well, last week there was that great piece about child brides...here's more from the guardian re: "the bride price"
in uganda, and across africa, "The practice of bride gifts has been relabelled "bride price", demanded by families and fiercely negotiated. It has reduced young women to commodities and has made families see their daughters as a source of income. Today bride price isn't a bag of potatoes, it's a list of demands for money, animals or clothing made by fathers and older brothers, who might want to throw in requests for new shoes or school fees. The mother gets nothing because she was more or less purchased herself, and the sisters are ignored too as they are all set to be exchanged for commodities when they reach 12 or 13."
the 'commodification of young women'...so much of what we face as women comes back to this basic concept. rape? (women are objects only for the rapist's use) abuse? (women must be controlled, punished, 'shown who's boss') sexism in education/the workplace/society (women aren't as smart/as capable/as valuable/as human as men)...and on and on and on.
in every single corner of the globe, women are treated as less than. so laws are passed (but not enforced) explicitly stating indeed women DO deserve equal treatment. what a cage rattling thought.
how messed up is our world if we have to LEGISLATE equality? from the sufferagists to the civil rights activists to the anti-prop 8 folks- and people in every country following those same paths- people fight valiantly for legal recognition of equal rights. but if legislation is our only avenue, we'll never acheive equality.
i feel like our nation, our globe, needs a new declaration of independence, a new magna carta, (go phillipines!) AFFIRMING the humanity of every living person (female, male, able, disabled, young, old, of every race and ethnicity), and CONDEMNING those who would deny humanity to their fellow people. individual governments can only do so much, and while symbolic gestures certainly carry meaning, they do not change beliefs, or even behaviors. the culture of acceptance of the commodification of women must end. we must protect women, punish abusers, and refuse to accept inequity.