I first dabbled into communicating in the online world in 1993. I was 16. One of the first messages from a stranger that I received was ‘ARE YOU A CHiK?’. I thought it was hilarious. I made a CHiK t-shirt that I wore rather often, even though few people got the joke.
I’m very lucky, very intimidating, and/or very tough, because very few people have tried to fuck with me online. I’ve never received a random penis in my inbox, nor been called a bitch/cunt/monster (at least not to my ‘face’) on the intertubes. I’ve also never been pushed around by a partner, nor molested by a stranger in a bar, nor put up with any bullshit from a lecherous drunk. This doesn’t mean that I don’t know what it’s like to be marginalised because I’m a woman. It doesn’t mean that I don’t know misogynist pigs (I fired one a couple of years ago). It doesn’t mean that I haven’t seen women treat their ‘friends’ as competition rather than human beings in horrifying ways. It doesn’t mean that I wasn’t ostracised at school because I expressed my feminist ideals all my life. What it does mean is that I’m a very fortunate woman in a world where that frequently isn’t the case.
Despite my inherited weight issues, which is a social problem for which we need to find an answer, I am eternally grateful to my opinionated mother for telling me I was beautiful or clever or both nearly every day we shared together. I’m very lucky, pretty intimidating, and (usually) pretty fucking tough because of her influence. Because she was, despite the many obstacles in her life, amazing, lucky, intimidating, and really fucking tough. Sometimes we all have to be.
Yep, it’s International Women’s Day, something I’ve shied away from getting involved with in the past because I’m a terribly confused feminist. Separating women out from the human race at large makes me uneasy at times. Also, because I so frequently have my head up my ass, and live in a country where more women than men pursue higher education, sometimes I can miss the bigger picture. But that’s really just ill-formed, bullshit rhetoric.
There’s a reason why CARE’s latest campaign is called In Her Shoes and why Oxfam choses to focus so much on gender issues and differences. And the marginalisation of women, duh, still exists in this country. I met a couple of remarkable women on the weekend, one of who works for a Native Women’s organization and longs for the day when ‘Missing/murdered Native Women’ isn’t an expected, or used, phrase like it is now (because the problem is immense). The other works as a policy maker in a government department, focusing on women’s issues. Ideally, she’d love for her campaign to be so successful that she’s out of a job one day.
(As undetailed as those job descriptions were, I could have these SLIGHTLY wrong, as I was talking to them about this several wines in.)
Anyway, as always, I want all my five blog minions to think about women, ones they know, ones they don’t, ones who are inspirations, and ones who you hope get better chances. But also think about how humanity can do better by all people, not just women. Making better lives for women includes men too (though not ONLY MEN, GAWD). We have to make ourselves understood and respected to get anywhere. So while celebrating women today is grand, keep in mind that we need all of humanity on board to make a difference.
Mark Watson wrote an interesting thing about the Kony phenomenon. Go read it.