Monday, March 8, 2004

this is to note

that it is International Women's Day. It is a small victory (not that I'm in any wars) to have one day specifically set aside for womenfolk, but at least it's there. Not many women take notice of it, I think: I didn't until I saw an ad on television, after watching the dubiously liberating (?) Sex and the City. But many women also do take notice of it, and celebrate it, in a variety of do you celebrate women? how do you show that you love all our shapes, all our brains, all our ways of seeing the world and loving the people we love? Each day I work at this, in the same way I work at appreciating the moment or living by my principles, they are things that take work, but it's good work. Each day I work at not judging women by the standards set upon us by media, by ad agencies wanting us to feel insecure enough to buy their products. I work at listening to other women and appreciating the hard work they do and the souls they are. Like any kind of meditation the work only gets easier as you do it.

Feminism gets a bad rap. All we really want is to feel comfortable in our own skins, to not feel the guilt or the fear or the shame or the hurt that comes from a culture or a man or another woman simply for being born with a vagina instead of a penis, and the body to match. Women, I don't think, could never be the same as men, exactly equal. That's missing the point. But we can be treated equally, as far as human rights and social rights, as far as love and respect and consideration goes. This is not too much to ask. It is not too much to ask a dominant paradigm to change.

And for those of you getting comfortable in this culture, and that includes myself, please also note: it's far from over, far from solved. I don't have any statistics to rattle off to prove this but rape still happens, too often. Harassment and violence unwarranted still occur and with still raging numbers. Too many women in the world today face choices that don't actually give them a good choice at all. We have a long way to go.

This is a way to begin: look around at the women who surround you. I mean the men too, you're a part of this. If it's not too touchy-feely, hippie-crazy, if it doesn't weird you out, try this: love them. With your eyes, or with touch, or with words, in silence or while they're sleeping. Acknowledge what they've done, the hard work they've accomplished. Give them the strength they need to give the world thier individual gifts.

And wish them: happy women's day!

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