Victories? I weep over our “victories”

Just read the 2010’s Top 10 Women’s Rights Victories at The fact that some of these achievements, which are basic human rights issues, are being celebrated as “victories” makes me feel despondent. Take victory number seven, for instance: Colorado Prisons Stop “Labia Lift” Searches; or number nine: Mississippi School Bans Discrimination Against LGBTQ Students. Why were these things allowed in the first place? Why do we call a fundamental human right “a victory”?!

Part of the problem, perhaps, stems from the kind of discourse we use. We have allowed these struggles to be presented as privileges that are granted to us, like a favor or a dispensation that is given not because those rights existed in the first place but because someone thought they would be generous enough to grant access to them. And I believe herein is part of the problem: we should protest loudly every time these discussions are hijacked by rhetoric that presents basic rights as a generous gift from one group to another. I, for one, am tired of being told that we should continue asking nicely and educating and making a case for each social struggle.

Lucy, the first human known to have roamed earth (who happened to be a woman, I might add), is said to be 3.6 million years old. After all this time we are still debating if certain rights should be granted and when that happens we call them victories? Forgive me while I go cry in a corner.

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