I remember on several occasions while taking Women’s Studies in university, being told things like: “Really? You’ll never use that degree” and “Should you maybe double major, to cover your bases?” As if to say women were equal. The battle had been won and I was a day late and a dollar short. You know it’s interesting I never heard these words fall off the lips of women.
Maybe “they” were trying to set me off track. Maybe “they” believed because women weren’t legally property anymore, that we were truly free. I can tell you confidently that feminism is still needed in a big way.
Women are still not close to being equal, because society hates women in a real way. Sorry to lay it on y’all like that but we need to know where we live.
One of the number one ways women are abused is by economic violence. Something we are extremely vulnerable to because we earn on average 23.5% less. Industries occupied by women are also undervalued and grossly under-compensated. Think retail sector, and hospitality. Women occupy the lowest paying jobs in these fields. Not because cleaning hotel rooms isn’t as labor intensive as many construction jobs, but because as a society we don’t value women’s labor. Take data entry. At the inception of the tech era, data entry was a prestigious and well paying job in the tech industry. As the industry progressed women were invited to do data entry. Only suddenly data entry was “mindless job” and only worth minimum wage. Women only get assigned sectors and jobs that men don’t value or don’t want to do. What isn’t valued by men also happens to not be paid well either.
There is an entire task force in the Canadian federal government dedicated to evaluating the true value of labor activities. I spoke with a source this week and was told “When apples are compared to apples, industries occupied by women come up less every-time!” This is a serious cultural problem that runs deep into the fabric of our society.
Afluent women aren’t immune to financial abuse either. Last Friday the supreme court denied singer Kesha a preliminary injunction that would have allowed her to work outside of her unconscionable 10 year contract with Sony records and one time producer Lukasz Gottwald Aka Dr. Luke. The Singer came forward last year with “allegations” in 2013 that Dr. Luke for years had been drugging, raping and emotionally abusing her. I use the word allegation in quotations here because of the intense public and media scrutiny Kesha has endured since telling her story. Which is a whole other problem in itself. Why do we never believe women? Why does it take more than 50 women coming forward about Bill Cosby to believe the victims? The problem we have in society isn’t women lying about rape. The problem is: A society that doesn’t value and protect women. The problem is: Institutions that serve and protect men to an illogical degree.
Kesha now continues to be bound to a employment contract with a man that she says “I know I cannot work with. I physically cannot. I do not feel safe in any way”. Kesha is being legally held captive. Her entire livelihood and ability to support her self remains controlled by her abuser. Who also happens to be heavily protected by Sony’s wallet and the american legal system.
In Kesha’s testimony she told the court Dr. Luke (who is also not a real doctor might I add) had warned her “If I ever tried to get away from him for any reason, he would tie me up in litigation until my career was over.” What’s most disturbing about the producers threat, is that he was consciously and arrogantly using his power, male privilege and institutional protection to abuse and manipulate the singer. Still the court system protects him and Sony backs him.
Alas for now Dr. Luke gets to continue to exhaust control over Kesha. He continues to cause her harm, punish her and is protected and supported while doing so. Meanwhile, Kesha’s wellbeing, happiness and resources will continue to erode.
Women and Kesha are not all ‘out to sea’ however. We are in the midst of sisterhood revival! Thanks to young celebrity feminist like Lena Dunham, Demi Lavato, Jennifer Lawrence and Ellen Page to name a few; public opinion on feminism is beginning to sway, and feminism is being rebranded as chic and exploding in popularity. The masses are “liking” 4th wave feminism in viral numbers. The evidence, after decision on Kesha’s injunction was released Friday night, a social media war was unleashed on Sony. More than 2 million people took to Twitter in an organic social media campaign using the Hashtags #FreeKesha and #BoycottSony. While Sony may have won in court, they have certainly lost in the court of public opinion. Not all publicity is good publicity. Several notable musicians have lined up behind Kesha.
Taylor swift has even shown financial support for Kesha by donating 250,000$ to help with her expenses during this time.
While Kesha’s legal battle with Sony continues to “Tik Tok” on, she’s not alone, women are behind her. And, in the words of Kesha, “If you’re on of us then roll with us”. Stand with Kesha and help end systemic violence towards women.
“Tonight we’re going har har-har ha-ha-hard. Just like the world is our our-our our-our-ours.” -Kesha
Featured Image: Flikr Becky Sullivan