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Versus

Last week, Susan Blaustein had a blog on The Huffington Post that I thought was particularly well done, the crux of her blog being:

[A]nother kind of crisis is robbing countless living world citizens of their stories, day after day, hour after hour: poverty. This, after all, is a story-destroying calamity — slower burning, to be sure, but equally ravaging to those with important tales that need to be told and heard. Gender discrimination compounds the muting: where poor people go nearly unheard, poor women and girls have little chance of sharing their stories, or simply of being acknowledged. While this is true of many victims of terrorism, conflict and inequality, it is punishingly true for women and girls.

I wanted to support Blaustein and give a shout out to what we’re doing right here at Day of the Girl to address those same issues, so I posted this:

Day of the Girl (www.DayOfT­heGirl.Org) is bringing together organizati­ons that support women and girls to achieve something great: empowering girls to exceed their own expectatio­ns. September 22 is a kickoff for a year-long campaign that every single girl and woman and man and boy should support – when girls win, we all win!

Well. You would think I had posted a recipe for stir fry kitten and a side of kick-your-grandma, with comments like this:

Where is the advocacy for young boys? Aren’t they poor too? Don’t they suffer from disease, poverty, malnutriti­on, and lack of education? Since when were boys lives so great that we could afford to ignore them?

The feminist propaganda machine needs to stop. Advocating for humans is sufficient and the divisive single gender approach needs to stop. It’s a back lash waiting to happen because eventually the imbalance in the approach must be corrected.

So here’s the million dollar question: Why do people see girls’ rights and boys’ rights as opposing goals? Why is there a knee-jerk assumption that if I am advocating on behalf of girls, then I must be trying to Keep the Men Down? It would be useless to work so hard to elevate the status of women if the trade-off was lower status for males.

I started replying to the haters but understandably just had to take my hands out of the crazy at some point. Still, I’m glad I stuck around long enough to make this point: These causes are not mutually exclusive and in fact the best thing for girls is also the best thing for boys: a world that doesn’t see them as only girls or boys.

How can we counter such close-mindedness when facts and figures don’t seem to get through?

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2 Responses to Versus

  1. Rachel September 26, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    I was downtown this past week advocating for Day of the Girl, asking people if they would like a “girl fact” or to help be part of Day of the Girl. Several men who walked by said “I’m not a girl.” And of course I had to shout after them that Day of the Girl is for everyone, and that the movement couldn’t be successful without the inclusion of men and boys.

    Surprisingly though, young men who walked by our area were happy to sign our proclamation and take a girl fact.

  2. Erin H September 26, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    The knee jerk reaction comes from the unconscious understanding that their hidden, mostly unspoken, privilege will be threatened. Boys, especially white boys, have an unearned, ascribed status that gains them privilege and opportunity: advantage in our society. The fact that no one is saying they should not have rights and that the movement is to give girls an equal voice says a lot. Boys and men already have a loud voice in our society. Our society is so competitive and it’s almost assumed that for an oppressed person (poor, minority, or female for example) to gain more rights and opportunity would automatically need to push others farther down the hierarchical ladder.

    We should stand strong together and help bring everyone up to the same level.

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