State rape in the States

Breathe. Just breathe.
So…let’s just say I’m SO happy I’m not living in Virgina, USA, and need to go through an abortion. There is right now a HUGE debate in the States over the fact that Virginia’s governor wanted to FORCE WOMEN to go through a transvaginal ultrasound in connection with an abortion. Yeah. FORCE it on them so that they would HAVE TO LOOK at the fetus they were about to KILL. Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Yes. Seriously.

Soon, this was referred to (by normal human beings who all realized this was sick) as “State rape”. Because get this you governor-rat:  Any object that is inserted into a woman’s vagina without her informed consent is rape. And I doubt that women who want an abortion will be all cheery and like:

“Yey! Put that gigantic wand deep inside my vagina and let me look at the tiny thing growing inside me to make me feel bad about killing it! That way I’m SURE I will regret my choice, even if I don’t have a single penny to raise a child. Even if my health is at stake by having a baby. Even if I got raped and this is the result. JUST FUCKING PUT IT IN ME!” Sorry. As you can see, this makes me VERY angry.

Luckily, the governor decided to skip the whole transvaginal thing, and just go with a “normal” abdominal ultrasound. Required by law that is. It still hasn’t been decided yet, but I just can’t believe this is happening! Even UN official’s say that abortion is a Human Right. And obviously, discriminating against women because of their gender is also against UN Human Rights. And yes, if you are a woman, chances are, you might get pregnant (FIRST GRADE BIOLOGY!!) and make a choice over your own body.

But to then force women by law to have an ultrasound and look at the fetus, is to punish them for getting pregnant (which is due to their biological gender) and not wanting the child (of course politicians would never use the word punish, they say they simply want to inform us “stupid women”. Yeah. As if some male politicians know anything about that). So if you ask me, yes, this whole abortion law thing going on in Virginia, is violating the Human Right not be discriminated because of your gender.

Read this fantastic manifesto written by a physician, on the whole matter. Click here.

Too many men

There are too many men represented in the media.

According to a research conducted at City University London, there were four times as many men as women being interviewed on TV and radio. Of course you could probably say the same thing about ethnicity, by now it shouldn’t come as a shock that the standard in the West is the white, middle-aged male. But this is a blog about gender. So let’s continue.

When will there be a fair representation of both sexes, if even the media sees the man as a standard? When I’m interviewing for TV or radio, I always try to get equally as many women as men.

Have a look at a voxpop my fellow colleague Will Kennedy and I did for TV a couple of weeks ago. It was about elective C-section and if women should be allowed to freely choose or not. One could think that interviewing only women would make sense. But men should also be able to voice their opinion!

You got stereotyped!

The language. A tool for many beautiful and many horrible things in the world. In Sweden there is a debate going on right now about using a gender neutral pronoun when addressing children in preschools. In Swedish, “he” is “han”, and “she” is “hon”. Now, many preschools choose to say “hen” instead, used for both boys and girls.

I wrote an article about it a year ago for AP, read it here

To what extent should we modify our language to avoid stereotypes? Why is it a bad thing to say him or her? To me, that is going too far. Him or Her is and shouldn’t be bad, but by using a neutral pronoun instead, the children will eventually start to think that He/She, Him/Her are taboo-words and be right up there with Fuck, Pussy, Cunt and Dick. And what not.

But.

I DO agree with the fact that language can enforce old-fashioned stereotypes. Take a look at this article for example, published in London’s Evening Standard on Tuesday the 13th of March 2012.

Mass-media should be more aware of gender stereotyping.

How do they describe the two women’s get-together? First of all, they are not independent women involved in politics. No. They are “WIVES”. And they are “QUIET”, having a “MEAL”, while the “BOYS” are at a “GAME”.

It fulfills ALL the stereotypes of women and boys, and the picture sits perfect on top of it. Hello, since when are we back in the 1950’s?

Another sentence that will make every conservative smile: “They are expected to discuss their FAMILIES, life in the media spotlight and the hectic programme during the Camerons’ three-day visit to Washington and New York.” … “Mrs Cameron and Mrs Obama, WHO BOTH REGULARLY JOG AND WORK OUT (what???), struck their friendship ….”

You get it? So if any budding journalists are reading this – don’t only be aware of grammatical errors, but also these – far more worse – gender stereotyping errors.

Where I stand

Gender and Feminism are topics always news worthy. But mainly, they always stir heated debates whenever and wherever discussed.

I know I am writing from a very privileged point of view. In many countries women’s issues are still exclusively women’s issues, I realize that in Sweden (where I’m from) and most Western European countries, women already have the rights and freedom many women all over the world could only dream of.

There are many places where women are still child-bearers only, who can be traded with, treated as, and done with whatever men like, because they don’t have much value, other than to be a good wife and deliver children. I am limited in my views and knowledge, and I wish to extend that in the future, but right now I am dealing with questions that mainly affect women and men in the Western culture, where the discourse of feminism and gender equality has somewhat developed from being only about the liberation of women to also start including men.

So where do I stand? Am I a radical or a liberal feminist? Do I believe gender is completely socially constructed? Or do I believe there are some biological differences between the sexes?

You will probably notice when reading my posts 😉