You know how 1st world feminists get told that they don’t need feminism? They’re told that they should be glad they’re not “really oppressed” like the women in 3rd world countries. That things could always be worse.

You know what my mother tells me? She says I don’t need feminism because I should be glad I’m born in an urban city of Pakistan. She says, at least I wasn’t born in a rural area where girls are married off to men twice their age. That things could always be worse.

And our house maid, Shabana, who was married to her uncle at 15 and, at 18, has 2 children, she doesn’t even know what feminism is. She was told by her father that she should be glad her husband doesn’t beat her and hasn’t thrown tehzaab (acid) at her. That things could always be worse.

Am I the only one seeing a very disturbing pattern here?–Tumblr user Sharjeea

 

I’ve said it before: the most important thing about privilege is not whether you have it or not, but what you do with it. We’re not all oppressed the same way–from an intersectional perspective, some of us may hold privileges in one way even if we suffer in another way–but that does not mean the solution is to pat ourselves on the back for the meager privileges we hold in an unequal society.

The race to the bottom can get only more horrific, never ending as long as there is someone to crush. Oppression remains as long as society is unequal and unjust. If children in Africa are starving, it doesn’t make a dint of a difference that you have scraps to eat, unless you agree that the minimum morally acceptable action is to force a person to live on scraps.

Things are already “worse”. Focus on making them better.

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8 thoughts on ““It Could Always Be Worse.”

  1. Reblogged this on Bugs In Neurons and commented:
    Couldn’t agree more. It couldn’t be stated any better. Thank you!

    //Oppression remains as long as society is unequal and unjust. If children in Africa are starving, it doesn’t make a dint of a difference that you have scraps to eat, unless you agree that the minimum morally acceptable action is to force a person to live on scraps.//

  2. Well you asked, so here’s what I think, I think it is highly abusive to speak to someone that way. It is reframing. I needed feminism in the first world to leave an abusive marriage, no my genitalia were not mutilated, no my children were not sold as sex slaves, but telling me that my marriage was not as bad as other women who are suffering not only did not mitigate my pain but it is an insult to those women living in the Third World or wherever else by using their plight to condone and minimize violence. It is reframing, a typical technique used by narcissistic abusive people to distort reality to make or encourage you to accept their perverted version of reality. Are there issues with 1st world feminism? Yes, it is at times elitist, sadly so, but it is still very much needed by women in the West regardless of what is happening elsewhere.

    1. It is definitely reframing and a good deal of deflection characteristic of exactly the type of people who make feminist struggle necessary. I personally also think it’s some form of system justification, especially when it comes from people are who are oppressed. Like: Yes, things are bad for you but you should be happy because look, someone else might be more miserable than you.
      What a vile way to define happiness.

      I also find it sinister, in a subtly threatening way. “Look at how bad things COULD get for you, if you don’t learn to appreciate what I’m giving you.” I see it happen right here too–mainstream culture repeatedly and subtly tells girls (especially the “empowered”, educated ones) “You better learn to step in line quickly; we’ve been so nice to not deny you an education or forcibly marry you off to someone while you were still a child. Why, we haven’t even hurt or killed you for simply speaking to a male classmate/coworker! You know there are people who do that to their daughters…”
      I’m guessing it’s the same intent when somebody says this in the West.

      1. There is indeed an underlying threat and it is no coincidence. Keep silent or this could happen to you if you do not appreciate what has been “given to you.” Nothing was given, it was earned. People worked hard to get women the right to vote and own property instead of being legally considered second class citizens and property. Yes people have it worse, but no that does not mean we have to accept you abuse. I ranted about this a few posts ago. So it is not just me that is noticing this insidious phenomenon. Thank you for sharing your voice on the matter.

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