Women joined all over the world to protest in peaceful marches to draw attention to women’s issues – the march prompted by President Trump’s sexist, demeaning comments about women and potential policy changes. In most countries women’s issues need to be addressed. It is in the way we draw attention to these issues that makes or breaks our cause
From Madonna’s outrage to Ashley Judd’s recitation of “I am a nasty women” by Nina Donovan, ( a 19-year-old in Middle, Tennessee) to a song organized as a pop up a Capella beauty by singer Milck we protested. Carrying peaceful placards fit for a “general audience” to wild and outrageous profane signs, wearing pink “baby cat” hats to hajibs, women around the world marched.
Today’s my blogpost is a milder gentler protest using some of the words from Nina Donovan’s prose, but written in a way I can relate to. Nina’s was written after Trump called Hillary Clinton a nasty woman. I will link the words and video from the march as a reference, but gentle women, you may not want to even look at it.
I am a gentle woman. I’ve learned the hard way not to judge people just on their looks. I am a gentle woman who can express my views without vulgar, demeaning terms, a gentle woman who cringes at words used by women (and men) that make vulgar our body parts and acts of love.
That does not make me complacent regarding real concerns regarding the people chosen to lead our countries. I am concerned about elections that are real and fair. I yearn for campaigns filled with issues not criticism, kindness not hate. I know that combatting nasty words with more, doesn’t solve our problems. I believe in absolute truth – absolute values that hold true through generations.
Being a gentle woman doesn’t mean that I don’t get angry. I am angry at any leader who uses hate speech and intimidation in his election addresses. I am angry when racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, misogyny, ignorance and white supremacy is allowed and championed in a day where it should never be. Yeah, I’m a gentle woman — but that doesn’t make me complacent.
I am glad my choices in the election booth didn’t have to compromise my beliefs – making voting for honesty mean my vote didn’t count. I honour the battles our grandmothers fought to allow me to vote. I believe in wage equality and see many examples of it, yet know others make less just because they are women. I believe that paid maternity leave for women allows an important bond that is priceless. I am angry when women feel that to go upward in a career, the trail must be be paved with sexual favours, and that they don’t feel that they can stand against this and still be successful. I am angry at Jian, Bill, Bill, Donald and countless other men who see their popularity as privilege over the bodies of a trail of women and girls. I am angry that many women (and young girls) can tell a story of coercion, assault, rape, date rape, or of not feeling worthy of saying no. I am angry that Canada has a path of missing and dead First Nations women and didn’t priorize an investigation into it. I am angry that courts often blame the women and look past a crime to the woman’s past sexual history. I am angry that even today in both our affluent countries women are sold in the slave trade. This is not a myth. This is not what Canadian (Nellie, Emily, Mary Ann, Alice,) and American ( Rosa, Elizabeth, Susan B , Eleanor, Condoleeza, Michelle) women fought for. This is inequality. This IS nasty.
I am a gentle woman, a woman who knows sorrow and anger. I buried three babies born live-who were not in the womb enough weeks to be viable. I am angry that babies this size legally can be aborted in our country because we “own” the right to our bodies. This right is balanced by the fact that most Physicians will not do this unless absolutely necessary so very few late term abortions are ever done. I am angry that fetal rights are forgotten in this era of “my body has rights.” Yet I know of late term terminations taking place to abort a baby with a genetic condition that has no chance to live. I cannot imagine that decision or that lack of choice. I cannot be in favour of banning abortions either for these reasons, and what I saw as a new nurse in that era of backroom butchering. I have seen women who felt they had no choice but to abort. Personally, my experience makes me conflicted. I am an adoptive mother. I have held a 23 week baby in my arms. I felt the bond of a 10 week fetus four times. This “women’s right to choose” movements forgets that pregnancy ended early for any reason leaves a huge loss whether that child was planned or not. Women remain wounded.
Gentle women can make a difference. Perhaps by marching in a protest march with signs that respect and honour their cause. Perhaps by fighting with gentle words rather than vulgar ones. Perhaps by having a home where girl’s issues, girl’s opinions, and girl’s privacy are honoured. A home where girls and boys are respected equally and taught to honour others. Perhaps by living values and saying words so that they will feel no shame by when their children or grandchildren repeat them. Or perhaps by every day having such clean language that people gasp if they slip up and exclaim words they so commonly hear outside their home. Perhaps by prose or songs or speeches and even Facebook memes that honour rather than degrade while still calling for equality and truth. We need to honour and value people of all gender, race, colour, economic standing and beliefs. And teach our children and grandchildren the same.
So women – let’s yell, let’s march, let’s hug, let’s cry. Let’s learn and study, and pray and listen. Let’s say NO to inequality, racism, bias. Let’s find out where the concerns are in our own sphere of influence, and each do one small thing to make a difference. Let’s throw out vulgar terms for body parts and acts of love, in doing so recognizing our diversity and beauty created by God. Let’s say pardon me or gasp instead of ignoring it when language or jokes offend us. Let’s change women’s words back to those that honour, not degrade. Let our feminism be one of beauty, strength, companionship and love.
We CAN Be those that make Canada and America great.