In recognition of International Women’s day, and all the associated feels, I am reflecting on the importance of women in my life, how women are involved in my life, how women interact with each other and probably much more.
As I get older, I find myself yearning for deeper relationships with women around me. Women have so much power and strength. There can also be so much tension between women. Mostly recently, I have been conflicted with the concept of feminism–what it means, what it means to me and who it is for (then I came across the concept of inter-sectional feminism and my Facebook comments got lit.)
I moved to US from Saudi Arabia. When I came to America in 2005, my first desire was to set my tits free. I went to Forever21(finally!) and found a top that would serve as a non-verbal proclamation of my freedom in this new found, liberal, accepting society. I felt so empowered. No one could tell me what to wear, no one would judge me for showing ‘too much skin’.
That didn’t happen. I received enough judgmental looks to feel very uncomfortable in my own skin (again). Isn’t that what America was about? Why were women giving me these looks? I expected it from men…but not women…Maybe I was doing it wrong.
I tried to strike a balance between showing some skin and being covered. For example, a group of college women and I went to a lake. I wore a sleeveless top (first time!) and a skirt that fell below my knees. “Why is your skirt so long? You know you’re not in Saudi Arabia anymore”.
How did that work? Tits out and I got disapproving stares. Attempt to strike a balance and I’m encouraged to be less conservative.
Fast forward a decade and some change and here is what I think I have learned and a question or two that I may have:
- White feminism is an actual thing and it is dangerous. DANGEROUS.
- Feminism is more than reproductive rights and equal pay.
- Black women are paid 63 cents for every dollar white men earn. For white women, it’s 78 cents. Write that on a poster.
- Black women and black girls are overly sexualized and this can be traced back to slavery and the treatment of black women and girls during slavery.
- Related to 4: If historical references are triggers for you because you think that we should “move forward”, “get along” you won’t get any sympathy from me.
- I am a conservative dresser. This is not because I lived in Saudi Arabia, it is just who I am. Once I accepted myself, I dressed for myself and no one else.
- There is absolutely no correlation between clothes and morality, or purity or anything else. Have you seen a witch in shorts ? —Ya.
- It is important to build deep relationships with women from all walks of life.
- It is dangerous to be offended by someone’s offense to the offensive comment you made. Stop that.
- Those shirts/posters/paraphernalia that say, “The future is female”–what does that mean? Who does that include? Who does that exclude? Think about it.
- You won’t find me praising Susan B. Anthony. Not here for it.
- I do not like being called a lady. Get away from me with your social prescriptions.
- If I ask you if you are a feminist and you tell me that you prefer ‘humanist’, I will verbally execute you.
- Politics is human. If you can put politics aside, acknowledge that as privilege.
- I need to better equip myself with the vocabulary to better advocate around LGBTQ issues.