By Jen Thorpe
It’s December. As in, it’s the end of the year and soon it will be 2012. It will soon be 2012 and we will still be protesting the same shit we were protesting at the start of 2011. This could be a potentially depressing, because although we’ve been at it all year fighting the good fight, it still might seem that the world is a crap, anti-female place. Which, sadly, it is.
Yet, there is also something positive about this. We have not given up.
Giving up in the face of obstacles to gender equality which have been around since the beginning of time seems like the logical thing to do. I mean, obviously we’re only on the planet for somewhere between 1 and 10o years, and it seems unrealistic to think that we could really change anything in that time. It has taken at least 2011 years for sexism to become this entrenched, and it might well take even longer to uproot it. So the thinking could go – why not stop? Why not give up and just be a good person in your own world? Isn’t that enough?
The short answer: NO! Giving up on being able to make a change in the world is not an option. Of course, starting with ourselves is essential. We have to scrutinise our own lives and practices to see whether we are who we say we are, and how we could improve. But if we only think of ourselves, we will be ignoring how our actions always affect others. Your choices about what to eat, where to eat it, where you live, and how you live affect people around the country. Your choices about gender relations, race relations, sexuality relations and class relations influence others, and affect others. You might think that what you do is a drop in the ocean, but in essence the ocean is just a whole bunch of drops bumping against each other. Every drop counts.
So at the end of 2011 I invite you not to give up. To take half an hour this month to sit with yourself and think about what you have done this year that has made an impact. Take this half an hour and thank yourself for not giving up, and for trying where others couldn’t or wouldn’t. You are not alone, and next year you have the opportunity to make more positive change in the world.
I want to thank everyone who has written for this site, read the pieces, and commented. Thank you to all of you for your support for women’s rights and feminism. You help me to get up every day. We’re almost one year in, and I can’t wait for 2012 to see what it has in store for us all.