In honor of International Women’s Day 2018, I’m writing a series of posts honoring women for the next month. The first is about the world we live in, fight for, and the one in which I grew up.
We climb, we fight, we fall back, we regroup, we move forward again, and again, and again. In progress, the only way forward is through.
We fight for the day when “Boss-Lady” or “GirlBoss” is just simply “Boss.”
No female-doctors, female-CEOs, female-athletes, actresses, comediennes, consumer objects aimed at women. When the phrase “[verb] like a girl” means something fucking amazing, strong, powerful, heroic, legendary.
When being emotional and passionate is seen as a character strength instead of a flaw: being weak, PMS-y, or crazy. When assertiveness is independence and confidence–not bossy, know it all, bitchy. When having PMS is understood that we feel intense, gut-punching pain, severe backaches, stabby pain crawling all over our skulls, nausea roiling through us, and we’re expected to stay at work and keep our heads up, compliant, uncomplaining nor folding.
When men are not treated or praised as heroes for doing jobs that women have had to do silently for centuries because it was expected of them, and something they just had to do because no one else would. When women praise each other for the choices we make instead of judging them as inferior because their choice wasn’t one we’d’ve made or ‘our style’.
When I don’t fear conceiving a girl because the world I grew up in as a girl was terrifying, full of danger, where I was hurt constantly—physically and emotionally. Where I was told my place, that finding a man would determine my success, value, life’s definition. Where my gender determined how I should behave, talk, where to work. Where I knew I would never make the same amount as a man in the same position as I. Where I was ripped to shreds by other women because I was quiet or weird or different.
Where men would disrespect me, spit at me, harass me, make me feel unsafe, if I didn’t show them attention. Where I felt I had to stand out in order to be seen and heard yet was NOT seen or heard because of my race and gender. Where I would end up having to fear a male friend because he tried to take advantage of me in different ways. Where I was judged, harassed, verbally assaulted.
Where I was raped…
… and didn’t know the word for what had happened because it wasn’t in a back alley, he didn’t beat me or get violent, or drug me… because in the end, I was made to feel that I was complicit in something I didn’t agree to, never wanted, and had tried multiple times to stop… and somehow was still my fault. Because even after he raped me, I still wanted him to talk to me, to be the friend he had been before he manipulated me into believing his was a safe, trustworthy space and he an honorable person and empathic ear.
We live for a world where “Me, Too” doesn’t mean a shared terror and history of intimidation, fear, violence, anxiety, and pain, but a simple agreement and shared memory, joyful experience.
We live for a world where feminism doesn’t exist; equality just is.
We live for a world where we love ourselves, our mistakes, sins, loves, joys, laughter, complexities, intricacies–where being a woman is a celebration.
I live for the world that isn’t here…yet*:
The world where I love myself because I am a woman.
Happy International Women’s Day 2018. May you celebrate heartily the women you are, and the women in your lives. It’s time we did.