Že nekaj časa sem ga hotela napisati. Tale post namreč oz. svoj pogled na samo-percepcijo slovenskega naroda, na odnos oz. kulturo, ki jo gojimo do lastne vrednosti in kako si interpretiramo narodno zavest. Nekaj časa je tlelo in se kuhalo, zdaj pa mi je (do)končno prekipelo, očitno so takšni časi.
Težko gledam kako slovenska država s svojimi dragocenostmi ravna kot svinja z mehom. Upam, da mi nedolžni pujsi oprostijo tole primerjavo. Kvalitetne in prepoznane blagovne znamke z dolgo tradicijo (e.g. Cockta, Barcafe, Fructal) se namreč prodajajo kot da so kič brez kakršne koli vrednosti. Kvalitetno izobražene ljudi (mlade in stare) pa se tretira kot praktikante, ki niso dobri za nič drugega kot kuhanje kave.
Po drugi strani pa se pri vsakem uspešnem tujcu brska po družinskem deblu v N-to koleno in se išče slovenske korenine. Ta in ta, danes uspešen bilijonar/poslovnež, je imel pra-pra babico, ki se je poročila s Slovencem.
Vse skupaj človeka hitro navede na misel, da v Sloveniji cenimo le tisto, kar nosi žig Zahoda, od strokovnjakov, do blagovnih znamk, vrednot ipd. Slovenija se na vsak način želi otresti svojega uvrščanja v vzhodno Evropo in kakršne koli navezave na Balkan.
Balkan je v naših očeh nekaj slabega, manj vrednega, ne-zahodnega, skoraj barbarskega in neciviliziranega. Pozabili smo, da smo še ne tako dolgo nazaj delili skupno državo in da še vedno delimo skupno kulturo in zgodovino.
Namesto, da bi hvaležno črpali iz bogate balkanske zgodovinsko-kulturne dediščine, se iz nje učili, z njo rasli ter se kulturno in politično povezovali, se vzvišeno oziramo proti Avstriji, Nemčiji in Skandinavskih državah. Kot Cankar, ki je pred šolo zatajil mamo, ker se je sramoval njenega kmečkega porekla in videza. Prepričani smo, da nam Balkan ne more ničesar dati, da bomo v očeh Zahoda kaj manj, če bomo videni kot balkanska država.
Nič ne de to, da se naša politika nikoli ni zares prestavila iz Balkana in da Slovenija še vedno leži na Balkanu. Lahko poskušamo odstraniti Slovenijo iz Balkana, vendar ne moremo odstraniti Balkana in Slovenije.
In zakaj si sploh drznem govoriti v prvi osebi množine? Sem Slovenka, potomka migrantov (kolikor so državljanke_i bivših republik Jugoslavije to bili, kadar so migrirali znotraj države), a ne čutim nobene nacionalne pripadnosti: ne hrvaške, ne slovenske, če že potem morda še najbolj evropsko. Ne samo, da ne čutim nobene pripadnosti. Ne čutim tudi nobene potrebe po njej.
Nikakor nisem ponosna, da sem Slovenka (karkoli naj bi to označevalo), sem pa vsekakor ponosna, da sem odrasla v deželi, bogati z naravnimi lepotami, čudovitim in bizarnim jezikom. Da sem odrasla v sistemu, kjer je bila moja identiteta zgrajena na temeljih bratstva/sestrstva do drugih slovanskih narodov in da so zaradi jugoslovanskega socialističnega sistema moji starši kljub svojim delavskim koreninam lahko oba z bratom kvalitetno izobrazili, nama omogočili številne hobije, imeli kljub polni zaposlitvi dovolj časa za naju in dovolj sredstev za počitnice na morju.
Za vse to sem globoko hvaležna in ponosna sem na svoje korenine in na privilegij odraščanja v tako pestrem kulturnem okolju. Vendar nisem ponosna, da sem Slovenka. Dokler bo slovenska kultura utemeljena na zanikanju lastne kulturne in politične povezanosti z južno slovanskimi narodi ter si pohlepno lastila pridevnik “slovensko” za označevanje pretežno konzervativno nacionalističnih interesov peščice, katerih družinsko deblo se vsaj zadnih 5 generacij ni premaknilo iz Slovenije (kdo je že širil ideje o ‘čistosti rase’?), nimam nobenega razloga, da bi bila ponosna.
Narodna zavest, ki je zgrajena na podlagi separatizma in etnične “čistosti”nosi vrednote fašistinega opresorja in ni zavest, s katero se želim kakor koli identificirati. Narodna zavest, ki temelji na nekritičnem sprejemanju državnih zakonov, ukrepov, idej, uradnikov in institucij pa je totalitarna in ne demokratična zavest, ki odkrito podcenjuje (če ne kar žali) posameznikove_čine sposobnosti in potenciale.
Dokler ne bomo sami pri sebi razčistili in sprejeli svojih lastnih multi-kulturnih korenin ter se naučili črpati iz njihovega neizmernega bogastva, bomo še naprej omejeni na prerekanje o naših, vaših in njihovih (znotraj enega naroda!) ter na odkrekanje osnovnih človekovih pravic manjšinam, na podlagi njihove ne-slovenskosti. Dokler znotraj slovenskega naroda obstaja (in se vzpodbuja) tako odkrito sovraštvo do lastnih pripadnikov_ic, bomo samo sebi (in svojim ljudem ter izdelkom) ostali največji sovražnik.
Upam in želim si, da bomo svojo identiteto kmalu spet začeli graditi na vrednotah in konceptih (solidarnost, sodelovanje, sprejemanje) in ne na poreklu družinskega debla. Vse do takrat pa se lahko identificiram samo z eno mislijo:
“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.” (Virginia Woolf)
Admittedly, rape is not a popular topic to discuss. It often provokes strong reactions, as it is a terrible crime with a big social stigma attached and surrounded by silence. In fact, at the moment there is still no comprehensive data on rape and domestic violence at the European level.
