I just came across this piece from my journal and thought that it would be good to dust off in light of the Women's March this Saturday. It's sort of amazing to feel the energy and activism that seems to be rising up from all corners lately.
I wrote this piece in 2013 and my hope is that things will start to shift and that the ways in which we see women, treat women, and hold double standards for women in this society start to get turned upside down. My hope is that thousands of women (and men) will take to the streets on Saturday and continue "marching" every day - in the workplace, in our institutions, in our communities, in our families - to ensure that we do not quit until there is equity and justice.
May 2013 -I am a Women's-Studies-major-having woman from Wellesley College. And I have forgotten about gender.At Wellesley, my identity as a woman was strong. It was the one thing I had in common with all of my classmates. It was the lens through which most of my classes were taught. I remembered that I was a woman every morning as I walked through the dining hall for breakfast, various women at different stages of wakefulness. I remembered that I was a woman every time I spent a late night at the library - sisters strewn about on green carpeting and orange chairs. Lounging, napping, rigidly studying, whispering and giggling. All of us, women. Women led everywhere - clubs, college government, campus movements. Administration, alumnae, trustees. Women artists, women scientists, women doing anything and everything you could think of. Successful models everywhere you looked.I recall getting nervous during my first summer home after my first year. I was getting used to being surrounded by only women. A hot subway car packed with men and women both, made me skittish. I realized that the all-women environment was starting to become the norm. "Real life" felt strange. I was worried that I felt this way, but figured I would get better at transitioning back and forth.Four years of amazing and strong women and then I was spit back out into the real world. I was disappointed quickly. What I had come to learn at Wellesley was not common knowledge and what I had found at Wellesley was not easily found outside of it.My Wellesley truths:1. Strong, opinionated, smart women are the norm.2. Women can change the world.3. Your work will speak for itself. You will be judged on your merits.4. There are strong and supportive communities of women everywhere you turn.My post-Wellesley truths:1. Strong, opinionated, smart women are everywhere but not always highlighted, praised, appreciated. Sometimes they are punished.2. Women can change the world, but need to do so in very strategic ways lest they be cast aside.3. Your work + your looks + your age + how well you play with the boys = how you are judged.4. You have to look very hard for communities of supportive women. Some women will actually compete with you and try to shut you down.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. - Martin Luther King, Jr.