From The Feminist Wire on World AIDS Day activism
What will need to happen to achieve the goal of eliminating new HIV infections, AIDS related deaths, and discrimination? What can we do, collectively, to get to zero?
By Sikivu Hutchinson
Young women of color are at the epicenter of this crisis. My Women’s Leadership Project students are currently working on two days of World AIDS Day peer education. So as an educator who mentors teenaged girls in South Los Angeles schools, I believe preventive education has to begin with breaking down the myths and stereotypes associated with heterosexist relationships, misogynist media images and patriarchal gender norms that undermine young women’s right to self-determination. Increasingly, working class African American and Latina women are being indoctrinated into a decidedly misogynist, anti-feminist view of womanhood and sexuality that has both a secular and faith-based tenor. Coming from highly religious households, many of my students have been socialized to believe that their “authentic” destinies lie in getting and pleasing a man. They struggle with the challenge of developing their own voices, preparing for college, careers and intellectual pursuits whilst battling the insidious tide of a so-called post-feminist universe where hypersexuality is conflated with liberated femininity. Young men of color are also imperiled by heterosexist, masculinist gender norms that promote hard thugged-out male identities at the expense of women’s human rights as well as loving/respectful homo-social, heterosexual and same-sex relationships and families. Getting AIDS cases down to zero must involve a revolution of mind and deed; a transformation of the way masculinity, femininity, and sexuality are perceived in the U.S. MORE @http://thefeministwire.com/2011/12/collective-responses-to-the-hivaids-challenge/