However, this article isn’t about rape but about rape culture, a set of beliefs and behaviours that cause general disrespect and aggression towards women, including rape. Stigma and a lack of public discourse are just small parts of it.
When discussing rape culture, there is a lot to talk about: sexist jokes, advertisements portraying sexualised female bodies, notions that it’s fine to touch women and make sexual remarks about them, to take and publish photos of them without their consent, not to listen when they say no because they only say no but really mean yes. Unfortunately rape culture hasn’t been discussed enough, at least not in the mainstream media. Nevertheless, it affects us all and has effects on our daily lives, especially the lives of women.
Women live with the daily threat of rape. It influences what they do, where and how they walk, how they dress, whom they hang out with and how comfortable they are being alone. So jokes about rape are really not about having a different sense of humour, they are just another way to dominate and exercise power.
Rape culture enforces beliefs that it is women’s responsibility to prevent rape. Very often it is the victim who gets the blame for being violated. Her dress provoked him. She shouldn’t have been out that late. She agreed to go home with him. She knew him well. She just wants to destroy his career. It’s the same old “it’s her fault” story, and we’ve heard it all before: rape culture at its’ most obvious.
In fact, rape culture is so widely spread that it has almost become a norm. It covers everything from jokes to the increasingly sexualised images that we encounter on daily basis. They might be selling more products, but they also spread disrespect of women. It’s hard to talk about respect when pictures of half-naked women are staring at us from almost every advertisement from wristwatches to car insurance, films, magazines, TV shows, music. Pressure on women to look and behave like porn stars is visible also in social media, for example Facebook.
However turning women into objects isn’t done only by the media. Taking pornified photos of women without their consent and publishing them online has become some sort of sport, spreading general disrespect to women’s privacy and their bodies, treating them as if they were not real persons whose rights should be respected.
Popular culture, too, is affected by rape culture. Singers, especially in hip hop, describe women as bitches, make remarks about slapping them, portray them as wild beasts that need to be “put in order”, present sexual violence and aggression as a game.
One of the most recent examples of this was the cyber mob campaign against pop culture critic Anita Sarkeesian and her new project to analyse women’s roles in video games. A huge hate campaign was organized by male gamers as if it were an online game of mass bullying, including rape threats, pictures of her being raped by video game characters, pornified images of her on Wikipedia and a website where people could literally beat and mutilate her. Anita spoke openly about her fight with this cyber mob on TEDxWomen Talk, not an easy but definitely a rewarding video to watch.
Rape culture also affects the way we perceive crime and violence. Media articles and debates that accuse rape victims of lying are not rare at all. In so doing, they are not only trying to reverse the roles of the victim and her rapist, they also shame victims in public, making sure that other women will think twice before reporting rape.
Another sign of rape culture is use of the word rape to describe other things (e.g. Facebook rape), or as a metaphor for something annoying or something people were forced to do. It makes rape seem less heavy and violent, almost a subject of a joke.
In the meantime, rape culture is silently integrated in the norms of our society. Rape isn’t funny and shouldn’t be taken lightly, ridiculed or made fun of. This is why it’s important to bring awareness about the presence and effects of rape culture to the media and change it. Once and for all.
For everyone interested in more detailed descriptions with concrete examples, I recommend reading Melissa McEwan’s excellent blog post about rape culture.
This article was originally written for Belgian independent newspaper Dewereldmogen.be
I’ve been told many times that there’s no need for feminism anymore because men and women are equal now. Some even argue that it is in fact men who are discriminated today. When I ask them to explain the pay gap or where do all those educated women get lost on their way to well paid jobs, they either shrug their shoulders or blame it on nature.
“Women are more caring, they like stay home and raise kids, it’s not in their nature to be dominant” has been argued so often that it’s widely accepted as a truth. Rarely anybody realizes the long process behind: toys for girls encourage nurture and care while those for boys inspire creativity and adventure, girls are being told how to look and behave, being complimented for their looks and not actions, being told every single day by the media and popular culture who they are and how they should look like. Even the most resistant can’t bare this pressure without suffering consequences. It’s not enough just to be born female, ones, one needs to become a Woman.
Sexualized female body in public spaces has become something so accepted, you find it almost everywhere, subtly forming expectations on women’s looks in order to please the male eyes. Women’s magazines all over Europe are teaching us how to be more sexy and pleasing to get the man of our dreams, be a perfect lover, mistress, mother. Films mostly show women’s roles in connection to men’s, giving a message this is the most important goal in a life of a woman. Is this some new form of equality?
Double standards reflect in double language: men are angry, women are hysterical, men are Casanova’s and women are sluts, men are bold and courageous, women are aggressive. Women are being punished for success: influential female politicians and managers are either called shemales or considered to get their positions through sexual favors. There’s no winning this game.
Women everywhere are experiencing sexism on daily basis: commercials of half-naked women, jokes about rape and women’s place in the kitchen made by bosses, co-workers, friends, partners, politicians, comedians, remarks about looks, sexual harassment in the workplace, on the street and on public transport, sexist images in the media, it’s impossible to avoid it.
I don’t think feminism is dead just because women got their rights to vote, get educated and work. Discriminatory double standards are rooted so deep in Western society, they’ve become invisible so actually today we need feminism more than ever. After all, if men and women were really equal, then “throwing like a girl” wouldn’t be consider an insult.
This is an English version of my article, originally published in Dutch in Belgian independent newspaper Dewereldmorgen.