#MeToo for real change

Image result for metoo cartoonThe #MeToo movement has been challenging the status quo on several industries and countries across the world over the last few months. There is much work to do to achieve full equality and outcast abuse from all societies.

Anyone (female or male) that has been abused and wants to speak up should be able to do so freely. But I personally feel the conversation should not be restricted to denouncing those that have abused others but educating everyone constructively on how to stop this from happening.

Being a victim of abuse is not confined to a single sex. It isn’t also confined to a single practice or action, abuse takes many forms and shapes as we can see in the brave testimonials from people across the world.

One of the definitions of abuse is “use or treat in such a way as to cause damage or harm”. This stresses the effect on the receiver as the trigger to qualify something like abuse or not. The focus should be on how the person perceives/feels the action, not only the action in itself. Some forms of sexual abuse like rape are punishable by law but not all forms of abuse are and that doesn’t mean someone hasn’t been abused. The moment your boundaries are compromised and you feel uncomfortable something has gone wrong, and you are in sexual abuse territory.

Denouncers of the movement say people are taking compliments out of proportion, how is flirting and dating going to survive? Some people are being accused of placing the hand on the knee, surely that is not that big of a deal some say. I can understand the argument from people like Margaret Atwood saying all human beings have the right to a defence, even those accused. I can even understand those (usually men) that say they were not aware of how people felt about their actions and how surprised they are about the number of people around them that have been abused. Since everyone has a different level of tolerance one person can receive something like a compliment or a joke and other like something offensive or abusive. This could potentially be confusing to some people although it should never be used to justify abuse or dismiss complaints from someone. That is why for me expressing our own boundaries is as important as teaching people to respect the boundaries of others, whatever those are.

Image result for metoo cartoonIn all this back and forth people are focusing more on the allegations rather than a basic principle at the heart of any abuse. Is not only about the acts themselves, how people felt because of them is as important, especially in those situations where the law does not provide guidance. And that is a big component to identify abuse and work to remove it from society. A hand on the knee may not be a big deal to someone, but if you are uncomfortable it is a big deal for you and no one should be criticised for having different boundaries.

We all have a responsibility to be more open about our personal boundaries and express discomfort if necessary. What we feel is acceptable in each circumstance and what it is not. How many times we let people do something cause we don’t want the difficult conversation and receive criticism just for trying to set up our boundaries.  Victims don’t deserve abuse of any kind and victims are not to blame. The abuser is in the wrong, always. But I think we all should call out unwanted behaviour to educate each other and facilitate change. If you don’t like to be touched by strangers and a stranger touches you,  the stranger has done something wrong to you and you should feel empowered enough to make some sort of gesture to express discomfort and the other person should pay attention enough as to not to cross that boundary again. For me teaching respect for others goes hand in hand with expressing our boundaries.

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Unless we start talking widely about constructive ways of having these conversations we will keep hearing about abuse stories. Denouncing abuse is necessary and it is definitely proving to increase awareness and promote the creation of safer places for victims. But for me, real change will come when we educate each other to stop the abuse from happening in the first place. I hope that conversation overpowers the analysis of allegations soon.

 

 

 

 

 

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If Margareth Thatcher had been progressive

I fully disagree with The Iron Lady's policies but I have to acknowledge her leadership skills, even more impressive considering how hard it was for a woman to be listened to during her time and unfortunately also now. As Obama said she was an example that there is no glass ceiling for women. Her terms were full of privatisations, deregulation, fights to diminish union's rights, demonisation of poors, denial of the idea of society and the rise of individualism as justification to social cuts (technique Cameron is using nowadays to reduce social welfare and restrict immigration). According to Owen Jones she is responsible for the current UK's class division. A country that nowadays is divided between the people that caused the global crisis without having any punishment for it and the working class suffering austerity cuts without any fault on the situation the global and local economy is in.

She was a leader outside United Kingdom due to her role in a new way of understanding government. It is called neoliberalism but in simple terms is a system where big companies and multinationals control economy and politics, reducing laws to their own benefit with the excuse that companies with more freedom generate more jobs, trickle down economics as Reagan called it. However history shows that more deregulation implies less control on human greed and since humans chair companies they put their search for bigger profits over working and society rights. Neoliberalism also supports reduction of government's control although many of its defenders approve laws that give government control over women reproductive rights, or who are you able to marry. Introducing government in such private issues doesn't seem much liberal but somehow they have manage it to stick.

Perhaps if Ms Thatcher had had progressive ideals her terms would have guaranteed nationalisation and access to first need services (water, electricity but also health and education), understood society as the collaboration among all classes and regulations would have been put in place to make sure companies obtain profits in a reasonable way, not exploiting working class. Maybe we would have a capitalist system with classes nearer to each other and a real possibility for moving up the ladder. And since it would have been implemented in the UK, it would have spread to other countries and right now we wouldn't be in a financial crisis originated by the deregulation started by her.

