Representation as a form of contraception (Week 10, Part 1)

Young girls on the African continent is beneficial. I know, too simple of a sentence, but really there are many layers to this.

On a micro level, by helping out just one girl, you serve the benefit of not only the future of that girl but also of her family. Education provides more intellectual and vocational skills that can help her become more confident and well-spoken as well as the ability to read, write, understand basic enterprise principles, etc.

On a macro level, because of the aiding of individual and families, the infrastructure of a nation is widely improved. There are more persons contributing to the local economy  and thus not only putting more revenue into the system but also using enterprise to grow a stronger future. The opportunities to succeed intellectually and economically greatly give opportunities for families and more largely communities to have better macro-stability leading to less violence, less poverty, less hunger, and greater prosperity.

While talking about education and opportunity for women in Africa can put us in rosy moods, it is easier said than done.

Representation is the largest influence of how women will live their lives. If there are women that only take domestic roles and lead submissive lives, future wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters will follow suit. This is no different in our own country of the United States when women are represented in the media and community as simply followers of men. For example, there is a trope in American cinema called the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She is a flighty, two-dimensional female character who often exists in stories to move forward the emotional/economic/creative/mental/physical growth of the male main character. Essentially, it whittles down women to only one thing: a plot device.

This is why plays, publications, and other material like Eve Ensler‘s Vagina Monologues are so important. Without honest public demonstrations and speeches of the challenges that women face all throughout the world, women and girls will remain voiceless. When governments and public figures tell women that they have a right to education and they do not have to be forced into child marriages, it gives them empowerment to have a voice. By women sharing their voices, the unification of many voices become one shout to the patriarchy that women are more than simply fillers of domestic roles.

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