Feminists are angry, feminists are feisty, feminists are funny, feminists are… lonely? Despite the fact that feminists tend to be quite open about their views, a lot of ladies are left feeling like they’re the only pro-women people in their small towns. Local feminist communities tend to lack, well, community. If you feel like you’re living in a city filled with purely misogynistic idiots or people who just don’t care, I can completely relate. I used to walk down my city’s streets passing by pro-lifers protesting outside my local abortion clinic, watch women get catcalled, hear slut-shaming remarks coming out of the mouths of my classmates and wonder why I was the only feminist around. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only feminist around and you most likely aren’t either.
Despite how little or closed-minded your town may be, you can almost always participate in or start up a feminist community. One obvious way is to join a local feminist group. If your town doesn’t have a feminist group, consider starting one yourself! Keep in mind, this may be too big of a commitment for you, so we’ll get back to this idea in a moment.
A more sublte way to get involved is volunteer work. Your city or town most likely has a local Sexual Assault and Crisis Centre, Women’s Shelter or Transistion House (for abused women), that could always use a little bit of help. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, you could donate! Women’s Shelters especially are constantely looking for donations of food, toiletries or blankets. If you’re unsure of what to donate, call them up or check their website to see if they’ve posted a list. Depending on how much time you can put into it, you could even set up a fundraiser. My local feminist group recently organized a coffee house fundraiser where we asked local musicians to play, local businesses to donate food and local teenagers to come enjoy the night for a small price at the door!
If volunteering isn’t your thing, then look around newspapers or listen to the radio to find out if there’s any feminist movie nights or events set up by local feminists that you could attend. This is a great way to learn more while meeting new lady-lovin’ friends. Read more
One of the most popular on-going topics sweeping the Irish nation and being discussed in the Irish parliament at the moment is its abortion legislation. The divisions within the government and the general population have resulted in mass protests across the country by “pro-choice” and “pro-life” advocates. Currently in Ireland abortion is illegal and can result in a 14-year prison sentence for the woman. If and only when a woman’s life is in danger the pregnancy can be terminated, but apparently guidelines are not very clear and doctors are unsure what exactly warrants grounds for a termination.
What I find most difficult to understand about the situation regarding abortion in Ireland is: first, the vast amount of input the Catholic Church is having into this debate and second, the refusal of the government to even contemplate an abortion-on-demand policy.
In regards to the Catholic Church, taking their long history of gender inequality and more recent history of clerical abuse into account, I see no reason why they are to be involved in this debate, especially since Ireland is becoming increasingly secularised and the Church’s influence among the laity is in severe decline. The idea of abortion-on-demand has rarely even entered Irish political discourse. I find this insulting. It shows the government does not trust women like me to make clear, informed decisions over their bodies should they find themselves pregnant. It also denies women the agency and autonomy that we are supposed to have over our bodies as free Irish citizens. Read more
You may have seen an ad from the anti-gay Iona Institute, which came out about a month ago, called “The Case for Man/Woman Marriage”. It’s an ad that’s targeted at an Irish audience and argues that denying lesbians and gays the right to marry isn’t discrimination, because they say the gays can’t raise kids in the same way straight people can. If you haven’t seen that video, you can watch it on YouTube.
What I do want to show you is this hilarious rebuttal video from Tara Flynn, who calls out the ridiculous, outdated, heteronormative arguments made in the original video, as well as the fact that Iona is tied to the American National Organization for Marriage, which is actively promoting anti-marriage equality movements around Europe.