– A guest blog by Allie Duarte –
This is a big topic, and certainly not an auspicious one as part of daily conversation. Not usually in daily conversation at all, unless you’re a psychologist, social worker, writer or non-profit staff member who works to change the platform that is: violence against women.
I recently had the opportunity to join a conversation about gender-based violence with independent filmmakers, activists and the staff of Breakthrough, a non-profit organization whose mission is to globally end discrimination against women and girls. The filmmakers’ documentaries cover a myriad of issues from both the national and international perspective of violence against women, such as rape, sexual harassment and street harassment.
These issues all very much exist in our worlds. Our personal spheres encumbered with reactions, emotions and intimate stories.
When I used to work on a college campus, a student once thought I would mirror his same sense of humor. He showed me Barbie compromised in a position with Ken.
“Look, Ken’s raping her,” he chuckled.
“Why do you think I would find this funny?” I folded my arms and turned up my chin.
He came back an hour later, still without apology, and tried to justify why he could make a joke of rape.
This 18-year-old college student did not realize that rape is in his world. It is in my world, too.
I once hung out with a friend while he played Madden. Whenever my friend made an awesome tackle or play, he would remark that the player, “just got raped.”
This word, used too loosely.
At the highest, tippy top level, everyone has become immune to gender-based violence in some way or another. I cannot avoid every joke, every “bitches and hoes” song and every advertisement that objectifies a woman’s body.
These examples pervade our culture, and I’m convinced they have a subtle influence on situations, like the University of Virginia’s alleged gang rape at a fraternity house.
[By the way, I recently came across a breast enhancement advertisement that only showed blonde hair and big boobs. Are we not capable of a face? I suspect a lot of women immediately felt inadequate, but did not give their reaction a second thought.]
I know I’ve been conditioned to societal paradigms and constructs, but I know I’m extremely more fortunate than countless women in my network, in my nation and throughout the world. I’m hyperaware of my privilege and observant to how many people accept of lot of “what is.”
I’m observant that our men are conditioned, too – that lots of men are held to subpar standards of conduct and humor though expected to deliver many promises.
SmartGlamour’s focus is on clothing, designed for women of all shapes and sizes. The power of this philosophy should shake mountains. With this brand, I don’t succumb to a size on the chart and feel guilty about my shape. I am not told that I should change something about myself. I am taught to embrace my individualism, my mind and my body.
However, I am that woman without a face in the advertisement. I am Barbie, raped by Ken because these are my personal spheres: I am an American, and I am a woman.
Our worlds vapidly collide, whether or not you have been privy to gender-based violence.
#bethatguy, Breakthrough’s social media campaign and outreach for men to build a new culture of colloquialisms.
Be a #SmartGlamour woman and support the brand and message of women empowerment.
Be that person, who debunks paradigms, ignites conversations and challenges the status quo.