talking about some graphic subjects throughout this article.

Recently my class discussed a great article, Culture of Honor, Culture of Change A Feminist Analysis of Honor Killings in Rural Turkey by Aysan Sev’er and Gok~egigek Yurda kul. It is all about honor killings and how they are still prevalent in Turkey, which is a pretty progressive place.

An Honor killing is when a woman is killed for disrespecting/dishonoring her family.
So that just sounds horrible to begin with, right?
Absolutely. But it gets so much worse.
In one part of the article it explains that an 11 year old boy “sliced his mother’s throat” because he said she went out too often. Yeah. It’s not unusual for it to start that young, or for it to be for a reason such as this.

That’s awful. I’m not saying that horrific crimes don’t continue to happen to individuals in the United States; however, typically it’s no longer a cultural practice. This subject of honor killings is still very much integrated in many societies across the world.

From Thebelltowers.com

Another article, Judging Other Cultures The Case of Genital Mutilation, by Nussbaum explains what genital mutilation is and how it is still a common practice in a number of countries.
It’s so integrated into country’s cultures that they will not budge when it comes to medical advances saying that it should be stopped. In this article it addresses that some students argue the cultural relativists’ standpoint, in that you can only judge cultures by their own norms.

Sure, that might be true at the vantage point of cultural relativists.
However that is not the perception I hold, nor is it the one I am bringing attention to today.
The United States might have to still work on the wage gap, intersectionality, treating women and men equally in a number of ways, but when it comes to violent forced upon acts, at least in comparison to other countries, we aren’t doing that bad.

At one point in Nussbaum’s article they put forth the argument that “Female genital mutilation is morally on par with practices of dieting and body shaping in American culture.”
That’s not comparable. Nussbaum tore the argument apart. So I feel pretty justified in my stance against female genital mutilation.

If they argue reversible, not forced upon us dieting is the most similar thing that western culture has to genital mutilation I am for sure not complaining.

I just want to bring it back for a second.
Like I said, I’m not saying the United States is perfect by any means. But I definitely didn’t realize all the awful things that can still be forced upon women in other countries. The fact that they can be killed even and society will just shrug it off.

That’s disgusting, horrifying, and honestly just downright sad.
My Gender and Justice class gave me some perspective on the travesties that still exist in the world.
Yes, we definitely need to work on all the inequalities that still exist in America, but we also need to realize that we have a number of privileges that other countries don’t even think of.

One thought on “Let’s gain some perspective

  1. Thank you for this post!! I feel like American feminists are focused on just that- American feminism. We need to be fighting for people all around the world, in addition to our pals in the US. Thanks for offering more perspective.

    Like

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