However it is more likely that should her been progressive she wouldn't have made it to the top because left movements tend to constantly disagree with each other and hardly offer an unified front as Beatriz Talegon Leader of Socialist Youth said. Furthermore companies would have lobbied strongly against anyone dearing to challenge them, recurring to defamation or bribery as they have done with all political parties on the north hemisphere according to Stéphane Hessel. Since almost anyone has a price, in the current system is very hard for someone honest and willing to put society first making it to the top and stay there enough time to change things. In the end as Owen Jones says current politics is just class war, wealthy against everyone else. Wealthy introduced themselves into conservative and progressive parties, often representing “the markets” and manage to create policy to privitise everything to their own benefit. When the crisis started and the financial void had to be filled politicians chose forcing citizens to pay the bill because corruption is part of the system and economical and political powers are one and the same after many years of partnership.

All this has happened on our watch. This is not an ideology argument, is a fight for the chances of having a decent life despite of being conservative, progressive, liberal or moderate. The social ladder is vanishing in front of us due to cuts on social services and raising of living costs. Instead of a ladder with different levels is becoming a two level system with low and middle classes below and the wealthy on the top of the ladder enjoying spectacular views. Being poor shouldn't be the reason for which a person dies. All society and countries should unite and demand a system more just and regulated that guarantees everyone's basic rights. Thatcher's individualism has penetrated so much in our minds that we don't realise it is today's selfishness, “if I am good I don't care how people are”. It is easier living only caring about ourselves, thinking that progressive and socialist ideologies want to take our money to give it to people that don't deserve it although they are trying to make sure everyone has a shot to a decent life. Humans group themselves into societies because union makes strength. A business won't be successful without clients nor existing infrastructure previously built with taxes as USA senator Elizabeth Warren said. However individualism has spread across the world and while everyone minds their own business wealthy people takes what belongs to everyone.

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Getting angry is not enough. Major conservative and progressive parties are using the financial crisis as the excuse to diminish middle class rights. Applying austerity measures to the ones that need more help while the people that created and profited from the crisis are at large and getting richer and richer. We have to stop voting parties that have promoted these policies. Stop looking at ourselves and join our fellow citizens to unify the front. We are the majority. We just have to show it. Stop thinking one person doesn't make a difference, Margareth Thatcher was only one person; after all every sum begins with the number one.

 

Some men need to be women for one day

Some men need to be women for one day

I try to respect every religion probably more than they respect me since majority of them try to obtain more followers, some through dubious means not so long ago (Crusades, Saint wars, so on) as well as imposing their ways on the rest of us.

I think this idea of banning abortion comes almost in its entirety from Christian religions, whom believe life starts at the moment of conception. What I keep wondering myself is how can you say something is living if it doesn´t do it by itself?

At the moment of conception the fetus needs the mother to survive, and this keeps going on for several months, although  some babies survive birth from around 6 months onwards. This argument also links with the concept of Euthanasia, in my opinion if you need a machine to survive and there is no chance of you recovering I think that is not living, just postponing the inevitable.

But “life” definitions aside politicians and men specially should evaluate their positions towards abortion since women´s health is being negatively impacted by their proposals and that should be considered a violation of women rights and a clear act of discrimination by gender.

The reality is that many women need contraceptive pills to tackle health problems such as periods that are not regular o more serious issues that without care could develop in cancer or loosing the ability to have children. These women may or may not have sex, it is wrong to assume they are using these methods so they can have sex without getting pregnant when health is at stake. This argument goes to all people that attacked Sandra Fluke due to her appearance in USA Congress for explaining the economic struggle of a friend of hers because her mandatory pill was not covered in her health policy.

Other women need an abortion because their life is in peril due to the pregnancy. What would be the answer for those women? That religion is more important than their health just because they are women? I thought Jesus said to treat people as you would want them to treat you. And this is why I think male politicians should be women for a day, so they could check first hand how their religious agenda would impact their health and day to day life.

There is another proportion of women that use contraceptive methods so they can plan their careers and their family; in many cases these decisions are made together with their partner. If women can´t have control over their body we wouldn´t be better than cows or chicken stored in the farm to  “mass produce babies”. Abortion regulators seem to think is better having all the children that nature want to give instead of having them in a controlled way so we can provide for them, (forgive me if I don´t even consider the absurdity of the abstinence argument).

Taking or not contraceptives, this issue also impacts on all those women whom got pregnant through rape or incest and whom the trauma of the act itself should be enough if they want to stop the pregnancy. Among all the politicians saying that women need to carry to term any pregnancy by law , the ones that need my approach the most are those forcing rape and incest victims to have a child (Sharron Angle, Richard Mourdock, Rep. Paul Ryan  and others whom need a basic biology lesson like Todd Akin). I don´t wish harm to anyone but perhaps if they were women (to those whom are men), forced to have a sexual relationship and then forced go through all the psychological and physical consequences from having a child product of that act they would see the brutality of their ideas.

If they were women for one day and see how many health issues are linked to contraceptive products I can only hope they would see the unfairness of it all.