There was this little part of me that really, really wanted to be a part of this “Women’s movement.” I mean, I am a woman. I stand for women. I acknowledge that there are discrepancies in how women are generally treated that span across the globe.
I saw some of my friends storming D.C. in this historic event, and a sliver of my soul was right there with them. YES! Women are worthy. YES! Women should stand together. YES! Women are made to encourage one another. YES! Women united can accomplish incredible things.
Sadly, that was not what the media portrayed from this event, and while I recognize the media can be misleading, this event as it turned out was not about unifying women for a greater purpose. You can do your own homework — many groups were included and then intentionally and sometimes violently — uninvited. That doesn’t make this a “women’s march” then, does it? You can form your own opinions. There are many — some I agree with and others I don’t. But the beauty of being a woman is that we can have opinions as diverse and unique as our own fingerprints.
That’s what I thought the event was about — women united, despite our differences, our backgrounds, our political beliefs. I heard women saying they wanted to stand for women, to stand for what is “right” and “true.” And in so many regards, I think most of us actually do agree on fair, equal and “right” treatment of women — even if we are not in alignment with the programs, systems and laws that achieve that end. So often we forget that truth: We agree on more than we disagree.
It simply makes me sad that SOME women turned it into a divisive partisan event — a top-down maneuver from the organizers that permeated some rather disgusting choices and behavior. I was further grieved to see the response from women who then criticized the women at the event with a pretty holier-than-thou, let’s get a hashtag trend going to stand in opposition of “these women.” Not my march, they said. So glad I’m not there with “you women.” I don’t stand for “that” or “this.” Feeding into the partisan rhetoric of day from the comfort of their living rooms. Because that will also unify women, right?
Where are the men in all of this?
They are doing what men have done for decades…wondering what in the hell is wrong with women. This is just a classic example of why I recently told my daughter, in frustration once again, to find more boys to be friends with when a girl waged an all-out campaign to dismantle her circle of support by lying about her to her friends.
Sure, there are definitely men who have oppressed women. I won’t disagree with that.
But the truth is that in my lifetime, I have seen far more women oppressing women.
It happens in grade school on the playground. I’ve spent time sopping up the tears of middle school girls who have been subjected to some horrendous behavior, threats, manipulation and nastiness of…that’s right, other girls. And guess what? I’ve seen it unravel in the workplace among professional women.
To me, this so-called movement was a grotesque display of what has always been the biggest hurdle for the advancement of women — our own oppression and divisiveness. What happened in those two days was just the beginning, as the war has continued only to escalate in the days since.
Ladies, is this what we really want? Can you honestly say this is the solution? Do you feel good about it?
I recently spent two weeks shoulder-to-shoulder serving alongside women in Sierra Leone. All you need to do is look at their faces to see the proof — scars from secret society rituals. The ones where they also endure female genital mutilation. Not at the hands of a man. No, it’s the women who perform these “procedures” and ceremonies.
Sure, the roots of this and other systemic discrimination and abuse of women WORLD-WIDE are rooted in beliefs of a male-dominated culture. But until we own our roles, our responsibilities and yes, our sins in the perpetuation of violence toward women from women, we won’t find peace. This much I’m sure of.
We also need to realize there is an ENORMOUS population of men who want nothing but freedom from oppression for women. But we often shove them to the side as we make it all about us.
I want to stand in unity for women’s rights and equality. I DO stand for women in every and all ways I know how to without compromising my own beliefs or belittling the beliefs of other women.
Which is why I could not and did not participate in an event clouded in politics. And why I won’t be using any hashtag that pits one group of women against another.
I would be lying if I said women don’t piss me off and infuriate me sometimes. I think that much is obvious.This has nothing to do with your opinion and more to do with your behavior and how it impacts others. I can agree to disagree even as we work for the same kind of different. And I see your heart, and I empathize compassionately with your pain even if I take a different route to work for change.
And none of it changes how I feel about you personally.
You are worthy. You are intelligent. You are amazing. You are beautiful (the kind that starts on the inside and radiates through your face). You are one-of-a-kind. You are loved. You have a vital place in this world.
I will not stop helping girls and women understand these deep truths about their identity. No, I probably won’t march. I likely won’t join any hashtag movement that isolates another group.
I get it. We do these things because we feel. We hurt. And we want to belong. But this isn’t healing, is it?
What I will do is use the MIRROR, as I have been taught to do, to check the reflection of my own heart. To remind myself of the value of me. To ask myself what more I can do to make the world a better place. To check in with truth that says bigger transformation doesn’t really happen with a loud, noisy, “eye-for-an-eye” display but when the life of one soul is forever transformed from glory to glory.
What if we all did this? Women, men, children…from corner-to-corner of our globe, from all socio-economic backgrounds, from all races and religions. What if next time we desire to march or rally or protest or criticize we pick up a mirror first.?We look deep, past our reflections, and ask ourselves: What part have I played that got us here? Who can I forgive? What can I do to make things better in this world?
Such action doesn’t just honor God, it dignifies the very uniqueness and beauty of our individuality. We CAN make a difference. It starts inside and it can have a very profound and huge ripple effect. Yet it’s counter-cultural. It won’t look like what everyone else is doing. You might feel alone and isolated. But I assure you, you do have sisters who can, will and do stand with you.
You don’t deserve to be cut. You don’t deserve to have part of your body taken away from you. You don’t deserve lower wages. You don’t deserve to have fewer rights than your husband. You don’t deserve to be passed up for a job because of your family. You don’t deserve shame for the decisions you’ve made when it comes to planning a family. You don’t deserve criticism and mocking because of your menstrual cycle. You don’t deserve to be ostracized or bullied for any reason whatsoever.
You know this. You believe this.
So why are you subjecting other women to these very things?
Look inside. Heal. Then go and be the very thing you are hoping for!