Five Feminist Resolutions for 2017

2017 has already proven to be a tough year for feminists. And we can expect to be tried and tested for the many months to come. As we look to the coming battles, here are five feminist New Year’s resolutions:

1. Show up

After more than four million feminists showed up for the Women’s March on Washington and the 300+ sister marches globally, it is safe to say we are getting good at this one. But, it is crucial we continue to show up for what we believe in. Whether that be to continue marching, or to meet other feminists in your city, or to support feminist films, books, and concerts. While social media is an incredibly powerful tool to link the global community, cultivating a physical community is equally important and special. In 2017, let’s make sure we are there for our fellow females, and remember that together we are stronger.

2. Volunteer

Alongside showing up for events, protests, and meet-ups, we must continue to support the incredible work of Planned Parenthood, ACLU, National Organization for Women, and even Girls’ Globe. You can make a difference with your money, time, or simply advocating for an organization in your own network. Many of these organizations will come under threat over the course of the Trump Administration and we cannot let that happen. Whatever level of participation you can commit to helps, and a little empathy and altruism never hurt anybody.

3. Speak up

Silence is acceptance. And if there was ever a time we needed to elevate women’s voices, it’s now. Contrary to what some have said, words do matter. And words have impact. If we collectively speak up about what we believe in, what we value, and what is not okay to us, we will be heard. It is so easy to accept and internalize the patriarchy that surrounds us, but we cannot let it get us down. We can be empowered by our collective experiences and rather than commiserate, we can rise up. With every social media post, face-to-face conversation, video on Million Women’s Voices, and blog post written we will slowly, but surely dismantle the patriarchy.

4. Educate

I do not know everything. You do not know everything. No one knows everything. But to be an effective ally we must know the facts. In the spirit of intersectionality, we must remember that women’s rights, our legal system, our criminal justice system, our environment, and our public policies are all connected. While you certainly do not have to fight for every issue, knowing the facts is a solid step to continuing effective advocacy.   While certain pieces of the media have simply disregarded the truth as “alternative facts,” it is important to know why we fight, how we fight, and the statistics behind it. With the advent of fake news and spun falsehoods in our social media sphere, it can be easy to end up in a Facebook feud over what is true.

5. Self care

Being a wild feminist in 2017 will not be easy and in fighting all our fights, remember to take care of yourself. Fighting the patriarchy is a lifelong battle, and it does the movement no good for you to burn out. So when you’re feeling down, take a bubble bath, cuddle with your kitten, pop on a feminist film on Netflix. Staying motivated, passionate, and driven is exhausting, so after a long day subverting patriarchal paradigms, treat yourself.

Combating Hopelessness

Recently, I have engaged in discussions on Facebook and Twitter about sexual violence in conflicts. Through my time as a women’s advocate, I have noticed that this topic, specifically, stirs a lot of feelings in people. And mostly it creates HOPELESSNESS.

With this post I would like to highlight that this is not a hopeless cause, and that there are several movements and organizations creating change today. Here are three steps that I think are essential for us to move away from hopelessness:

  1. EDUCATE. To hear about the children and women being raped in conflict and post-conflict areas around the world is horrifying. Without having the knowledge of what it is about, why it happens, that it is actually a strategic weapon of war, and what is being done, hearing about it may just lead to hopelessness. Therefore, I believe education and raising awareness is the first step towards creating a change. Do you want to learn more? Read about conflict related sexual violence on UN Women’s website or at the Sexual Violence Research Initiative website.
  2. SUPPORT. There are several organizations working for empowering women in conflict, including through physical and psychological rehabilitation, vocational training and including women in peace processes. Therefore, women can become a driving force of change in these communities. Further, many organizations are working to create a justice system that acknowledges these crimes and put perpetrators behind bars. This is essential for the patterns of sexual violence to change. Once it is criminalized, the norms will change, and women will not become victims of stigmatization. Here are three global movements I think you should join: SAY NO UNiTE to end violence against women, Stop Rape Now and V-Day. And these are some organizations you can support: UN Women, Women for Women International, Kvinna till Kvinna, Global Fund for Women, and the Enough Project.
  3. STAND TOGETHER. As citizens, as consumers, as members of movements, we can stand together and have a strong voice to creating a change. Join a local advocacy group and join online discussions on how we best can put our leaders and companies accountable. Follow the organizations mentioned above on Twitter and Facebook, and spread the word.

The featured image and video for this post is taken from Stop Rape Now.