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When we figured out this month was all about women, I was thrilled. “I’ve got this” I thought. I’ve crafted a half a dozen posts in my head and wondered how in the hell I would ever narrow it down. I figured the words would be pouring out- celebrating our power, lamenting the ways we fail to claim it, demanding that we do better. As the time got closer for me to actually write I came up with at least a half a dozen different topics- breastfeeding and wage gaps, and feminism, and having it all, and the war on women. Cue to me sitting in front of the computer in the final hour, with so much to say I’m silent.

The truth of the matter is this. There is SO much to celebrate about being women. Despite the many (many) ways we are oppressed, I’d still argue that we get more space on the gender continuum to be both masculine and feminine. Don’t believe me? Try sending a boy to school in a dress. I love being a woman, I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I will say this- ladies, we need to get our shit together.

Every semester I get the chance to teach young women about feminism and gender stereotyping, and underrepresentation in politics, women’s representation in media, the list goes on and on. And every semester I get blank stares, and papers stating we’re all equal now (hooray!). It’s a tough sell to them to make them feel oppressed which in its own way is good, I suppose. I remember what it’s like to be 18, 19…feeling like I could take on the world, and nothing, not even my gender, was a barrier to that. The only problem with that is that it takes away the fight, and we NEED the fight, desperately.

 
Instead the fight all goes toward each other. We’re back here bickering about who’s mom enough, and meanwhile women are earning $.77 on the dollar for men. I don’t know how exactly, but I vow to take up that fight just a little more. When I was pregnant in both instances I wanted a girl so that I could teach her how to take on the world, but more and more I’m realizing it’s equally important to raise men who appreciate and expect that strength and fire in women. In this way I do my feminist work every day, but today I’ll try a little harder- for us, for them.

 

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  1. October 12, 2012

    having birthed both a boy and 2 girls. i so agree it is vital to raise these boys of ours as compassionate, feeling, modern women loving men… and i think we will.

  2. October 12, 2012

    Wonderfully put. I have a boy in my belly right now, and I am DETERMINED to turn him into a man that I can be proud of!

  3. j.e.glaze #
    October 13, 2012

    yes!

  4. October 16, 2012

    while i agree with all that you’ve said about the existence of gender discrimination, i’m pretty sure that the stat about women getting .77 on the dollar is representative of the fact that women take jobs in lower paying fields in general, not because they actually are paid less at the same exact job. it is one of those misused and abused stats that get everyone riled up but isn’t used properly. now, the fact that those fields are lower paying may be an argument in and of itself, though. some of them probably should not be (ie teaching!) :) and apparently there are a few fields where it is true that women are paid less, but just thought you should know more about that stat if you are going to be using it. hope that doesn’t offend anyone. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jun/21/barack-obama/barack-obama-ad-says-women-are-paid-77-cents-dolla/

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