Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Women's March

By now, I can say with reasonable certainty that many people are weary of hearing about the Women's Marches that occurred all over the globe, literally on every continent. I can also say with at least as much certainty that others cannot get enough of the information and energy of those Marches.

One of the images I found posted on some social media ~ without attribution ~ was this one of the statue of Eleanor Roosevelt in Riverside Park, NYC, decorated with one of the pink hats so many were wearing. I chuckled at the thought of Mrs. Roosevelt as a woman of our era, marching with us, wearing this symbolic chapeau.

Over the years, many of her statements have made their way onto my 'wall of quotes' for various lengths of time. These are a few of my favorites:
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Do what you fee in your heart to be right for you'll be criticized anyway.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
As I dug into my stack of quotes, three surfaced addressing the heart of the Marches:
Too often the great decisions are originated and given form in bodies made up wholly of men, or so completely dominated by them, that whatever of special value women have to offer is shunted aside without expression.
The battle for the individual rights of women is one of long standing and none of us should countenance anything which undermines it.
One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.
It would be easy to go into a long discourse of my thoughts on each of these, but I will leave them right here ~ for each individual who reads this to ponder and discern their meaning for one's own life.

I want to consider those women who went before me ~ before us ~ marching, standing, speaking for the rights of women. I chuckled about Eleanor Roosevelt in a pink pussy hat because it seemed too radical a statement for her. Yet, when I read and re-read her words, I find a woman daring other women to be radical, to make their own statements, no matter the response and reaction of others.

I marched for my generation and for future generations of women ~ and of men. Without the balance of feminine and masculine voices and actions, no matter where on the gender continuum a person is, the world will continue its path of disorder and destruction. The Marches in the US were collectively the largest scale protest ever. That was not counting those happening at other locales around the world. The momentum needs to continue, needs to be voiced, needs to be heard.

My heart aches for those who believe disavowing the Marches is in anyone's best interest, including their own. Women who don't fully comprehend how out of balance our 'equality' is. Men who want to maintain the semblance of power at all costs. The USA is a country with no clear policy for maternity leave ~ or parental leave in general. Young women on most college campuses are provided with basic tips on how to be safe at night crossing the campus or being out at all. It's called Rape Prevention ~ only recently have young men been provided at least the statement Don't Rape. Why are women given more instruction? Because they are the ones whose body could be violated and need to fear it and protect themselves. We accept this as normal. In Japan and Singapore, it is not. The pay gap between men and women in the US is 20% ~ obviously favoring men. Why did I march? In the hope that someday soon, equality will be so ingrained in our culture that Eleanor Roosevelt's statue won't have to be decorated with a pink pussy hat.

Did you march, or support someone who marched, in the Women's March? Why or why not? What is your definition of equality? How do you perceive equality for women to be exhibited in access to health care? in cost of that health care once accessed? in pay or rank/title in your chosen profession? in safety? in 'beauty'-based assessment? in intellect-based assessment? How do you plan to support the young women and girls around you? What do you want for their future?

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