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May 15, 2008

Bloggers United for Human Rights

Bloggers Unite Bloggers Unite

Today is the "Bloggers Unite for Human Rights" action day...

Bloggers Unite is an initiative designed to harness the power of the blogosphere to make the world a better place. By challenging bloggers to blog about a particular social cause on a single day, a single voice can be joined with thousands of others to help make a real positive difference; from raising awareness for cancer, to an effort to better education systems or support 3rd world countries.


While the words might change from country to country and are sometimes taken for granted, human rights represent one of the universally agreed upon ideas — that all people are born with basic rights and freedoms that include life, liberty, and justice. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations.

Bloggers Unite For Human Rights challenges bloggers everywhere to help elevate human rights by drawing attention to the challenges and successes of human rights issues on May 15. What those topics may include — the wrongful imprisonment of journalists covering assemblies, governments that ignore the plight of citizens, and censorship of the Internet. What is important is that on one day, thousands of bloggers unite and share their unified support of human rights everywhere.

Of course, we didn't find out about it until yesterday when we received a message from Blog Catalog (way to go... good idea, lousy promoting). So needless to say, we were a little worried. Could we actually write something meaningful and inspiring about such a huuuuge topic in such a short amount of time?

Then we took a look back at some of our older blogs and realized that we almost always write about human rights. Well, okay not always. But a hell of a lot. Everyone might not always realize that we're writing about 'human rights' because we don't hit you over the head with that term.

We've often been referred to as a "feminist blog" which is both true and untrue. Obviously, we're 'feminists' (although we resist all labels, including that one), but Evil Slutopia is so much more than just a feminist blog. We do care about women's rights - like really really really care about them - but we see the bigger picture which is that women's rights are really just one small part of the vast canvas that is 'human rights'. When he wrote about the Lavender Menace back in March (for Women's History month), we touched on this a bit:
...we still seem to be so far from a time when all human beings - regardless of gender, race, religion, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc - will be treated equally... as human beings. I think the best way for that to happen is for everyone (e.g., lesbians, women of color, gay men, etc.) to have individual representation but ultimately work together to achieve equal human rights for all.

Which is why it's so important to remember that lesbian issues are feminist issues. Just like sex workers
issues are feminist issues, even if the subject is 'controversial'. Not all feminists - or all women - are concerned with the same issues, but all women's issues are by definition, "feminist issues". ...Feminism may always be somewhat divided, but we have to remember that what affects our sisters does affect us - as women.

And to take it one step further, feminist issues and women's issues are in fact, "human issues" so they should be the concerns of all human beings, not just women. I think it's important that we address individual issues, but that shouldn't cause us to view or define ourselves based solely on what makes us different. We must be able to recognize that underneath the labels, we're all inhabitants of this same planet and all connected... and ultimately, all the same.
Human rights - in the most basic sense - are the rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled. That encompasses... well... pretty much everything.

First, we think it's important to address the difference between 'moral' rights and legal rights. A legal right is a right that is recognized and protected by law. Moral rights, on the other hand, are acknowledged by most people regardless of the law. However in the absence of law, these rights can be interpreted differently by different people and that's wherein the problem lies. A great example of this (not great as in it was a great thing - because it totally sucked - but great in that it demonstrates exactly what we mean) was apartheid in South Africa. Legally, the black South Africans weren't being discriminated against based on their race because there were no laws against racial discrimination. However, I think we can all agree that their fundamental moral rights were in fact being severely violated.

It's easy for us to say "well of course all human beings are entitled to such-and-such", but without written law on the subject it's very easy to violate fundamental human rights. Think about how long it took for women to get the right to vote in the U.S. or how long it's still taking for more than a handful of states to acknowledge same-sex marriages. (We still haven't even been able to pass the Equal Rights Amendment for chrissake).

There are said to be five main categories of human rights: Life, Freedom, Political Participation, Protection of the Rule of Law, and Social/Economic/Cultural rights...

Since we only have a day to write this - and well, if we got into a real debate about human rights it would be 1,000 pages long - we're just going to pull some of our favorite quotes/discussions on the various subjects related to human rights. We'll just let ourselves, speak for ourselves...

Gender Discrimination
It wasn’t until the late 1980s - sixty years after women had been given the right to vote - that scholars examined gender roles in art and realized that many works originally believed to be painted by men were actually misattributed on the basis of gender discrimination. Throughout history, women artists were denied the right to claim their own work based on an idea that women were inferior and less capable of producing quality work, which we now know to be a load of crap.
-- Artemisia Gentileschi (Chiquita guest blog)

The Right to Information
It's interesting that some people affiliated with the federal government think that it's "best" that people don't have access to medically accurate information about a legal medical procedure. -- Awareness Link Round-up (regarding the word "Abortion" not being an accepted search term on the POPLINE database)

Reproductive Rights
No one needs to agree with my choice; they just need to give me the right to make it. ...Maybe this all sounds cold-hearted. I had an abortion, big deal. That's not really how I feel. It is a big deal. Or at least it was. It was the hardest choice I've ever had to make and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't wonder what would've happened if I'd made a different one. But I'm convinced that if I had to go back, I would make that choice again. Regardless of what choice I did or didn't or would or wouldn't make... the point is that it's mine to make. -- Blog For Choice (Voice 4)

