I started reading the book Backlash by Susan Faludi while I was in Seattle this past weekend. First off, we must all read it. It’s pushing 20 years-old, but in the first 200 pages it’s made me realize not much has changed in the last 2 decades and if anything, we might be going backwards. . .
That’s scary. I think the smallest and easiest (kind of easy) way to combat this is by seriously considering the small choices we make every single day and how they impact us as women and feminists and other women within the United States and around the globe.
For instance, I have slowly started seriously thinking about where I buy things. I haven’t bought anything from Forever 21 in a while. I know that doesn’t sound super impressive, but it’s a challenge when you’re semi-interested in trendy stuff sometimes and you want the immediate gratification our culture has to offer and you’re not used to saying “no” to those nearly irresistible $2.80 rings that might (will) turn your finger green, but that just means you have to always wear it. I have stopped shopping there because of the things I have heard and read about the way they company treats their employees. And lets be honest, they rip off other designers, have few pants that fit me and I’m hippy, but not so hippy where I can’t find pants, and it just feels wrong to shop there.
Which brings me to something I came across a few weeks ago that I have been meaning to post. These are the Commandments of Feminism. I found it at the blog Small Strokes, which is pretty neat. Small Strokes is informative and also is very relatable for us younger folks.
1. Thou shalt not see a sexist, misogynistic ad, say “that sucks,” and leave it at that.
2. Thou shalt view all media through a critical lens.
3. Thou shalt watch every movie while wondering if it will pass the Bechdel Test.
4. Thou shalt critique media when it portrays women as one-dimensional, second class citizens.
5. Thou shalt vote with thy wallet (also known as the “I will not pay $12 to see ‘I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell'” commandment).
6. Thou shalt consume shitty forms of media (i.e. tabloids, reality TV) to be aware of what the “mainstream” is saying about women and girls.
7. Thou shalt write letters, make phone calls, send emails to let Dodge know you won’t buy their cars or to tell godaddy.com that you’ll look elsewhere for a domain.
8. Thou shalt utilize social media to get the message out.
9. Thou shalt not feel bad for still being influenced by the barrage of unobtainable images.
10. Thou shalt criticize the culture, not the women.
Obviously you make your own rules, but I think this is an excellent guideline to start from. There will definitely be more to come from Backlash as I read more and the Iowa City Public Library has a copy. Just so you know. . .