Woman in the Mirror

Posted on | July 13, 2017 | 1 Comment

Maybe it’s because forty is looming close on my horizon and maybe it’s because I have two friends who are expecting little girls at the end of this year, but for whatever reason there is suddenly an unquenchable thirst in my soul for feminism the way it ought to be.

I have begun to feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of things that need to be accomplished, the vast reach of wrongness in the world, especially as it relates to our women and girls. Perhaps it takes age to see it all; to truly appreciate the scope of oppression that is heaved onto us by our society. When you’re young, it just seems normal. Of course our music talks about passing women around like joints and refers to them primarily in terms of what they look like, what the parts of their anatomy have to offer and not the parts of their soul. Of course our churches often shun females as ministers and refuse to recognize female opinions on things like bodily autonomy. Of course advertisements use scantily clad females to sell items that have nothing to do with women at all. Of course we are taught in church and school and at home that women should cover up and keep quiet and smile even when we want to scream.

Especially when we want to scream.

Of course.

Please and thank you, the school girl I was would say and then smile and nod and turn up the music that violently debased myself and the women around me. “It’s just a song,” I’d say. “It’s funny,” I’d add, in that flippant school girl way.

But I’m not a school girl anymore. And I’m tired of watching school girls around me learn the same things I learned… that it’s okay for music to talk about women as objects, that it’s okay for television to show women as less than men, that it’s okay for our females to be paid less and work more than the men around them. That somehow by virtue of being women, we are supposed to handle everything with grace… keep the house clean, do the dishes, fold the clothes, cook the meals, rock the babies, and kiss our husbands passionately on the lips while vacuuming in an apron with a home-cooked dinner on the stove. Have a job? That’s nice. But don’t think you can get out of doing everything else that society thinks you’re supposed to do. It’s beaten into you from the moment you open your eyes… pink kitchen for girls, blue briefcase for boys.

It’s not okay to teach our girls¬† that they are less than whole without a man to take care of and not okay to teach our sons that they need a woman to take care of them. And if we aren’t talking about it, if we aren’t actively showing and teaching them what is true and right about the equality of men and women, then we have to know they are learning it from everything around them. Look pretty. Be thin. Get a boy to like you no matter what. But don’t have sex. (Unless you want a boy to like you because let’s face it, girls are only good for one thing and that’s all the sex they shouldn’t be having.)¬† But if you’re a boy? Have sex. Have lots of sex. With all those useless girls. I am so tired of hearing the way our culture talks about women, even in mainstream media: as though we aren’t people; as though our accomplishments don’t matter. As though we are little more than a piece of the person that Adam was once, a long long time ago. It’s so rare for it to be called out that today a trending story is that an intelligent man offered a simple correction when a reporter ignored female accomplishments. How is that news? The news should be that the reporter is either uninformed or an absolute moron, not that someone had the “feminist prowess” to force him to include “women” in his definition of “person”.

We are more than a piece of a man, my wonderful, funny, charming, beautiful sisters, mothers, and daughters.

We are whole and perfect and strong all by ourselves. We are the bearers of life; the bare foot goddesses of a time long forgotten because someone… SOMEONE decided that women maybe had too much power… once. We were, after all, self sufficient then. We were gatherers and hunters. We were leaders and followers. We were just the same as the men around us now. There was a time when women were at the head of the line, there to serve and even wash the feet of Jesus not because he considered them beneath him but because he considered them worthy… equal… as good or better than the men around him. Certainly they were more faithful. Certainly they were stronger in their beliefs and love of their savior than the man-child Peter and his ten best friends.

So why is it that somewhere along the way that was degraded? Why were we degraded?

And why has it taken us so long to recognize that degradation and do something about it?

We don’t have to stand for this. We don’t have to sign off on the advertisements, frequent the stores that perpetuate the degradation, raise our daughters and sons on the music that we were raised on.

It’s hard, I know.

It’s hard to break the cycle.

But forty is looming. And I have friends with daughters.

And in forty years, I don’t want them to look at me and ask me why it took so long.

 

Comments

One Response to “Woman in the Mirror”

  1. Sharon
    July 16th, 2017 @ 11:09 am

    Great post. I agree with so much of what you’ve written here.

    I believe that mothers of boys — like you and I — are in a unique position to affect positive changes about society’s attitudes toward women. It is something that I have already starting talking about with my sons (currently 5.5 years of age) and plan to continue in years to come.

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