From the minute we are born, to the moment we become the earth itself, we are boxed in. We are taught to value the same voice that disrespects us, and we are expected to worship the same feet of the ones who kick dirt at us. We are taught to baptize ourselves with an identity given to us as a reflection of our actions, actions that are only ever seen as inappropriate or sinful when placed in the same sentence as "women, girl, lady, female, feminist."
“Gulabi Gang” is a gang of women in India who track down and beat abusive husbands with brooms.
Woman is not synonymous with female. Not every women is female, and not every female is a woman. People sometimes forget how derogatory that is, to be called "female", and yet it is common practice to refer to someone as such. There is major misogynistic rhetoric among the media, political agendas, standardized social interaction. It feels as if we will never reach an existence of no divide. Women will always be held to some ridiculous expectations that don't apply to men, and that's the reality.
Being a woman is such an individual experience, it is different for everyone. When it comes down to the actual point of breaking down the statistics, women of color have been at the bottom indefinitely. Overcoming that has been a struggle for them, especially because of racist motives in every single movement involving women. That is still prevalent today. White women were allowed the benefit of the doubt in every aspect. In order to progress, we have to confront that gray area that is not talked about.
“POWER TO THE PEOPLE,” Marsha P. Johnson, New York University, New York City, October 5, 1970. Photo by Diana Davies.
Regardless of what we're fed today in terms of education regarding women's rights, it's false. We are not taught about the countless women who were pioneers, the ones who kept the movements afloat, the ones who fought for everyone's rights and not just those centering white feminism. The ones who devoted their lives speaking about trans and LGBTQIA+ rights, the ones who were victims and were killed for defying lawful order. Ignoring such important actions in history is ignoring how far we've come in unity as simply women.
All we're exposed to is our vulnerability because when we speak up we're ridiculed, when we act in response we're faced with dehumanizing terms or actions, when we come forward we're shut down and purposely ignored. I am taking note of how fast this generation is challenging all this treatment. We're meeting militant action with love and positive reinforcement because we're about getting our voices heard. We're about teaching others that "feminist" is NOT a dirty word. We're about showing the public how much we're capable of. It's equal to an entire ocean and creating protests that can't be ignored.
The late Hedy Epstein, Holocaust survivor, Ferguson protester, and advocate for Palestinian human rights.
Being a women is being a queen, a teacher, an artist, a portal of eternal wisdom, the entire universe. Being a women is being capable, smart, eternal.
A figure to be respected above all.