I wrote this piece a while back in response to the Stupak Amendment (restricting abortion rights and women's health options, especially for low-income women in the United States). When I read that the next topic for "My Story" will be standing up this piece immediately came to mind so I knew I had to share. I hope you enjoy :)
The Feminists Will Never Be Satisfied
I heard someone say “those feminists will never be satisfied”. And I thought …“you’re right”.
I know that the freedoms enjoyed today were taken- radically- by the foremothers before me that fought with their minds, words, and bodies for people's sovereignty.
They weren’t satisfied with the prescription of what it meant to be a woman. Black women on their back, in the house- not their own house- domesticated. Brown women invisible, killed off, bred out and assimilated. White women, quiet with no voice or opinion, their words negated.
No. They were not satisfied.
This country was built on the backs of women and born from between their thighs. Yet they had to wait for over 150 years before they even had basic citizen’s rights.
And they weren’t given it. They took it.
The un-satisfaction of women is why we are all free to sit in this room together, and it is out of respect for women and the sacrifices they made, the voices they projected, the bodies they exhausted, the tears they shed, the hands they held, the breathes they took and gave that I call myself a feminist.
See, it’s a respect thing.
Because I realize that it is not something god given that I walk down these streets freely.
I do not believe in grace or chance or luck or wishing. I believe in talking and shouting, in standing up by your sister, in voting, in being seen and heard, in not being a passive by-stander, in letting people have choices, in writing, and protesting, in projecting and in being… un-satisfied.
Because it is not complacency that will give my daughter freedom, and it is not apathy that will give me rule over my own body, and it is not melancholy that will make my mother proud.
And no, we will not be satisfied.
So complacent, apathetic and melancholy is not what I will be, because I am afraid of the continuity.
Women still make less than men for the same job, gender roles still exist, rape is still one of the hardest crimes to prosecute, girls are still getting their clitorises cut off, sexual harassment is still rampant and our government is at war with women’s bodies.
So for all of these reasons I stand beside the women of today that say “I will not be satisfied”.
Satisfaction did not get us here, and we remain… un-satisfied.My Story: Standing Up