Smash Patriarchy

As a campaign for the 16 days to end violence against women and gender non-conforming people, the Rainbow network of IFM-SEI launched this campaign where everyday person of group of people from our organisation took a photo and added a slogan against gender-based violence and for feminism. The photo was accompanied by a small text with our demands and values. Thanks to everyone who participated!

FEMINISM IS FOR EVERYBODY - Violence against women, intersex and trans people is the most widespread human rights violation in the world. This violence is often hidden. It's structural, physical, emotional, social, economical as well as sexualized. It occurs in homes, inside doctors’ offices, political chambers, at work, in words, gestures and actions. The 25th of November marks the start of the "16 Days of Activism against gender-based Violence" campaign to raise awareness and to stand together in collectives and in solidarity against discrimination and different forms of violence. (25 Nov)

STAND BY YOUR SISTERS - Stand by your sisters always.

SMASH CAPITALISM - The current profit system benefits from the unpaid labour such as care work and domestic work which is almost exclusively done by women. At the labour market women and gender non-conforming people face different forms of structural discrimination. There is no socialism without feminism. Feminism is for everyone!

CATS AGAINST CATCALLING - Women and non-binary people are often harassed and verbally attacked during their day to day lives. People think it's okay to objectify and sexualize bodies which is usually far from what the woman was trying to do when she got dressed.  We dress up and look nice for ourselves, for confidence, for our friends and loved ones... Not for you. We should all call out this behaviour, to show we're not tolerant of these attitudes and we won't be until we can walk around as we please, proud and celebrated by the rest of society for who we are.

SMASH SEXISM - Sexism perpetuates the patriarchy. Women and non-binary people have to deal with sexism every day. We need to call out sexist attitudes and behaviours and stop accepting them as „normal“.


EDUCATING IN FEMINISM - Educating our kids in a feminist way means that we raise them to become critical thinkers, we raise them with values that support equality and solidarity. We teach them to respect themselves and other people. We empower them to express their feelings and emotions and give them words to describe them. We give them a language to communicate in non-violent way and to apologize. We make sure that children understand that everybody makes mistakes, that all mistakes can be fixed and that we will always love them.

STOP TELLING GIRLS THEY AREN’T STRONG - That young people might be deeply influenced by the gender stereotypes thrust upon them should give us all pause. How often do we heedlessly shower little girls with platitudes about prettiness and looks, or comment on how “big and strong” their brothers are growing? We hear comments about the sweetness and politeness of daughters, while sons are proudly described as boisterous instead.
In the strictly segregated aisles of many toy stores, blue shelves mark off chemistry sets, dinosaurs and building tools as the domain of boys, while girls are left holding the (plastic) baby.
Each individual incident is easily dismissed as harmless. And, of course, there’s nothing wrong with an individual child choosing to identify with any of these roles. But it’s the assumptions made for them that matter. Young children are not always equipped, as most adults are, with the critical tools to analyse and probe information – what is presented as fact is often absorbed without question. This might seem extreme, until, as I have, you visit a variety of primary school classrooms and start to realize just how many under-10s genuinely think that girls simply aren’t allowed to be footballers or doctors or lawyers. Ask your nearest small friend about these matters – you may be unpleasantly surprised.

NO NEED TO HIDE YOUR FEMINITY - In our society being a woman, female or feminine is placing you in a position of less value. Misogyny and sexism too often go unnoticed because it's embodied in our socio-cultural and political understanding of gender. We need to change that! We need to reach a common understanding that womanhood and femininity is not something to be ashamed of and instead learn to embrace it.

STOP PRIORITIZING BOYS OVER GIRLS IN EDUCATION - 62 Million girls worldwide are not in education right now. Keeping girls away from it is violence, to them as well as to all of society. When women and girls are educated their lives and also the communities they live in will change for the better. Education is a great weapon against poverty and will improve health. Education is power. So let girls learn.

STOP TELLING GIRLS THEY’RE WEAK - In a society that consistently silences women it is crucial to encourage girls to speak up for themselves. Every girl has the right to define her own desires, make her own choices. Being able to express desires, feelings and needs is a strength rather than a weakness and everybody should be allowed to do so.

ALL GENDERS AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE - There are as many genders as there are people. The binary is a myth we have to overcome. Therefore we need to create spaces in which everyone is empowered to express who they are. Spaces in which no gender identity is valued less. Spaces in which we can celebrate the colourful diversity of gender identity.

STOP TELLING WOMEN THEY ARE DOING FEMINISM WRONG - We need feminism because the patriarchy hurts. Everybody is effected by its forcefully violent structure but women and gender non-conforming people are hurt in profoundly different ways than cisgender men. If you are a cis man you have to earn to be called a feminist. This means you have to make sure you are aware of your privileges and ready to step back when it’s necessary as well as having the backs of the people whose voices aren’t listened to. However most important is to learn to listen and to follow the leadership of your sisters and siblings who identify as women, trans and non-binary people.

SMASH OPPRESSION - Patriarchal oppression can come in many ways, although all of them have one common point. They all end up oppressing people. Nevertheless oppression can be different depending on attraction, gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth... It's our duty as a community to be aware of patriarchal influence in each of its forms and act against it, we all together can create effective tools to win this fight. It's also important to notice we all aren't carrying the same weight and when it's time to put some extra stones in our bags to walk together. We can make a real change, let's be united against patriarchy.

THE MASTER’S TOOL WILL NEVER DISMANTLE THE MASTER’S HOUSE - „Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of differences - those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older - known that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.” - Audre Lorde

TRANS PEOPLE ARE VALID - The patriarchy is promoting hate particularly against women and anybody who doesn’t fit into gender norms. Misogyny and transphobia both originate in a system that is hetero male-centric, in which cis-men hold the power and that devalues feminine qualities. Trans and non-binary folks especially trans feminine and femme presenting people have to face both transphobia and misogyny. It is really sad and seems absurd that even in the feminist movement trans people continue to often be excluded from "women-only" spaces and are experiencing violence within so called feminist spaces. We have to build up strong feminist communities that celebrate differences, where women (trans or not), trans men and gender non-conforming folks are heard and valued. Feminism is not just for white, heterosexual, cis women. We cannot leave any of our sisters and siblings behind.

TOGETHER WE CAN - Together we can smash patriarchy!

STOP VIOLENCE - We need a cultural change where education in feminism is widely exposed, it is necessary to encourage young people to speak up and stand by their sisters. Moreover, we need to educate our children in feminism and their rights, in such way we will raise awareness where women, trans and non-binary people will have the same privileges as cisgender men. Violence comes in different shapes (physical, psychological, verbal), and we need to learn to recognize it. Let’s be united to stop violence and fight against patriarchy and all the oppression associated with it. Feminism is for everybody!



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Article contributed by the Rainbow Network