I’m not sure what a Feminist, by definition, is. Is it wrong for me, a woman in 2018, to announce I’m unclear as to the classification of Feminism and the voice it should have? Maybe. But I’m sure I’m not alone.
When I hear or read the word ‘Feminist’, the image of Gloria Steinman immediately pops into my head. She standing at a podium with her shoulder length hair and aviator glasses, demanding equality for women; equal work, equal pay. Sexual harassment is wrong and is abhorrent on all levels. The fight for social programs, abortion rights, resources for women in domestic abuse situations. Is that dating me? Probably, but I’m not so old that I don’t understand this ‘new’ movement which really isn’t new, in so much as it is different, somehow. Different in only that it was brightly lit by the glare of the Hollywood sign and the women who decided they’ve had enough hiding and not enough justice. We’ve had our champions the past one hundred years, or so. Suffragettes, Frances Parker and Emmeline Pankhurst started it with protests for the right for women to vote only to be imprisoned where they were violently force fed with tubes shoved down their throats AND up their rectums when on hunger strikes for their cause. Held down by doctors and ‘wardens’ as the tubes were shoved into them to ‘sustain their life’. More like, sustain their suffering. The torment they were forced to withstand was not without lasting physical affects, later causing strokes and serious health issues. Men stood with them, also being imprisoned for helping women, be…well, women. The right to vote, to have a voice in the future of their country. To be heard. To be accepted and valued. Women suffering for their issues is nothing new.
And here we are, some 100 years later….
The fact that the issue of women’s rights is still an ‘issue’ is both appalling and horrific. Sexual harassment in the workplace, in the classroom, in the doctor’s offices, in the PLAYGROUND…not to mention domestic abuse, workplace equality – being treated like a human being is, apparently, a difficult task these days.
Will this movement fade into the background like it has so many times before when the media gets tired of the same stories told repeatedly by different women? When the male editors of the newspapers and the producers of the news outlets decide that ‘we’ve given them enough air time, on to something else’ and the collective consciousness takes a breath and it’s all whisked away into the foggy murky unknown. Again.
When do we stop blaming ourselves for the egregious actions of men, and start demanding they take responsibility for their actions and words and bad decisions? Probably around the same time we discard the notion that standing up for ourselves is ‘unlady-like’. Or try to undo the brainwashing of pretty = perfect, or the million other ridiculous traditional insidiousness that was meant to ‘put women in their place’. Whatever ‘place’ that was supposed to be.
We continually put ourselves in the background, in the category of “oh, it’s okay, I’m fine, thanks.” When really we aren’t. Fine, that is. At all. None of this is ‘fine’. When the old fashioned ‘traditional’ raising of ‘girls are sweet and quiet, boys are rough and ready’ should be abolished along with chastity belts and silence = permission.
I don’t proclaim to be a ‘feminist’ but in my mind, if you identify as a woman, you are by nature a feminist. You stand for being a woman. To be respected, valued and heard like Every. Other. Human. Being. On. The. Planet.
I support the women who have been abused by a man or men and have not received what they need to become a whole person again. It’s not something to ‘get passed’ or ‘to forget about’. It’s a violation of trust. Of human dignity. If it’s as simple as an apology, THEN LETS HEAR IT, if that’s what she needs. Justice if that’s what is necessary. Jail time. Penile amputations. You know…WHATEVERSHENEEDS.
Let’s remember this is an ongoing ‘issue’ (ugh.) social constant? ONGOING BATTLE? Whatever you choose to name it #Timesup or #Metoo, it needs to disappear. A history of suffering is enough for any one species to endure.
Let’s make #Itendshere
I like that one better.