Today in my Human Geography course we were talking about Birth Rate, Fertility Rate, and Death Rate of different countries....pretty standard boring stuff right? Not if you put a face to it.
And that's exactly what my Geography professor did, put a face to those statistics. Several faces actually.... He showed us this video which must have been from about 1989 that was a CNN special where they sent their best correspondents to the most poverty-stricken places on Earth to film a heart-wrenching video. The video started off by showing us a woman dying, and then dead, after she had a "backdoor abortion" in Ethiopia which is basically a metal pole stuck through her pregnant womb because she does not want more children and is not educated about family planning and cannot afford birth control. I only felt like sobbing about three dozen times.
After that we moved on to the cheerful subject of women oppression and lack of education in India where abortions are the norm now if the baby is a girl. At this point I am so very uncomfortable and want to leave the classroom and go scream into a pillow somewhere. The girl next to me, "Carla", is a friend of mine and we were both equally disturbed by what was going on on-screen.
But we were both disturbed even more by what was happening in our classroom, off-screen. One of the close-up interviews they had with someone who had been cheated by his government into having a sterilization procedure called them 'Sons of Bitches' and every single boy in my class laughed at it. So much so that we had to pause the video and wait for them to stop. And when the video started up again, they weren't focusing on it at all (not that they were in the first place, really), they were focusing on the "bad words" that the guy said. I don't know why this set Carla and I off so much, but it really did. And I admire her because she had the guts to stand up and tell them off.
"If all you take away from this video is that he said a 'bad word' then you disgust me." was her exact quote, I believe, before stalking out of the classroom. I was too upset to say anything for about an hour, which, if you ask anyone, is QUITE unlike me. I thought it was because of the adolescent jerks in my class until JonJon (my best guy friend if you're new here) pointed out that it wasn't worth getting upset about a few idiot guys that laughed about something in an uncomfortable setting. Then I realized I was upset because the guys laughing, could very well be the next generation of the men we were seeing on screen laughing at the thought of having a girl, or beating his wife when she gave birth to a baby daughter, or even murdering that baby because it is lacking a penis. And if they weren't, they weren't going to do ANYTHING about the women that are being oppressed in this society. It's still a very real problem.
So I have decided to take action. I can't put all the measures of my plan into action right now, for several different reasons that are too tedious to write down here. I wrote this on the bus and would like to challenge every. single. female. to think about this the next time she's laughing at school with her friends or kissing her boyfriend that she chose:
I am one of the lucky ones. Over half the women in this world aren't given a fighting chance from the very beginning just because of their sex. I have been given an education, I was raised to have an opinion and a voice and not to be bullied by my parents or my child-husband. And I don't intend to waste it. My voice should be used and heard where other women's voices cannot be. My voice should be used to represent all the women who cannot speak for themselves. All women who are lucky like me should use their voices until maybe one day every woman's voice can be heard.