Feminism is gradually becoming a dirty word in the west due to an increasing amount of censorship and conformity being demanded by the regressive left. In western countries, feminists have been fighting issues such as the wage gap, discrimination against gays, as well as a whole plethora of societal norms such as not being attracted to transgenders or fat people. Typically, western feminists tend to oppose social issues which don’t line up with their ideology, instead of recognizing some of the more pressing issues which we all face. However, as trivial and bizarre as some of these issues are in western countries, there are many places around the world which would benefit greatly if feminists and “progressives” were to focus their attention elsewhere than the United States.
Saudi Arabia is home of one of the most oppressive governments on the planet. Women’s rights are virtually nonexistent and gays are literally stoned to death or beheaded for their sexuality. It was only in December of 2015 that Saudi women received the right to vote, and only in municipal elections. Not only that, but they are forbidden to drive and cannot leave or enter the country without a man to escort them. It is also commonly known that women in this country must cover their faces while in public or suffer harsh consequences. One female writer describes her experience traveling to Saudi Arabia:
“Not only did I feel infantile, I felt I was losing control of my faculty to challenge and think for myself. In that moment, I was compelled to conform to a male-dominated society where women have virtually no rights whatsoever.” – Sara Yasmin Anwar
It goes without saying that if feminists were to focus their efforts on fighting these outrageous human rights violations in Saudi Arabia instead of western countries where inequality is virtually nonexistent, that the world would be much better off overall.
When people think of Jamaica, what usually comes to mind is Rastafarianism and sunny weather at the beach, but underneath this image actually lies some pretty heinous human rights violations which occur there. According to Human Rights Watch, gay Jamaicans often suffer from taunting, firing from their jobs, or even violence for their sexuality and gender expression. In fact, under Article 76 of Jamaican law, amongst others, it is illegal to perform certain ‘homosexual acts’ as well as anal sex, even between two consenting adults.
Article 76 (Unnatural Crime):
“Whosoever shall be convicted of the abominable crime of buggery [anal intercourse] committed either with mankind or with any animal, shall be liable to be imprisoned and kept to hard labor for a term not exceeding ten years.”
As a communist state, Cuba does not take political dissent lightly. The regime routinely imprisons political activists who oppose the current government or its communist ideology, as well as independent journalists, similar to previous communist regimes such as Chairman Mao of China and Vladimir Lenin of Russia. An independent human rights group known as The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) has catalogued over 7,188 reports of arbitrary detentions of Cubans from January to August 2014. In fact, anyone who is deemed as “counterrevolutionary” may face harsh criminal sentences. Consequently, prisons are highly overcrowded.
“Detention is often used preemptively to prevent individuals from participating in peaceful marches or meetings to discuss politics. In the days leading up to the summit meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), for example, which took place in Havana on January 28 and 29, 2014, at least 40 people were arbitrarily detained, and 5 held under house arrest until the conference had ended.” – Human Rights Watch (HRW)
When it comes to freedom of speech, Cubans are highly limited to the press they are able to watch and read. Because the government controls all media in Cuba, and it is rare to have access to the internet, all information is filtered through the lens of what the government wants the people to see. In May 2014, the first independent Cuban newspaper was launched online and within hours the site was hacked, then later banned to all Cuban residents.
In Nigeria, it is federal law that homosexual behavior is considered a felony punishable by imprisonment. Another law signed in January 2016 makes it illegal for gay people to hold meetings or form clubs, violating their right to assembly. A law signed in 2014 criminalizes public displays of affection between gays and lesbian couples by imposing a 14-year prison sentence on anyone who “[enters] into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union” and similar to the 2016 law, also restricts the ability for LGBT residents to organize in order to defend themselves against their draconian government.
Naturally, these laws violate the fundamental freedoms of Nigerians to live their lives according to their own moral compass, while not harming other human beings. They also break international human rights treaties and standards which are even guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution.
“Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union, or any other association for the protection of his interests.” – Nigerian Constitution, Section 40
In 2016, Human Rights Watch called Sudan’s human rights record “abysmal,” citing attacks on civilians by government forces, suppression of civil society groups and independent media, as well as arbitrary detentions of activists and women’s rights violations. You can find video footage of police flogging women for “indecency” as well as human rights protests. Laws exist in Sudan which oppress women in some of the most draconian possible ways.
“These Laws were made to control women, their movement, their clothes, their work.” – Amira Osman Hamid, Activist for Human and Women’s Rights, Sudan
Government forces are known to have killed civilians, raped women and girls, and destroyed villages, displacing upwards of 190,000 people during conflicts in Darfur. Battles between civilians and government forces occur over land and resources, which result in death and displacement of citizens. Amnesty International has also alleged government use of chemical weapons against civilians in parts of the country. Authorities have restricted independent media, threatened journalists, and regularly confiscate newspapers which present information that paints the government in a harsh light, such as Al Jareeda.
It isn’t difficult to see that the world abroad is much less free than in western societies. There are very real human rights violations which affect people in the most intimate ways possible which could be fought if people who cared about these issues focused their attention where it really counts, instead of focusing on issues like the wage gap, which has turned out to be a complete myth, or the “feelings” of college students who don’t know how to emotionally operate in the real world or cope with hearing other points of view than their own.
I say this in jest, but if Trump were to launch a “Travel Abroad” program for feminists to see first-hand the atrocious state of human rights in the non-western world, I believe they would see that fighting against “microaggressions” and your right to identify as a toaster truly pale in comparison to the fight for international human rights, and the world would become a much safer and freer place for everyone.