We at OBJECT love single issue feminist campaigns. What can be better than to put your energies into votes for women, ending FGM, helping refugee women or ending child sexual exploitation?
But patriarchy has had such a deep grip on societies world-wide for thousands of years that when one abuse ends, another springs up. When surrogacy is banned in one country, it springs up in another. When one country adopts the Nordic Model to penalise sex-buyers, another (eg Germany) decriminalises the trade and nurtures it. And sex robots spring up to offer the appearance of progress while actually perpetuating men’s misogynist sexual attitudes. It’s like trying to turn back the tide.
Currently women’s rights are being claimed by men who say they women in a cruel parody of the hard-won battles our foremothers fought to gain them. Our rights are not decorations, privileges, hobbies or extras. They are the air we breathe in order to continue to exist and to lessen the suffering of our sisters and daughters. As the world’s ONLY oppressed MAJority, our need is greatest and should be prioritised everywhere until we are fairly treated. We’re not holding our breath, but we ARE fighting on.
Patriarchy is a many-headed hydra, a monster with many heads, each of which sprouts several new heads when you cut one off. Hercules in the Greek myths killed it off using poisoned arrows, but for sure just attacking one head at a time is doomed to failure. Attacking just one head is pointless.
We at OBJECT link the issues together to guard against false complacency when occasionally a feminist battle is won. We tackle every issue where women or girls are treated as objects, sold, rented or used by men for their own purposes be it sexual, caresploitation *, financial profit, or providing domestic services under control.
We are particularly alert to SYSTEMS which suck women in to their permanent disadvantage, such as prostitution which damages and impoverishes women, surrogacy which exploits their reproductive capacity for profit, depriving children of a parent, sex clubs which perpetuate our status as mere sex objects, or porn which advertises us as sex objects. These are not just occasional blips which hurt women, they are systematic, well-developed and well-recognised institutions which suck poor women in and ensure we remain commodified and disadvantaged for men’s consumption as a hobby or convenience. Systems have a life of their own above and beyond individual instances of objectification, and so we must fight them the hardest.
It is as pointless for a tiny organisation like OBJECT to fight alone as it is for one woman to try to live a life of privilege in a patriarchy. We work collaboratively alongside sister organisations. Formerly the well-known Fawcett Society, Women’s Equality Party, the UN etc fought for women’s rights, but now these have capitulated to the trans lobby as funded by Pritzker and co (link to Jennifer Bilek’s Federalist article) and not longer focus on women. So now we support Filia, #NotBuyingIt, SPACE International, We Need to Talk, Stop Surrogacy Now!, the Resisters, Leeds Spinners, Centre for Women’s Justice CEASE, the Sex Robot project, the anti-porn organisations and any other women-first feminist organisation.
Because we are small we can be flexible and fast. In 2019 we worked with other women’s groups to get the London Porn Film Festival moved out of central London, to get Marks and Spencer to rename their Porn Star Cocktail the Passion Star Cocktail (no longer normalising porn in a family shop) and to be voted one of Vice.com’s Dickheads of the Decade for our critical stance on the trans issue. We are often called transphobic but we are not: we have no problem with trans people unless their behaviour is detrimental to women. We sympathise that they have often been sold an unsatisfactory solution to their unhappiness and wish them a better solution to help them find their place in the world.
Why not get in touch, especially if you know where we can lay our hands on some arrows!
* caresploitation is forcing women to care for the vulnerable as no one else will do it or do it well. It’s a form of blackmail and often means women cannot earn or develop their career with the same freedom as the man who should be contributing personal time and care.