A Call to Action: Women, We Need You

Now is the time to do everything you’ve ever wanted to, and everything we can to make things better. Because since that second week in November, we are in grave danger: Certain individuals who will soon be power don’t like our bodies or want them, or us, to have rights. (For example, did you know Texas will start requiring burial of aborted fetuses? SOS.)

And of course, I am angry. And I want to incite change. But the only experience I have in gender inequality is the fact that I’ve experienced it: I am a woman, and I’ve suffered as a result, but just because a cheating abusive boyfriend gave me a couple STDs, doesn’t mean I’m miraculously a feminist scholar who can change and improve the world on behalf of all women. I need to know how to best fight back, and how to use my privilege as a white woman to best help everybody affected, not just women like me. I’m just a girl who writes about sex(ual health).

What I could do was create Canvass Mag: a safe digital space for forward-thinking feminists to unabashedly express themselves, promoting not only awareness, but productivity. We hope to provoke speculation, encourage authentic conversation, and as a result, dismantle the patriarchy. It can, and hopefully will, serve as a space for likeminded women to band together and create a safe, productive, creative space to collaborate, express ourselves and share our art and thoughts with one another.

The time to act is now, because:

  • 56% of men think sexism is “over.”
  • Because in October, women’s lifestyle and “feminist” publications were flooded with posts on costumes that are “way better” than “sexy [insert costume here].” Said costumes consist of full-coverage, baggy, “ugly” and “funny” costumes, implying that ‘slutty’ is bad while modesty is good. But — in actuality —  girls can dress up however they want, in whatever they want — no choice is “slutty,” because “sluts” don’t dress like anything, and “sluts” aren’t bad. This language is blatantly discriminatory and sexist, invalidating a woman’s right to choose – unless, of course, they choose what they approve of, which reeks of internalized misogyny.
  • Because when 49 innocent civilians were shot and killed in a well-known LGBTQ club during Pride, it was not acknowledged as a blatant attack on the queer community, but a mere threat to the land of the “free.”
  • Because a grown man on the subway – in a trucker hat, straddling a skateboard – asked if I wanted to sit down and proceeded to offer his lap.
  • Because the owner of a liquor store down the street from where I live asked if I had a boyfriend and when I said yes, asked if the sex was good, explained, in detail, how he could do it better – and when I tried to leave, stood in front of the door, grabbing at my arms and hands, to prevent me from doing so.
  • Because the employee of bodega started sweeping when I walked in; swept his way right into my body and ‘so happened’ to touch my breasts. These were public places, surrounded by witnesses, but so many people think that a bathroom door magically provides some sort of safety from harassment and assault. But a transgender woman has never harassed me, nor is that a concern of mine. Men in public, however, are. And probably always will be.
  • Because on Planned Parenthood’s 100th anniversary, Twitter users have replaced the celebratory #100YearsStrong hashtag with ‘100 Years of Murder’ in regards to abortions, even though abortions only make up a 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services. The other 97% are STI tests & treatments, breast exams & pap smears, emergency contraception kits, birth control, and much more. Planned Parenthood also provided me with Plan B & STI/HIV tests after I was raped at fourteen.
  • Because I was blamed for said rape.
  • Because my dear friend Carolyn, a brilliant scholar and feminist, was brutally stabbed to death by an angry male.
  • Because this country elected a sexist, racist rapist who condones sexual assault as the next president.
  • Because he was elected because so many people couldn’t — and wouldn’t — vote for a woman. (Including a lot of other women — a colossal 42% of them, in fact.)

For these reasons, and so many more, it is time to fight back. For these reasons, and so many more, we can no longer pretend we live in an equal society. We don’t.

For these reasons, and so many more, I am asking for your voice: I simply wish to provide the platform.

This isn’t my struggle — it’s ours. We must treat it as such, and fight as hard as we can, for everyone: people of color, people with disabilities, Islamic peoples, Jewish peoples, homeless people, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, assault survivors, rape survivors, domestic abuse and violence survivors, human trafficking survivors, and/or anybody who is experiencing feelings of hopelessness and fear as a result of the current state of the world.

So it’s up to us: we can’t be afraid anymore.

For these reasons, and so many more, I am asking for your help: What can we do?

Anyway, onward: let’s smash the patriarchy.