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.