Tag Archives: activism

You’re A Hypocrite, I’m A Hypocrite, We’re All Hypocrites

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When we think of the word “hypocrite”, our minds automatically go negative. I would like to challenge that.

I am being a hypocrite as I write this because I have definitely called folks hypocrites in a negative light in the past. The point of this article is not that people should have no values and show no principle; my point is that the possibility of hypocrisy should not prevent us from speaking out or evolving in different ways.

The first time I began to think about hypocrisy in a more nuanced manner was regarding the Orthodox Jewish Community. I found myself calling various individuals in this community hypocrites; some of this had to do with treatment I had experienced regarding gender, my status as a non-Orthodox Jew and other disagreements I saw as value-based. Orthodox Jews are extremely visible in their values and therefore it is easier to see hypocrisy. We see their values in their following of Halakha (Jewish law) and often in the way individuals dress. This led me to a realization that those who put their beliefs and values out there in a very public way will always be hypocrites.

We live in a complicated world. Chances are you are pulled several different directions each and every day. And chances are every day you do not react the same way. Sometimes I call out the racist comment I overhear, other times I might not. Should I always say something? Probably, but the fact that I might not every single time does not automatically discredit when I do speak up.

When we get so caught up in the consistencies of our actions, it can be debilitating. We are not perfect; we are evolving creatures. This idea that we are 100% authentic everyday is ludicrous. I do not think the exact same way today as I did a week ago, maybe even an hour ago.

None of this is to say we are not accountable for our actions and should not act on principle. Hell, I will continue to get mad when I see dudes call themselves feminists and then exert extremely sexist behavior. The hypocrisy of this is infuriating.

It is inevitable though that we will be hypocrites in our life.

Human characteristics that I admire most are courage and the willingness to place oneself in an uncomfortable situation. This means individuals who share their opinions in public spaces and doing so is a risk. People are going to remember a bold statement; they are going to remember when someone pushes back. And eventually, that person expressing their opinion is probably going to do something that slightly disagrees or is perceived as being inconsistent with the sentiment that was just put forward.

In regards to feminism, when an exact definition of feminism is explained as THE definition, it can lead to a bit of policing. You are a feminist if you do “x” but NOT if you do “y.” Let’s not do that. If someone is bashing women for having sex, yeah I would argue that this is anti-feminist but if a woman is out at a bar and she moves her hips to a song that is less than respectful to women, there should not be a feminist secret camera watching this individual and monitoring their behavior for hypocrisy. And when I say camera, I mean that figuratively. Guilt can eat inside us if we feel that we are not perfectly aligning with our political beliefs. When we live in a world that is so incredibly unjust, we have to participate in it at times. I call myself anti-capitalist but I still need to make money and pay rent. There is a balance between living out our beliefs and also recognizing that our actions are at times going to be inconsistent with those beliefs.

My advice. Be principled but also know that you will be a hypocrite because that is what living looks like, especially when you are willing to take a risk in a public manner and be a leader.

 

Written by Sarah Brammer-Shlay 

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Vagina Monologues 2013–Why are YOU Rising?

This week all across community theatres, universities, women’s collectives, and professional theatres is the 17th anniversary of the Vagina Monologues—a piece of art, empowerment, food for thought, remembrance and unity among feminists everywhere.  Though the show is controversial in many spheres, that has not been my experience as a cast member in the 2013 monologues at American University in Washington, DC.

In the show there are monologues about everything vagina related from sex to sex work, pleasure, anatomy and childbirth. There are personal narratives taken from stories of the 200 that were interviewed by monologue writer Eve Ensler.

Though there are many humorous pieces about sexual experiences, there are factual pieces about female genital mutilation, sexual violence and mass rape used as a systematic instrument of war. These pieces serve as a reminder to all of the atrocities that are happening in our world every minute and every second. These stories are memoirs of the women who are beaten, tortured, killed and raped. All across the world everyday 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 6 men are raped, not to mention the rapes and abuses of trans men and women that go unrecorded day after day.

Despite the many negative critiques and controversial debates that occur over the heteronormative and cis gendered framework of the Vagina Monologues, being a part of the 39-member cast of this years show has been an incredible experience. The sense of community, advocacy, support and friendship is unimaginable and something that I wish for all female identified persons across the globe.  The new addition to the show this year is a piece to jumpstart the One Billion Rising movement to end violence against women and girls together in solidarity called “Rising”. This piece along with the strong, powerful and inspiring cast moved me to write and share why I am rising.

I am rising for women everywhere.

I am rising for the one in three who will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.

I am rising for those that I love and care about who have been assaulted, those that have been raped, or abused, those that have not given consent.

I am rising for those who were coerced into a sexual act by someone familiar.

I am rising for the one in six men who are raped.

I am rising for the child who has seen their mother beaten

I am rising for the war on women, for the mass rape that occurs all around the world, not only in underdeveloped nations.

I am rising for the Ianfu Comfort Women—the women of the “Say It” monologue.

I am rising for the women who are silent and have never told a soul about the day or the night that changed their lives forever.

I am rising for my friends, family members, past teammates and cast members.

I am rising for you. I am rising for me.

I am rising for women everywhere and I will not be silent.

I am rising for the women who cannot kiss their girlfriends in public for fear of being discriminated, abandoned or shamed.

I am rising for the trans community and those that do not fit a gender binary.

I am rising for the allies.

I am rising for the children, for the young people and for the elderly in nursing homes.

I am rising for the able bodied and for the disabled.

I am rising for the sex workers and those who are trafficked into the sex trade.

I am rising for you and you and YOU.

I am strong and I am rising to stop this violence, hatred and tragedy.

I am rising and will continue rising.

Why are YOU rising?

 Written by Maria Schneider

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