...we're going to go one step further and address an aspect of Reproductive Freedom that people often over look - the right to reproduce. That includes not only a woman's right to her own fertility, but also the right to have a safe delivery, the right to have a healthy baby and the right to raise and keep custody of your child. While Reproductive Freedom is about access to safe, affordable contraception and abortion, it is also about protection from forced or coerced sterilization or abortion. -- Reproductive Rights: The Right to Reproduce

Sex Workers Rights
I hope that we can all learn from Eliot Spitzer's "mistake", that prostitution is a part of our society and our economy. It has been around since biblical times and isn't going away, no matter how many laws you pass or how aggressively you enforce those laws. These laws may even be
somewhat well-intentioned, but they don't actually do anything to help women who are involved in sex work (voluntarily or otherwise). They only serve to make these women even less safe. -- The Old Tired Ethics of Prostitution

Health Care Rights
The idea that I might possibly want to know if I have a sexually transmitted disease that I could pass on to a partner that would cause her cancer... never seems to have occurred to them. I'm probably being harsh, and there are technical reasons involved, but I'd really prefer they were up front about it if that's the case.
... I should be able to take a little responsibility for my own health, and the health of my sexual partners, by being aware of what I'm carrying in my pants. That's one territory I'm not ready to give up to the feds just yet. -- Yes, Men Can Get HPV Too (Adam guest blog, regarding the fact that the CDC says finding out if you have a HPV, as a male, isn't "that important")

Sex Education
Two 8th graders in St. Louis were suspended for going to school in shirts with condoms and the words "safe sex or no sex" on them. The girls wore the shirts to protest their school's abstinence only sex education program. They were suspended because the shirts were "distracting". I guess it could be considered distracting for school officials to be confronted with the gaping hole in their health curriculum.
-- While We Were Out

Same-Sex Marriage
So, if I don't want to get married - my love somehow isn't legitimate, I'm "living in sin" or not willing to "sacrifice" enough. However, if I
do want to get married, but I happen to want to marry another woman... well that's not okay either. -- World Marriage Day?

Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation
...eHarmony rejects people for mysterious or arbitrary
reasons (you know, like being gay). -- Really Specific Dating Criteria

We think that it would be great if someday everybody felt that Black History Month was no longer necessary. (Although we don't think that would mean that it
stop just because it could stop.) We just don't think that day is here yet. Getting rid of Black History Month (and Women's History Month, Asian Heritage Month, etc.) would mean that the true lives and voices of black men and women would have to be fully integrated into the 'rich old white men's history' that we started with, and that is happening, but it's a slow process. (Can you tell that one of us wants to feel like she's using her history degree today?) ...So until that happens, we're not going to shut up. Well, we're not going to shut up about anything ever anyway, but we're especially not going to about 'our' history. Because we owe Ms. Rosa and so many other awesome women (and men) who worked with her and before her and after her, and we're not going to forget that. -- Rosa Parks

So he says he doesn't support torture, but really... what does he think "tough" and "enhanced" interrogation techniques are? For years, there have been questions about the CIA's aggressive interrogation techniques and whether they cross the line into torture and abuse. (One of these techniques is "water-boarding", which even the first secretary of the Homeland Security Department, Tom Ridge, says is torture).
-- Mitt Romney Can Suck It (in response to Romney supporting intense and aggressive methods of interrogation)

The Right to Privacy
hat sounds like a good idea for about a second, until you think about the fact that there's no way to really know if they may be teaching hate and terror. Obviously there are some sects of Islam that are like that, but you can't just go around wiretapping every mosque just because they may
be doing that. You'd need some probable cause, which he neglected to mentioned (and which doesn't exactly fall into the phrasing "may be"). -- Mitt Romney Can Suck It (in response to Romney suggesting the wiretapping of mosques)

The Right to Citizenship
Think about this for a moment: Where did your family come from? Unless you're of Native American descent, the odds are your ancestors immigrated here from somewhere else, possibly "illegally". Does that mean that you (and your parents/grandparents/etc.) should be deported? ...His proposal is ludicrous. Even a little kid, with no knowledge of citizenship and naturalization processes, could tell you that if you're born in America... you are an American.
-- Fuck Huckabee (in response to Huckabee's proposed immigration law that would prevent children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens from automatically becoming American citizens)

Gender Identity
What better day than TDoR to take the time to let the police department - and the rest of society - know that we will not stand for bias motivated crimes or the ignorance they are based in. Today is a day to remember those we've lost, but also to acknowledge that we are
who we are and no one can take that right away from us or make us afraid of being ourselves in public. -- Transgender Day of Remembrance

I thought about it a little and wow, he is totally right. We're women, and most of our readers are women. Why are we wasting our time writing about politics? Instead we should definitely be blogging about shopping for shoes or how we can't believe the new Britney Spears album sold so many copies, because we're women and we have "real things to do". Because participating fully and actively and equally in our own government isn't a "real thing to do". Fighting for positive change in a political system that often seems screwed up beyond repair? Not a real thing to do either.
Thanks for helping me see the light, Tucker.
-- Forget the Election (in response to Tucker Carlson suggesting that women are so sensible they don't want to get involved in something as stupid as politics, because they have "real things to do").

Sexual Assault
Rape is not sex. Rape is violence, power, control. Crime. Not sex. Rape is rape. There is no way around this, and the courtroom is the last place on earth where anyone should be pretending that there is.
-- Rape is Not an Occupational Hazard

Bloggers Unite

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