If you were to go on Google and type in the phrase “women’s rights” you would find exactly what is to be expected, billions of articles, quotes, videos, and news stories addressing the idea of female empowerment. You would find scandals, controversies, and incredibly touching stories that date back as far as 1848. You could gather pages of research and write endlessly about the different activists. You could, as a young female, become inspired and strengthened by their stories, and decide to join groups and movements to further their work. You could feel like you’re making a real difference and attempt to spread your message to others through tweets, or Facebook posts. Then all it takes is one person to comment on your post for the entire world to see, calling your work meaningless and just a “media hot topic”, and suddenly you feel like all your beliefs have been discredited.
After the recent leaked naked picture scandal involving Jennifer Lawrence and a list of other well known female celebrities, there have been many mixed emotions and opinions. People have quickly taken to social media to either champion her case or tear her apart. People have equally torn each other apart in heated discussions about what constitutes as privacy for a celebrity of her success. Although I agree and disagree with certain points I can’t help but feel as though its important to step back and consider the fact that she is a human being. Regardless of whether she has twenty oscars or two she is a person who chose to take private pictures of herself to share with her partner. Take away her title and fame and she is a normal female who would quickly file a harassment suit against the person who hacked and stole her pictures. However simply because she is a celebrity she is portrayed as a sex symbol who the phrase “sex crime” does not apply to. Every woman has the right to do what she wants with her body, and that also includes deciding who gets to see it. When scandals and controversies like this occur, media outlets love to place the blame on the female and display how her image is tarnished. No one ever focuses the story on the disgusting actions of the one who used the pictures as a stepping stone to achieve their fifteen minutes of fame. Often we see the hacker or perpetrator talked about as if they are some mysterious computer genius and one can’t help but feel that the media is praising him or her for their expertise and skill. They focus more on how they were able to obtain the pictures and how difficult it might have been, rather than how they should be punished. This diminishes the feelings of the victims and makes it seem as though women’s rights is “Just a media hot topic”.
Many people I know love to take this phrase and throw it around to discredit the beliefs of others and make it seem like a new “movement” when in reality its been a movement since 1848. The fact that we are still discussing the war on women is the reason why we should never let anyone silence us. It’s understandable that scandals may come and go and there will always be something new to talk about, but the key is to step back and look at the real issue at hand. If you have a girlfriend, a sister, a cousin or anyone in your life that you cherish as a female and as a human being, then you should never say that women’s rights is “Just a media hot topic”.There are many scandals, controversies or news stories that involve women’s rights. There are many issues and problems within the world that at the surface seem to encompass many things but ultimately boil down to gender inequality. Do people simply believe that because women’s rights is brought up within a scandal or story that they feel is vapid, this automatically rules out any real issues that should be discussed?
For any girl who has ever believed in something strongly and advocated for it simply to have it discredited by those who try to make it seem like “just a fad”, please do not let it get to you. There is an anonymous quote that I see often that states “Before I am your daughter, your sister, your aunt, niece, or cousin, I am my own person, and I will not set fire to myself to keep you warm.” Please don’t ever keep something in or hide what you believe in, just to please others that might be offended. Don’t stop yourself from posting an article you found inspiring because of your fear of the comments you’ll receive. Do not let anyone bully you on social media into thinking you don’t have a valid voice simply because they are sitting behind a computer screen with wikipedia open spitting facts at you in all caps. Don’t ever think you are too young to form an opinion and don’t ever let anyone use their age and “wisdom” as a stepping stone, to step on you. Remember that it is our job as young women to use our gifts and abilities to stay educated and to fight against those who want us to sit down and stay quiet.