Why Women Don’t Need Feminist Victimization Campaigns

(CANAL) – “Dear Daddy, I will be born a girl. Please do everything you can so that won’t stay the greatest danger of all.” That’s how a Norwegian nonprofit ended its five-minute viral video to fight violence against women.

The short film features an unborn girl who tells her father all the violence she will suffer growing up as a woman. She urges him to take another attitude toward misogyny with friends and son, before it’s too late.

Frankly, the message is absurd. It assumes women are fragile beings, and that it is in men’s nature to mistreat and abuse women. The campaign is akin to taming the Big Bad Wolf so that he protects the poor Little Red Riding Hood.

But in the real world, conflicts that affect women take more than five minutes to be solved, and “weak-sex protectionism” has been a waste of time in the fight for women’s rights.

In Spanish, the video is called “Dear Dad, they will call me a whore” (Querido papá, me van a llamar perra). I guess they wanted to draw people’s attention, and they did. The video went viral on social media. But at what cost? Why do people want to click on a video that uses a derogatory term to refer to women?

Every woman is a free and responsible individual. Just like men, women are capable enough to fulfill their goals, demand their rights, and realize the consequences of their actions. They don’t need quotas to be successful at work, nor laws that cripple the other sex so that they can rise. Discrimination includes the belief that women are victims of society and that they need the state to intervene for their own good.

It is equally demeaning towards women to put out a video assuring that boys will call girls a whore, try to take advantage of them when they are drunk, rape them at 21; or that the husband will end up mistreating them. Expecting parents to run to the rescue of their female offspring is an insult.

I believe instead that empowering women at an early age is paramount. That is, instill in them the ideas of equality, freedom, responsibility, creativity, entrepreneurship, conflict resolution, and self-love. Let’s stop presenting women as fragile, incapable victims, and men as monsters who are out to abuse us the minute we lower our guards.

Image Source: goldsardine, Flickr, Creative Commons women with no ride home

Image Source: goldsardine, Flickr, Creative Commons
women with no ride home

We should be encouraging women to become more independent and expect less from the state and misguided NGOs. If they are aware of their rights and duties, they will be able to tell when men disrespect them and react accordingly.

We’re also missing the larger picture here by focusing just on these cases, where women can actually defend themselves. Child molestation, human trafficking, and deaths during illegal abortions are scenarios when women really need reliable information, the rule of law, and international support.

It’s important that we women say it loud and clear that we can make our own choices, exert our rights, and live our lives however we want. We don’t need other men to step in, we can demand respect when they call us whores. We have the freedom to drink as much alcohol as we want, and to sleep with all the guys we want (drunk or not).

We can say no and fight back when a family friend tries to rape us at 21. We’re at complete liberty to end a toxic relationship or file for divorce if our spouse crosses certain boundaries. What we need is greater self-esteem and more autonomy.

This video is not helping. It’s making the problem bigger. What’s worse, it misidentifies the true cause of violence problems that women face.

Translated by Daniel Duarte.

Written by Paz Gómez for Canal.