Category Archives: Global Youth Activism

Florida High School Students Advocate Gun Control

Sign a petition to ban assault rifles: https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/kids-vs-nra-ban-assault.fb49?source=c.fb&r_by=2429806

Parkland Florida students advocate gun control, fault Trump and NRA. The focus on mental health is used to avoid talking about making guns harder to get. Cameron Kasky says this campaign is “special calling” for him now. “We’re done thinking this is inevitable.” They set up a Facebook page “Never Again.” CNN’s Anderson Cooper said he hasn’t seen such motivated students after a tragedy like this. The NY Times reported,

“At other high schools across the country, students rallied in solidarity with Stoneman Douglas High and staged walkouts to protest what they called Washington’s inaction in protecting students and teachers. A gun control advocacy group, Moms Demand Action, said it had been so overwhelmed with requests from students that it was setting up a parallel, student focused advocacy group. “People say it’s too early to talk about it,” Mr. Kasky said. “If you ask me, it’s way too late.”

https://www.facebook.com/NeverAgainMSD/

Interview with Kasky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XExNsQZZZM

 

 

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Recent Indian Feminism

In her book New Feminisms in South Asian Social Media, Film, and Literature (2017 written with Sonora Jha), Professor Alka Kurian listed recent feminist actions, which she sees as a “radically new kind of feminist politics” inspired by the concept of rights and the tactics of youth-led protests since the Arab Spring of 2011. Mainstream feminism hadn’t focused on sexual harassment (called Eve-teasing), but rather child marriage, abortion of girls, and dowry violence (such as brides burned to death in supposedly accidental kitchen fires). Kurian traces the contemporary willingness to address this issue to the arrival of Western media and increase in the number of independent women professionals during economic liberalization in the 1990s and the resulting backlash from conservatives–including increase in violence against women. Like other recent social movements, there’s emphasis on intersectional issues including caste (rights for Dalits) and religion (equality for Muslims). Kurian sees the concern for the rights of minorities as the Fourth Wave of Indian feminism. She gives examples of recent campaigns that generate increasing support:

 

2003: Blank Noise Project against Eve-teasing

2009: Pink Chaddi (panties) movement

2011: SlutWalks

2011: Why Loiter Project on women’s right to public spaces

2012: The gang rape of Delhi student incited huge protests and new legislation with harsher punishment of rapists.

2015: Pinjra Tod (Break the Cage) movement against curfews for women in student dorms

2017: Bekhauf Azadi (Freedom Without Fear) March

2017: #MeToo led by younger actresses about Bollywood abuse.

Recent Feminism in India by Alka Kurian

https://theconversation.com/metoo-is-riding-a-new-wave-of-feminism-in-india-89842?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20February%201%202018%20-%2093758012&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20February%201%202018%20-%2093758012+CID_560a2d79abaa6c1c08f7e933e33ac961&utm_source=campaign_monitor_us&utm_term=MeToo%20is%20riding%20a%20new%20wave%20of%20feminism%20in%20India

#MeToo Around the World

Women around the world joined #MeToo in to post their stories on social media, including in Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan and India. French women called their campaign “Expose Your Pig” (#BalanceTonPorc). It became more controversial when actress Catherine Deneuve and 100 other women published a letter in January of 2018 criticizing the movement for being too Puritan and a witch hunt while supporting male flirting and gallantry. Chinese feminist “silence breakers” who tried to organize their own #MeToo movement with petitions demanding investigation into sexual harassment and Internet logos of fists with painted nails were blocked by government censors who deleted petitions and blocked social media use of phrases like “anti-sexual harassment” or “#MeTooChina. They also demanded more women in high office. “We are angry and shocked,” declared activist Zhang Leilei, age 24.[i] Journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin, 30, created a social media platform to report sexual harassment, observing, “We’re not brave enough to stand out as one individual. But together, we can be strong.” One brave individual, Luo Xixi posted an online essay read by more than three million people, describing sexual harassment by her professor at Beihang University. She moved to the US.

Muslim women started #DearSister to express their voices. In Pakistan, the controversial film Verna (2017) tells the story of a teacher who is abducted and raped by the son of a governor. The Central Board of Film Censors banned the film for “maligning state institutions,” but an appellate board lifted the ban due to the #UnbanVerna campaign.

[i] Javier Hernandez and Zoe Mou, “’Me Too,’ Chinese Women Say,” New York Times, January 23, 2018.