Watering the Roses in Times of Crisis

Art by Lee Anna Fitzgerald

Archiving Rose Water Magazine was a tough decision in 2017. One of the motivating reasons we decided to archive our content and break from publishing new things was because our mission got messy as our country turned into a parody of itself. In 2017, it felt like our choices were to be an anti-Tr*mp reporting machine or pump out feminist playlists, and neither felt like it did anything but send waves into an echo chamber. So, with 4 years of viral articles, power-fueled art, and quippy feminist thought: we shut down new submissions so we didn’t erase our impressive legacy.

There have been many reminders since 2017 that our words have carried real weight. Speaking for myself, I know my knowledge has been forever enriched by our diverse writers and artists. Our articles and creations are still being shared as people discovering feminism that they connect with for the first time.

But some things have changed.

Things have changed for us because some things have remained exactly the same. Rose Water Magazine has always been proud to hold an anti-racist, intersectional feminist stance. Though, without new work being published, it feels like we’re looking away from the growing white-nationalist sentiment that’s insidious in America’s systems.

We were privileged to be able to step away from the project when our voices were tired of being carried on their own.

While the idea of opening up submissions again had floated to the forefront of my mind several times, no calling seemed as pertinent as the effort to support the protests for racial justice happening in cities all over the US. I could share articles we’ve written from years ago that address racism and police brutality, but it feels like an empty gesture not to be active in anti-racism.

I’ve been reminded this Spring season that roses can be almost completely destroyed, but with a little watering and attention, they will bloom beautifully with resilience. Our magazine, once bursting with feminist content, has been silent for too long. It’s time to water the roses for seeds of change to grow.

We will not be complacent when faced white supremacy. We will not turn our eyes from blatant or micro aggression. By using the power of words and art, we aim to take on the energy to recognize and educate on the many -isms that continue to plague our world.

Our contributors believe in new waves of feminism, which includes discourse on racism, body autonomy, rape culture, fat politics, and inclusive trans positive and sex positive women’s empowerment. As introduced in the 4th wave, Rose Water Magazine understands that the internet and social media is a prime component in sharing discourse and inspiring change.

In June 2020, we are declaring a new commitment as we begin publishing again:

We will donate all proceeds to featured organizations and charities that uplift and support marginalized people. The goal is to make a donation every month to a different organization. You can nominate a charity or org by emailing their info to RoseWaterMag@gmail.com.

For the month of June, we will be donating all our proceeds from ad revenue and direct donations to Black Visions Collective. Black Visions Collective is a black, trans, and queer-led organization that is dedicated to creating long-term change, with a focus on black liberation and healing.

It’s necessary to amplify black, brown, indigenous, trans, and gay voices. It’s necessary to amplify the work of marginalized groups.

Rose Water Magazine is dedicated to sharing diverse art. We are committed to being intersectional. Our goal is to make lasting change and to create a directory of educational work that leaves an empowering impact on our path.

Join us by contributing written work and art. You can submit work by emailing RoseWaterMag@gmail.com

Support us and feminist causes by donating. All proceeds will be shared with featured feminist orgs and charities. You can donate via PayPal by clicking here.

Stolen Futures: A Global Crisis for Girls

A couple of weeks ago I was leafing through some of the old journals I used to scrawl every event and thought of my day in when I was younger, and you can bet it was an hour of nostalgic laughter.

Two things were apparent as I was reading through entries; one, my handwriting hasn’t changed since I was nine and two, I swore up and down I was going to marry my childhood crush.

It was sweet to read the carefree and innocent words of a love-struck eight-year-old girl. Writing of how when she reaches 20, my current age, she will be ready to marry this boy, finish school, and work as veterinarian.

[Note: Sorry girlfriend, you’re nowhere near marriage and still in undergrad, not for pre-vet either!]

As I read my childhood predictions, it hurt my heart to think about the millions of young girls around the world that I advocate for, much like the one I was remembering, who will never get to keep journals of the dreams they have for themselves. These girls have their futures and rights stolen by thousands of years of cultural norms, by poverty, by the ancient idea that women were created to adhere to the men in their communities.

This is a reality for young girls across the globe, but more prominently in the developing world. Girls as young as eight are at risk of marrying too young, sometimes to men over five times their age. You read that right, girls as young as eight marrying men who are forty!

Why?

Poverty is a prominent catalyst for early marriage, families facing economic hardships trade their daughters’ hand (unwillingly) in marriage for a dowry or resources to support the family as well as alleviate the “economic burden” the girls have on the households. Unfortunately, much of the time these parents believe that arranging a marriage is helping their daughters lead a better life. Traditional ideas concerning gender roles also play a large part in this crisis. Culturally and religiously, girls are not valued as highly as having sons. In communities where boys are prided upon, a woman/girl’s life is restricted to the home where her role is to tend to her husband and eventually children.

child-marriage-rates

 

Countries with the highest rates of child marriage: Percentage of women married by age of 18 – IBT

According to the World Heath Organization, of the 140 million girls who will marry before they are 18 (between 2011-2020) 50 million will be under the age of 15. These girls are more likely to suffer abuse, sexually and otherwise. Forced sex can easily damage the pelvic area of a young girl’s body and traumatize her psychologically. As for those who have experienced puberty, pregnancy is commonly a matter of life and death for mother and child. Fistulas, which results in a life of discomfort and pain if not surgically fixed, also pose a huge threat to women and girls in countries of poverty and is only heightened by giving birth at a younger age.

Aside from the physical and mental strain, child marriage cuts the education of these young girls short. Insufficient money to send girls to school paired with parents not seeing value in educating girls leads to either very little or no education. Education is no longer seen as necessary once the girls have a husband, and is the reason many slip into a dependent position.Wouldn’t an educated girl who can work and provide a smarter household make more sense, you ask? Absolutely. This traditional method plays a crucial role in the generational poverty that exists within some of these developing countries. Children are married off young in hopes of helping a family’s financial situation, but in reality it tends to just create a vicious cycle. Little education results in a lack of economic opportunities and their own children are more likely to endure the same fate.

Ending child marriage and furthering education would not only give a voice and confidence back to young girls around the world but it would mean restoring their human rights and ability to dream of  brighter futures. Elimination of this harmful cultural practice would mean gender equality and empowering these countries to rise above poverty and develop as an educated and healthy whole.

For more information checkout the video and organizations below!

Girls Not Brides 

Too Young To Wed

World Health Organization

 CARE