On a whim, I picked myself up a copy of Eve Ensler’s collection of writings to stop violence against women – “A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer.” Hate to be the bearer of irritatingly devastating news but after being first published in 2007, more than a decade later this work is still so brutally relevant. I devoured it in a day and after a night of dreams and a morning of scowls, I recognised a familiar rage which I thought I had successfully repressed after adolescence. The undeclared war on women is happening now and it is not happening only past your shores.
Call it kismet but the day before I stumbled upon a copy of “The Vagina Monologues” in an op shop. The perfect chaser to help swallow “A Memory.” I laughed out loud more often, but ultimately it further fed my furry, fury monster (the correct term is vulva). I like this feeling. I like being angry about this. Rather than emptiness or sadness, I’ve harnessed an outrage that I can work with. I’m keeping the ball rolling with Clemantine Ford’s “Fight Like a Girl.” Stay posted for that one, but so far… so, so good.
And so I should feel angry. And so should you. So should we all. I’m angry that I retreated into a shell after moving to this big city in an attempt to escape the unwelcome stares or comments of men. I’m angry that, during high school, we didn’t know what to do when my friend was being rubbed up against on a train, so we did nothing. I’m angry that a male doctor rushed me into getting the birth control implant and did not walk me through the possible (and very common and not talked about) side effect of depression. I’m angry that I thought I was going crazy when it was just the hormones. I’m angry that a female doctor got defensive when I asked to make an official complaint to the practice.
I’m angry that other women, all around the globe, go through so, so much worse. It disturbs me that I’ve shut myself off, do not allow myself to imagine what some are put through as a means of oppression, obedience and silence. Time to reawaken. I’m a big girl now, I can handle it. “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” Let’s not forget that pearl of wisdom from Audre Lorde.
I am a firm believer that the war on women is not simply a war on women. It is a war on the feminine power in all genders. We all have a balance of the masculine and feminine energies. It is when this balance is off, when one side is stifled; this is when you are unable to exist, live, function, be in all of your power. That is no way to live. It hurts to see loved ones unable to completely show up in their lives. Sadly, this is our status quo. We don’t stop to consider that there could be a better option; that we’re not living up to our potential. Most of us could not even begin to imagine a world of equality. What would it look like? How would our lives change?
Look around. We are at war. The whole world is at war. It always has been. Were you waiting for someone to announce World War Three? Would that have made you sit up and pay attention? The time to be aware is now. Time to fight. Time to win.