February 8, 2013 by Vicki
One billion women on February 14 shall rise up and dance against violence against women. Women uniting in protest against the violence and abuse of women is fantastic. Gathering together to show our power and passion and that we, as women, also have a voice.For full information on the event please click here. I just have one question: What is the point? No where on their website could I find a stated goal other than the vague notion of how wonderful it would be if no woman had to fear violence. How is this helpful?
A fourteen year-old girl, Julia Bluhm, successfully protested against the air-brushing of models in the magazine “Seventeen.” (For the full story, please click here) She had a stated goal and a stated target which she pursued. At fourteen, she succeeded against a major media outlet. She petitioned for that specific goal to be addressed. She wrote about the negative effects that teens can suffer when they try to achieve such an impossible goal. She focused her attack on how the magazine, by air-brushing, enforces these impossible ideals. She dealt with one issue and one magazine. Once she won against “Seventeen”, she moved on to the next magazine. Julia Bluhm’s method is how you organize a successful protest. You have a stated goal and a stated target.
“One Billion Rising” does not follow this method. They have a global statement that violence against women should not occur. I do not think that any female would disagree with them. I do have to ask, however, what is proven by these flash mobs, dance parties, and gatherings? Major news channels have shown outrage and shock at the rape and brutal deaths of women. If a man can watch the news and still hit his wife and children; why would seeing a bunch of women dancing stop him? After the party ends, everyone will go home and the violence will continue.
If we are to end violence, we need to target the causes of violence. The way media portrays women, whether it be in movies, television shows or video games, is a cause of the violence. Have you heard about Anita Sarkeesian? She is writing a book on the tropes against women in video games. In response to her project, she has received death and rape threats. Full story here and video here .I think it’s safe to assume that she may be correct. The emphasis on violence in the toys given to boys teaches them that they must dominate in order to win. This is a cause of violence.
I could write an entire book on the various causes of violence against women. If we want to stop the violence, we need to pick one and focus our attention on that one cause until it no longer exists. Once that cause has been obliterated, then we move on to the next cause. Yes, it will take time. No, we cannot dance one day and make the violence go away. We can succeed, but it will take time, work, intelligence and a united voice.