Caught off guard for International Women’s Day…again

in Op Ed by

Every year International Women’s Day always catches me off guard and grabs me by surprise.

Where did you come from? I wasn’t prepared. I have so much pride, spirit and energy invested in the women’s movement and I wasn’t even ready. I had no witty memes for social media, no power ballads to sing to my kid on the way to work, no pictures of me being independent, strong and awesome. My Facebook page stood still and blank waiting to be filled with ferocious “I am woman, hear me roar” anecdotes, and I had not even done my research.

Then I realized that is the basis of my contribution to women ’s rights: Social Media.

I have done a very slim amount for change. I helped start the first Women’s Studies society at my university. We fought for a better LGBT office and we fought for better access to the women’s soccer change room. We did a few noteworthy endeavours. And since then, I have stood loud and proud at every opportunity given to me. I have fought every vocal battle, I have instilled strength and guidance into my daughter and I have been an ally on every unjust occasion I have witnessed. That’s just it though. Unless a patriarchal injustice is accidentally displayed in my eye’s view, I am not getting up from my couch for anything. I’ll yell injustice from my comfy sofa, but I am not going to go on the hunt to fix it.

I don’t seek out venues or protests or change. I simply fight them when they happen in front of my face and for the most part, my strength lies in shared posts, angry viral outbursts and virtual foot stomps and roars.

Don’t get me wrong. I love social media. I work partly in social media. I think it’s a catalyst for change, an opportunity for voice, a means to spread a message near and far. It’s done wonders for seriously needed movements and it’s a venue for people to find solutions and discover issues.

I need more than that.

Even though I am tired and even though my voice is breaking, I have to start stepping up and physically seeing the changes that need to be set forth.

Because I am the one who sacrifices work and for parenting and, in turn parenting for work.

I am the one who explains my day care options in interviews.

I am the one who wears unrevealing clothes to lower my chances of harassment.

I am the one who runs every day to ensure I am strong in the face of battle.

I am the one who burrows her eyebrows when I am looked at inappropriately.

I am the one who was labeled housewife and homemaker on my mortgage.

And most importantly…

I am the one who is ALWAYS picked last for flip cup, when I should be picked first, because I dominate and I am awesome.

Even if I find the battle strenuous and even if I am told that my country doesn’t need feminism because we reached our goals, I will be fighting to achieve my actual worth, as flip cup champion and woman alike.

If we reached our goals, my survival instinct would not be on high alert every time I am alone with any man, besides those I trust. If we reached our goals, why do I cry when my four-year-old tells me she isn’t pretty? If there is no need for this day, then why am I still so scared for my daughter’s future and why am I finding my options and voice still limited?

And I am a white, mostly straight, cis woman who lives in Canada. I am privileged to the enth degree. I am a middle classed, able-bodied person without any labels or misinterpretations bopping around my first world country. So though I stand by my people and though I try to check my privilege at the door, I cannot even articulate how desperate this movement is for some others. If I live in fear for my day to day life, then I would have to multiply that tenfold for others.

It does not make anyone’s worth or rights less than others, it just means some battles will take a deeper understanding, a better recognition and an extension of empathy and a tireless strength to persevere.

Yes, I am tired and yes I want this battle won already. I am tired of being told to smile, tired of being sexual but yet not too sexual and tired of working while parenting in a society that doesn’t allow for a balance. I am worn out from reminding my child of her worth while the media reminds her it’s less than I express. I am tired of my husband having to prove my worth and tired of my words having more meaning with his backing. I am so exhausted from fear of missing an opportunity because I represent a child bearing age.

I am tired of being dramatic, crazy, slutty, prudish, too loud, too liberal and too sensitive.

So I pledge today to get up and start making a difference. How? I do not know yet but I will keep this endeavour recorded and be held accountable.

So, no more talking but rather fighting. I am in for the long haul and I am ready to make this place better than this for my daughter. It has to get better and that can’t happen from my computer.


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