Every now and then I find myself in an existential rut. A rut that I can only attribute to the toxicity of social norms and wrongful validation based on an individual’s genitalia, biology or gender expression. When the reoccurring subtle and blatant sexism of every single damn day seems to subconsciously build upon my heart, just faint enough to go indirectly noticed, but real and present enough to sink its claws into my gut.
It is a feeling that I often have trouble expressing and it is a feeling I believe to solely be empathized with and understood by women and femmes alone.
Silent and still, those daily interactions, the language, the moments that cling secretly to my sole pacify, they wait; until the moment when those slightly translucent walls between my subconscious and the forefront of my mind finally fade away. It is in the addressing of lingering emotions that leaves me momentarily feeling completely crushed by its cumulative weight.
Experiencing such a life in the body of a girl and then in the body of a woman, is to experience existence in such a multitude of faceted roles. The ugliness and the shame juxtaposed against the strength and perseverance is perplexingly complicated. We are molded, sexualized, demoralized and then told that we only gain respect and worth when we combat those roles and myths with a sly smile upon a made up face.
Made up to either take back the power “to be” or to hide the ways that we unacceptably truly “are”.
So, a short reminder to all men who are unable (by their own socialization not because it is entirely significantly their individual fault) to grasp the daily oppression of being less privileged than you and the importance of equity as human beings:
Men need to realize that when I talk about the ways society disadvantages women that I am NOT trying to take something away from you, only asking that the resources and opportunities be shared.
As a product of an inequitable society, I am willing to put forth the effort to understand all sides, all perspectives and all reasoning’s for our collective and group behavior. But that does not mean that it is women’s duty alone to understand, unlearn and reshape our collective culture. It has to be a group effort. Stop low key or blatantly defending your right to a platform and start putting forth an effort to understand how social norms and privileges affect us all. And how we all can share an equally leveled platform together.
Disclaimer: I recognize that all people, no matter gender, race, ethnicity or sexuality come from an individually different experience, background and upbringing. I do not condone immediate hostility towards anyone who’s experience’s or identity have influenced a different set of morals, ideas or politics that might not align perfectly with my own. I believe in the power of communication, education, the sharing of knowledge and the attempt to broaden someone’s point of view before giving up.
I consciously attempt to avoid the language and behavior that will ultimately push others away from my and our collective cause. Let’s make allies instead of maintaining enemies. But to what point must we give up on someone? The following is fueled by the emotions of defeat after an attempt at sharing education, only to be continuously shut down. It is fueled by the frustrations of our toxic society, where people would rather hold on, so dearly, to their pride then open their minds to the perspectives and experiences of others. Who would rather ignore the valid and real oppressions, that are simply unknown to them.
WHITE PEOPLE: I do not hate you. I do not condemn you, your heritage or what pride you have in relation to where you and your family came from. I do not individually blame you for slavery, systematic oppression or the unfair distribution of goods and resources.
I DO condemn you for avoiding communication, for denying history, for boxing your education within the walls of social media, Wikipedia and easily falsified news/facts. For refusing to speak out for those who aren’t given a platform as high as yours, for generalizing the welfare of communities by the assumptions of biased outsiders and media outlets that are paid to say or omit what *somebody else* wants the public to know or not know.
You might say your not racist and you can wish “everyone would just come together and get along” all you want, but if you do any of the above-mentioned^ you are indeed a part of the problem that divides us. Your denial is what oppresses ALL of us. Nobody chooses the color of their skin and what socially comes or doesn’t come with that skin tone; but as white folks, we need to check our ancestry, our history and our privilege. In great detail.
No, not EVERYTHING is about “race.” But if you act like NOTHING is about or involves “race”, you are lying to yourself and your community.
AND if you think I’m full of shit, (I generally try to avoid backing up my arguments with the fact that I am a student but if I must…. ) please take it up with my college education, the institutions that provide that education, my professors, scholarly academics who write books, hold seminars and win awards for educating on these topics. Please take it up with my mf book shelf, the endless history books and biographies at your local book store and all the people who have fought and died to speak out against racial injustice in America.
Just because the ways that America oppresses its people look different than the oppressions of other countries, whether “better” or “worse” in your biased comparison, does not mean that our battles for equality are not worth fighting for.
So, How do you educate others? Where do you draw the line? What are your tactics? White people, what do you do to appropriately be an ally? What should we do?
White people, all people, young people, old people. PLEASE. Educate yourselves and each other. Communicate.