The women’s movement has made huge strides during my lifetime. No, we’re not where we need to be, but it’s getting closer – at least here in North America. I count myself blessed every day to live where I do. As women or men, if we are looking to help improve the lives of women, the majority of the work needs to be done off of this continent, to bring education to 100% of girls around the world; to put an end to sex trafficking; to bring wage equality world wide; to help end domestic violence world wide; to bring family planning education and options to every woman on the globe. But what can we do right here at home, in Canada?
We can start, by speaking up about things that happen every day here in Canada. If we are out in public, or get sent a forwarded email, or we’re on Facebook and we see one of those images that is meant to suggest that this woman shouldn’t have left her house is THAT outfit – instead of adding a “LOL”, or ignoring it, maybe stop and ask ourselves what ramifications that choice has. Are we trying to make ourselves feel better, by making someone else feel worse? Are we suggesting that as a woman we can’t go out of the house wearing whatever the heck we choose? I was at a Women’s Networking event, not all that long ago, and during the presentation portion of the event, women started making fun of women who go to the grocery store early in the morning in their slippers and pajamas. What if she’s a mother, and her child is sick, and she’s doing her damned best to help her family? What if she’s just too damn tired today to give a crap what we think? As a woman, I want to stand up for a woman’s right to do WHATEVER she wants – not just be an astronaut, an engineer, or a doctor – I want to stand up for her right to wear her pajamas to the grocery store at noon! I was embarrassed to be in the room when that pajama-slamming portion of the evening started, and I haven’t been back to one of their events because of it. Women who slam other women, are not what I want to be part of.
The same goes of course for “body shaming” – not participating in words and actions that suggest anyone should be ashamed of their body size or build. The same goes for “slut shaming” – not participating in words and actions that suggest a woman is responsible for violent acts against her based on her sexual choices or clothing choices. Sexual liberation means exactly that – we have been liberated to make our own choices.
If WE want to be empowered, WE have to empower each other. We should be raising other women up every opportunity we get! We should be encouraging our sister-friends for their accomplishments, for their inner beauty, for their tears, and for their ability to be authentic. It takes a lot of courage to be authentic in today’s world, and allow others to see us vulnerably, as we really are. And if who that woman is, is crazy-assed different than everyone else, not giggling and pointing, or saying something later behind their back, but being able to walk right up to them and say, THANK YOU FOR HAVING THE COURAGE TO BE YOU! YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL! “Crazy-assed different” should be the BEST compliment we could ever give a woman, or a man for that matter!
So please, take time to ponder this International Women’s Day, about how all of us, can empower ALL OF US, not just some of us.