Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Human Rights Day/Blogoroma III: Feministing

I don't know how many of you knew it but today was the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights. If you're interested you can read the declaration in its entirety (Which I recommend as it's a very inspiring document) here.

(Also in GĂ idhlig Albanach here and Cesky here.)

I thought that since today is also Blogorama DayTM I would highlight a blog which offered some coverage of the event. It's a bit of a departure from the main focus of blogorama, that is to cover Labour bloggers, but I'm tired and so you'll just have to settle this week for one of my favourite blogs, Feministing.

Feministing is a feminist (Duh!) blog written by a group of very talented young female bloggers. They cover a range of issues related to gender equality and women's rights. What I especially appreciate is their focus beyond their own sphere to look at gay rights and racial issues as well. They are always very frank about some of the more unfortunate issues related to historical feminism, specifically the focus of most feminism being on the rights of white women and ignoring the situation of other ethnicities.

The main author behind Feministing is Jessica Valenti, who as well as being the found of Feministing is also an excellent author. She has released two books on the issue feminism (Both of which I naturally own.); Full Frontal Feminism and He's a Stud, She's a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know.

She now has a third book in the pipeline, The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women , which focuses on the US's incredibly creepy "Purity" balls.

If you think I'm being harsh by calling the things creepy you really need to read this quote taken from the article:

But first...a creepy anecdote.

Kylie Miraldi has come from California to celebrate her 18th birthday tonight. She'll be going to San Jose State on a volleyball scholarship next year. Her father, who looks a little like Superman, is on the dance floor with one of her sisters; he turns out to be Dean Miraldi, a former offensive lineman with the Philadelphia Eagles. When Kylie was 13, her parents took her on a hike in Lake Tahoe, Calif. "We discussed what it means to be a teenager in today's world," she says. They gave her a charm for her bracelet--a lock in the shape of a heart. Her father has the key. "On my wedding day, he'll give it to my husband," she explains. "It's a symbol of my father giving up the covering of my heart, protecting me, since it means my husband is now the protector. He becomes like the shield to my heart, to love me as I'm supposed to be loved."

Paging Dr. Freud!

I think even Freud would be creeped out by that...

Anyway back on topic. They covered Human Rights Day with an article highlighting the work done by human right's campaigners around the world to improve their own communities. I think that that's something we can all appreciate and respect.

From Feministing:

Today is the anniversary of the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Sixty years on, we pay tribute to the extraordinary vision of the Declaration's original drafters and to the many human rights defenders around the world who have struggled to make their vision a reality.

The Declaration belongs to each and every one of us - read it, learn it, promote it and claim it as your own.

During its "16 Days" series, MADRE, an amazing international women's rights organization, has been posting some great examples on their blog of women around the world who are taking this to heart.

In Kenya, women established a village called Umoja ("unity") where violence against women is prohibited.

In Colombia, in communities threatened by violence from military and paramilitary groups, a group called LIMPAL works to support displaced women and their families.

In Sudan, women have created a farmer's union to allow them to demand government support for their agricultural projects.

It's important to remember that Human Rights Day isn't about calling on other countries to honor basic human rights. It's about working for those rights in our own communities.

There's one common thread that connects these disparate groups of people, and that's co-operation. (I think it links nicely back to the post I made earlier about Unions.) When people work together we can achieve great things, our diverse skills and experiences add up to make an incredibly effective whole, which when channeled in a positive manner can effect great changes and move us towards a more equal society for everyone. That's what makes these community groups flourish, and it's what makes Labour so great.

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