Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Ongoing Struggle, The Never-Ending Fight – Women’s Rights

By Elisabeth McGowan

           “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” ~ Hillary Clinton.

As this empowering and influential politician boldly stated many years ago, women’s rights should already be considered as human rights – all are equal and therefore necessary. The fact that there is still extreme misogyny in the world is disgraceful – domestic abuse, sex trafficking, workplace discrimination, and even genital cutting are still active in the modern world. Most men in the world are solely against these hate crimes against women. But unfortunately, there is still a handful of them that continue these hateful practices.

Many think that it can’t happen to them – rape, mental and physical abuse, discriminatory remarks, etc…If you’ve listened to Lady Gaga’s song, “Till It Happens To You,” it’s a song of not just moving on from sexual assault, as well as excruciating misogyny and discrimination, but it also pledges to reveal it for what it really is and does: it’s sinister, and it damages a life. Even if one physically survives something as terrible as this, they may not have mentally survived. And that’s not their fault.   

Sexual assault – in various forms – is known to mostly occur on college campuses. “Till it happens to you…” Violence at home still exists within some marriages through deep-seated manipulation. “You don’t know how I feel…” Sexual harassment just for being a female employee is prominent in today’s society, but continues to go unnoticed without proper action. “Till it happens to you…” Sex trafficking is something that no one believes they could ever encounter, but the problem goes on as many women are forcefully sold into prostitution. “You won’t know, it won’t be real.” 

Deriding a transgender person is a current and despicable issue that needs to end; bullying any human being is brutal. “Till it happens to you, happens to you.” Lastly, genital mutilation…is as gruesome as it sounds. “You won’t know how I feel.”

Playwright Shaneisha Dodson depicts the fight to end these horrors women face in her production, Vagina RightsBased in the present day, six female characters band together to get
Shaneisha Dodson
their code, “Vagina Rights,” passed as a law in order to prevent any continuation of the atrocities each character faces in their life. Each character reflects on the certain struggle they have faced or currently experiences when they all approach the board of “International Male Headquarters.” As each story unravels, so does the truth about the reality of each terror women all over the world face. 

Lady Gaga is right – you won’t know how anyone feels unless it happens to you.   

You can’t fully understand the perspective of a victim until you’re listening and looking at them, and you get this chance during Dodson’s play.

Sexual harassment in any form should be illegal. If you suspect that someone you know has faced some type of assault, please get adequate help involved.  

What have these six characters faced in their lives? Will these women receive the rights they naturally deserve? Comment below, and please come to the Riant Theatre’s Strawberry One-Act Festival on July 15th, 16th, 19th, and the 22nd at the Theater at St. Clement’s, 423 West 46th Street, New York.

VAGINA RIGHTS By Shaneisha Dodson

Six eclectic women fight for their rights by creating the vagina rights code.

Saturday, July 15th at 3pm
Sunday, July 16th at 5pm
Wednesday, July 19th at 7pm
Saturday, July 22nd at 5pm

At the Theatre at St. Clement's
423 West 46th Street, NYC
Between 9th & 10th Avenue

Elisabeth McGowan, Writer