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Yes, according to Andrea Miller, a lecturer in “Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights” at the University of California, telling pregnant women to protect themselves against the deadly Zika virus is a form of sexism, “victim blaming” women rather than addressing the real problem of… err… the natural existence of Mosquitos?
Early this week, Andrea spotted a TSA advisory sign warning travellers to “Protect yourself during pregnancy while in areas with Zika.” Instantly triggered by the sexist sign, Andrea tweeted the following:
— Andrea Miller (@genderteach) August 19, 2016
Clearly we have reached a stage beyond the comprehension of reason. A stage in which any advice about the genuine dangers of the world is misrepresented as a form of patriarchal victim blaming. Is there any advice left that can’t be classed as passing the blame onto victims? “You should lock your door when you go out” – victim blaming. “You should use mosquito spray” – victim blaming. “Don’t go to impoverished areas spinning a cane and singing I’m in the money” – victim blaming.
The strangest thing about Andrea’s tweet is that it offers no alternative. What is the solution that our Gender Studies “professional” is suggesting? Don’t advise people to take precautions? Educate mosquitoes to reexamine their sexist biting norms? I just don’t understand what people like this want?! It’s almost as though they’re just looking for things to be offended by.
This is the problem with devoting yourself too strongly to any one ideology – it starts to provide a schema for all aspects of your life. In the same way that devout Christians will see God in the most meaningless of everyday events, fundamentalist feminists will see sexism in everything from friendly health advice to, well, mosquitoes.
There are hundreds of genuinely distressing issues that we as feminists can and should be focusing on. Mosquito prevention advice isn’t one of them. All this type of rhetoric does is undermine feminism and weaken its position as a necessary movement in modern society.