Stumbling and Falling
Well here we are, March 2014, Women’s History Month. As I am contemplating what story to write surrounding the numerous contributions made by women, I find myself struggling. I am compelled to address how perplexed I am by the world around me. I wonder if there is a misogynist movement afoot. Now I say this sort of tongue in cheek. But still….
A 14 year old Pakistani girl, Malala, is shot in the head and neck for promoting education of girls – Nirbhaya, a 23-year-old med student in Delhi was brutally gang raped on a bus in Delhi, later dying from the assault. A female protestor in Egypt was dragged and beaten while wearing a blue bra; we know the bra color because as she was being beaten and dragged in the streets her bra was exposed. Maybe this is too far away geographically to relate to? I have a point to make so please bear with me. One in four female college students are raped! How is any of this unobjectionable? Why are the streets not filled with outraged men and women?
The 60’s women’s liberation movement had women take to the streets protesting asking for the rights of women to be provided unbiased opportunities and considerations. (Let’s also throw in there not to be abused too.) That sounds like a simple enough request to me. What could anyone have against this? Well surprisingly, there were accusations that feminist were; anti-family, baby killers, lesbians, ugly, men haters, destroyers of capitalism on and on. Hmmm, ugly why was that included?
Women took to the streets during the 1840’s suffrage movement. Opponents vehemently opposed giving women the right to vote argued; women are emotional therefore unable to make logical decisions, women have representation through their husbands, women would neglect their household duties and children would suffer. I have a load of quips begging to be made here but that would belabor my point, so I will continue.
Slave and Activist, among other things, Sojourner Truth, in 1851 addressed an Ohio Women’s Right convention. Sojourner pointing to a male in the audience states: “that man over there says that women needs to be helped into carriages, lifted over mud puddles, and to have the best place everywhere.”
Sojourner, had worked in the fields, plowing and planting, had her children sold away, and was subjected to the lash, she asked the convention, “Ain’t I a woman?” This question resonated with me poignant in its simplicity! If a woman is to be cherished helped and lifted, how is it possible that the road Sojourner traveled was one of complete disparity?
Sojourner, Suffragettes, Feminist, Blue Bra protestor, Nirbhaya and Malala, what do these historic women have in common? These are women who have suffered the consequence of misogyny.
There is empirical evidence connecting democracy (inter-changeable with equality) in the home to democracy in the country. Professor Valerie Hudson, author of Sex and World Peace writes: “The template for living with other human beings who are different from us is forged within every society by the character of male-female relations. In countries where males rule the home through violence, male-dominant hierarchies rule the state through violence. The larger a nation’s gender gap in equality between men and women or the more violently patriarchal their structures, the greater the likelihood that a nation will resort to force and violence in the form of aggressive nationalism.” Whoa, did that blow your mind?
I get that many of us have come to accept gender inequality as ordinary. Not noticing it until an event or events happen that exposes misogyny. I blurred the lines between the crumbs of progress and my aspiration of living a life of equality. This is where I have stumbled and fallen.
I pick myself, to honor the women who have gone before me, enlightened, struggled, and died to bring to my attention the need to remain focused and diligent in resolving the inequity between men and women.
It’s March, Women’s history month. Let us all salute and honor the multitudes of women who have and are working toward Women’s equality. Male or Female, declare yourself a feminist, wear it proudly, act as Feminist – Let’s talk about it! Loudly and often. Let’s make history!!
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DIANNE WILLIAMS – Playwright, performer, singer and activist is the author of The Rise and Fall of My Breasts, making its New York debut in the Spring of 2015.
A native of Massachusetts, Dianne currently lives in Southern California, where she has made substantial contributions and volunteers time and effort on behalf of humanitarian, social service and charitable causes and organizations.
As a writer she has produced; a novel, short stories and written numerous articles. Also a theatre critic Dianne provides insightful reviews for NoHo Arts District.
Dianne was a contract singer with Soul Unlimited. She toured as a solo artist performing with her own band throughout Southern California and Asia.
As an actress she used her multiple talents performing in dramas and musical theatre.
“I am grateful for every day that I am able to be of benefit to mankind, and it is an honour to participate in the creative world.”