Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Within the confines of any society, it is the stories told amongst its people which serve to define the roles its citizens will take. Cultural metaphors, historical experiences, controlling social discourse all feed into the socialization which guides relationships, laws and ultimately the minds of a country's members. The language spoken, the terms used, the measurements by which women are defined have historically and still today are too often held within the hands of men.

During Women's History Month, it does not go without notice that there is so little broadcast publicly about our gender, our strides, those atrocities which have been put upon us. I have scoured the newspapers in my community, the periodicals which I subscribe to and news programs to see what mention might be made of our month....only to be disappointed by the lack of coverage.

For this reason, it's imperative that we return to the days of storytelling amongst ourselves. That we make certain to listen to aging women in our community who have lived beyond generations when we were common chattel. To collect their histories not only in our minds, to secure a sense of appreciation for what they've given to us through struggles, but as well to preserve their histories in a feminine voice.

Too often the tales we do hear, the stories told to our daughters come intact with a masculine slant. The writers, the orators, the newscasters resonate with the airs of a man's frame of reference. And though it is good our lives are chronicled, who better to frame our minds, to feed into our definition of self than from another woman? I don't discount that a man can tell our history, rather that the history told won't have the same emotional intuition, the same strength of mirrored acknowledgment of shared experience if not in this feminine voice.

Our lives have largely been defined by the men who have told our stories. Power has been secured in societies where men have broadcast their strength, groomed the citizens with tales of male dominance and the need for female submission. And through this, many of our accomplishments have vanished within the minds of the women who knew, but did not tell, albeit often because they were not permitted to do so.

Certain narratives can only be secured if there is a desire to expound so as to uplift a people. We live in a society where now, finally, the time has arrived where we have a voice. We are finally free to tell, to write, free to poetically document our lives. Women's History Month may not have yet gained momentum, might not be recognized on a broad scale by media sources, but our voices should be heard.

I am inspired by both women I personally know and those I've come to be acquainted with on social networking sites who are raising their voices, using their art and their words to continue the matriarchal legacy of storytelling. But is it enough to write for self alone? Should we not be driven to chronicle our today so that our future will be complete with tangible tools of historical telling?

For this reason, I have began to journal the stories of women I encounter in my activist pursuits. It takes so few moments to give common women who have gone to extraordinary ends to stand against oppression and say in their feminine voice "I am here and you can not move me." And in doing so, I am surprised by the smiles I have been afforded, the hugs I've been given, as many times women have already self-defined their persons, waiting only for moment to arise when another woman is there to listen to what they have to say.

Who's story will you listen to, who's life will you chronicle, what daughter will you share our histories with in your words? What will you do to ensure that we will never again disappear between the lines of a masculine voiced history?

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


(A short history of one of my early feminist heroes)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton
was born in November 12, 1815, one of 11 children. At the age of 11, Stanton's only male sibling passed away as she sat in her father's lap, watching helplessly. Her father, upon hearing that the son had taken his last breath, looked down upon Elizabeth & said “Oh how I wish you were a boy."

This insensitive comment served as a pivotal moment in young Stanton's life, as she then vowed to excel beyond that of which her young male counterparts did to gain the approval of her father.

As the only female student at Johnston Academy, Stanton won awards for her academic excellence, including that of the Greek Competition. Upon winning, she reportedly rushed home to tell her father of her success, which he rewarded by again telling her that she"'should have been a boy." Though dejected, this further propelled Stanton to develop her drive to prove that equality was truly attainable.

Stanton was a staunch abolitionist, refusing to use cotton cloth or any other products supported by slave labor and spoke out publicly against slavery. Together with Lucretia Mott, another abolitionist and reformer of the era, Stanton held the first ever Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention.

That convention, and the Declaration of Sentiments written by Stanton & Mott are said to be the beginnings of the Women's Suffrage Movement and it is for that reason that she is long been heralded as the first Gender Equality Activist. Not to mention that she too founded and served as president of the National Woman Suffrage Association.

That which was for me the most notable of all of her accomplishments was in the writing of The Women's Bible, the beginning of modern day Feminist Theology. Disturbed by the church's revision of the Bible to serve a chauvinistic agenda, Stanton argued that rather than much of the translated scriptures were far from being the word of God, rather they were "degrading ideas of woman emanated from the brain of man."

Stanton and a committee of prominent feminists scrutinized Biblical passages relating to women and asserted that much of the disparity between the rights of men and women in our society have been based solely upon scriptures which were edited to place men in a superior position in society.

The Woman's Bible distanced Stanton from conservative suffragists and those who she hoped most to work directly with in order to secure freedoms for women.

[Her views and others like hers helped me to rationalize why the Church has long been the biggest oppressor of women and helped me to solidify my faith, while distancing myself from that which I've long regarded as the most harmful of all institutions in America. Her work led me on the path of finding out self-educated centered Christianity and a lack of faith in a male-glorification religious model.]

Nonetheless, Stanton went on to work with Susan B. Anthony, another activist and became the first woman to speak before the New York Legislature. Hearing that his daughter had been offered such an esteemed opportunity during such turbulent times for women, Stanton's father asked to speak with her before her speech before the Legislature.

He asked why it was she was so driven & what influenced her to become the woman she had. Upon hearing this question, she truthfully told him that it was his disdain that she was a not a boy which had been that which drove her to accomplish "more than" her male counterparts. Stanton's father for the first time expressed his pride for her.

For these reasons, Elizabeth Cady Stanton has long been one of the greatest influences upon my feminist mindset and one of my personal heroines.

Some of my favorite Stanton quotes:

"Nothing strengthens the judgment and quickens the conscience like individual responsibility."

"The best protection any woman can have... is courage."

"Woman's discontent increases in exact proportion to her development."

Women's History Month

As others look forward to Christmas, birthdays, Mardi Gras or any other cause for celebration, I look with excitement towards Women's History Month. Each year, I scour the newspaper & internet to see what events I might attend, so I might gain inspiration from the works of other feminists and activists.

With the present war on women being waged in America, I feel it's all the more important that women bond together in a stance of solidarity. We can not afford to allow those in political positions to have profoundly negative effects upon our health, our livelihoods, our families and our rights to chose.

I am not a feminist who feels that marriage is counter-productive to gender equality, nor am I prone to "male bash." I am, however, impassioned in my want to further the advancements of women and will offer no apologies for my pursuit of this.

Our lack of voting & pursuits in activism, along with our submissive silence, has given those in power our permissive approval to rid our nation of equality. Apathy has given rise to a revival of legislation which stifles the rights of women and I wish to shake my sisters to wake them to the travesties we're facing.

Though I do often point out the wrong doings men who use their power to usurp the advancements of women, I think it is just as needed that we give accolades to our fellow woman. For that reason, I am starting this blog.

Far too often our words are harmful to our sisters when we should instead use any voice we might have to uplift one another. I have made a vow that I will speak no ill will of another woman, nor bring harm in any purposeful fashion to any female in the coming month.

I am not without faults and too have been guilty of harshly judging other women when I had no right to. I hope to transition this into a mental and oratory evolution that will inspire others to make the same vow.

So, if I were to be asked if I could have any super power, what might it power would be to bridge the gap between other women and help to further my dreams of gender equality.

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