By Rolene Marks
I love a fabulous frock. I love a sexy shoe even more and just having passed awards season which is a feast for the senses, I have been in fashion heaven.
This year’s fashion feast provided the perfect opportunity for a galaxy of female stars to accessorize their haute couture from the various spring collections with a side of self-righteousness. While I agree wholeheartedly that Time’s Up and admire the solidarity (and hey, who can go wrong with classic black?) and the advocacy for issues like gender parity and exposing misogyny, I cannot help but think our venerable women’s movement HAS to stand for more. And this also means respecting the wardrobe choices that other women make. Even the poor Duchess of Cambridge did not escape criticism for her sartorial choices having being beaten up by many in the media for her choice of emerald green gown at the BAFTA awards and not solidarity black. Way to beat up on a pregnant woman! Some women have chosen to express their feminism by wearing vagina dresses. Can one wear labia after Labour Day?
Sartorial pontification aside, there are many women’s issues that desperately need our attention.
The 8th of March is International Women’s Day, the entire month is Women’s Month. This brings with it a perfect opportunity to highlight the status of women around the world. Hollywood sexcapades have dominated the headlines in recent months and while it is very necessary to expose misogynists, rapists and appalling salary disparities, some of our sisters around the world endure this without the benefit of the media spotlight.
There are very important conversations taking place on the global stage with regards to racism and sexual inequality and harassment and we need to include our international sisters.
Terror organization Boko Haram kidnapped over 100 schoolgirls in Dapachi, Nigeria last week. There was radio silence from the media. The #BringBackOurGirls campaign barely registers a concerned response anymore. In Ghouta Syria, hundreds of women and children are dying as the bombs rain down. In Gaza, Hamas have shut down a TV channel aimed at women, a platform where they could talk and express themselves. ISIS have kidnapped Christian women, raped them and sold them into sex slavery. Across Africa and the Middle East, women are subject to honour killings and female circumcision. The media has been relatively silent. These women don’t enjoy the benefits of having the platform that social media provides to raise awareness of their issues. We need to. #MeToo has to become #MySistersAsWell.
In the United States, Jewish women are being excluded from the Women’s March because our national liberation movement, Zionism, is anathema to some, including the leaders of the march who support notorious anti-Semites like Louis Farrakhan without sanction. Jewish women are continuously marginalized from the conversation, a worrying phenomenon as anti-Semitism escalates around the world, wearing its new outfit, anti-Zionism.
In 2018 women are still being marginalized, excluded, persecuted and denied opportunity.
We women need to ensure that our movement becomes less about the obsession about frocks and catchy hashtags. We have already proven that we can make a magnificent difference when we mobilise.
If we can use our powerful voices and fashion choices to demand equal pay and an end to sexual harassment, then we can and should use them to speak on behalf of our sisters throughout the world who have been silenced. We cannot allow them to vanish in obscurity and become a case of #MeWho?
Rolene Marks is a passionate advocate for Israel and appears on radio, television and has been published in numerous global publications. Rolene is a member of the Media Team Israel, an advocacy body that fights media bias as well as Truth be Told.