An Open Letter to Women

christianopoulos-2Dear Women:

I didn’t choose this fight.

This fight chose me the moment I was born and the doctor announced “It’s a girl!”

Trust me, my life would have been a lot easier, my voice less hoarse, my husband less harassed if the damn ERA had passed the first time and we were done with this shit, but it seems, yet again, we are not. Old dead Phyllis Schlafly must be dancing a merry jig in her grave this week.

So here we go. Again. And again.

And Jesus am I tired of this shit.

To the 53% of American white women who voted for our newest President-Elect, I don’t even need to know why. I’m not going to postulate or justify or try to understand. I don’t give a damn why.

I’m not going to lie, it stung. Bad. I had high hopes. Those hopes were dashed upon the rocks like so many sailors called by Sirens. This time the Siren call was muffled: a few more percentage points and it would have been easier to ignore. To you, that 53%? You many not think this fight is for you, you may not want it to be for you, but it is anyway.

You want to marry a rich guy and spend your days playing tennis? Go right ahead. I don’t care. You want to stay at home with your kids? Don’t care. You want to play Donna Reed and make gin and tonics and wait around with slippers and the paper? I DON’T CARE.

If you think feminists are out there trying to stop you from living a certain way, you’re mistaken. There is room within feminism for traditional female roles, for conservative female roles, because feminism has no walls. That’s the whole goddamn point of it.

Even though you don’t think I am on your side, even though sometimes it makes me vomit a little in my mouth to be on your side, even though you don’t want me on your side, I’m fighting for you anyway….because I am fighting for ALL OF US.5573bf2a9b65c8ab7b507b3fc5a4d263

When I shouted and tweeted and declared I’m with her? It was all the HERS. It was you and her and that one over there. This fight is not just for me, it’s for all of us who got thrown into the ring when the doctor announced, ‘It’s a girl!”

To American women of color, I apologize. Profusely and profoundly. I apologize because a large portion of your white sisters threw you under the bus. Again. But even more, I apologize because unlike some of my white compatriots, you’re weren’t surprised. We threw you under the bus and we do it all the time. I feel like I got sucker punched in the solar plexus. I’m willing to bet that for you, that same punch was deflected, bounced off a callous built up of centuries of white women screwing you over. I’m not asking for forgiveness. I wouldn’t expect you to grant it.

I’m asking you to tell me how I can help.

To Millennial women: My hero Joss Whedon taught me that into every generation a slayer is born. Here’s the deal: You need to pull a final season Buffy. You need to invoke the potential of all the slayers because right now we don’t need a slayer, we need a whole generation of them. You need to sharpen your sticks and pierce the heart of this. Whether your stick is made of love or inclusion or righteousness, it doesn’t matter. It just needs to be sharp enough. Hone it. Carry it. Wield it. And if you haven’t watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, go and watch it right this second.

I thought we would hand the baton to you with a little bit less work to do. It appears I was wrong. It would seem that despite everything, we’re giving you even more to do. So to you too, I apologize.

To the women of the world, this fight is for you too, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now. Right now we’ve got a code red in the U.S. that’s probably gone to take some time to sort out, but don’t be fooled, the fight there is the fight for you as well.

This isn’t a with us or against us thing, even though sometimes it feels like it. It’s not us vs. them. Even if you are against me, I’m still on your side. I’m still fighting for you. Even when it makes me vomit a little in my mouth. Even if the ghost of moldy old Phyllis Schlafly haunts me until I’m dead.

There is room for you. There is room for me. There’s room for all off us. There is so much room, you guys. I will do my damnedest to carve out that room. I may need to borrow a few slayer sticks, though.

To the women I know personally and in spirit who are out there fighting for women, fighting for equality, getting up every.single.time they are knocked down….

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

yuru1Look, I am but one of many. I am loud, but I need a bigger platform. I need a bigger audience. I can shout, but I need a megaphone. I can write, but I need you to share the words. The time has passed for thinking you can sit on the fence.

I can scream, but I need you all to help me amplify the battle cry.

Love,
Me

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25 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Women

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  1. I grew up in a household where Phyillis Schlafly was a dirty word. When she died recently – oh man, do I suck – I couldn’t help but think “Good riddance!”

    Regarding your call, I’ve been given the chance to engage our congregation in a study in 2017 on sexism and justice. And dammit, I’m going to knock that one out of the park. I’m thrilled that a male colleague with whom I work closely is equally adamant that we’re going to shout the subject to the rooftops with this study. And at the same time we’re both on a team to make our congregation officially and intentionally welcoming and affirming for the LGBTQ community in 2017.

    ROAR!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great news and I am so happy that you have found a way to combine your work and your new passion–this is what we need. Changes at the micro level from inside the family, the community, the church. Knock it out of the park and into the parking lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was dismayed by the election results, too, like I wrote to you last week. I was surprised at first by some my black gfs reactions to me. And then it hit…yes, I got it, how we had let them down again. Gd it!!! I’m 60 years old & I lived through, read everything I could find, & agreed with my heroes: Gloria Steinem & Bella & Shirley Chisholm & thought myself capable of achieving any damn thing I wanted! I truly thought my generation would change the world & produce one of love & equality. Instead all we managed was some great music, which even Faux Not News appropriates which makes my my stomach acid gurgle when I hear it. When I was younger, I learned to read between the lines of men patting me on the head & realized there’s a huge difference between patronizing & respect, but gd it, these young girls today don’t even believe there’s a need for feminism! I was 13 & in my small way, I was a radical for my ultra Catholic Republican parents. But I still felt safe protesting, & explaining, so much damn explaining…I’m tired now. I remember Schlafy & all of the sister-hatred she fostered. I lived in & remember the Washington of the 80s with the glam queen, Nancy in attendance, while I worked in DC’s poorer neighborhoods, trying to raise literacy rates. I could barely afford my car payments, but I felt like I was making a difference! sigh And here we go again, although this time, with far worse consequences to come, I’m afraid. There’s a feeling of doom, for a lot of us old radical do-gooders. We believed in Kennedy’s message & we are afraid Trump or his hate squads will come for us now. We’re leaving FB because we can’t stand the hate. I’ve had a lot of ugliness printed on my page or seen it all over on others whom I thought of as friends. Where did we go wrong? I’m signing petitions & checks, but will it help? I don’t know…I’m so damn tired…

    I hope these ramblings make sense. And I apologize for the mess we’ve made.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, we need to apologize–to those who we failed. Not to anyone else. I’m done apologizing for being a woman. I’m done ‘asking’ for equality as well. Women need to demand equality, not ask for it. I’m tired too. But if you stop fighting, even in little way, you let them win. I won’t let them win, not without a fight. There are millions of us here to help you up when you need it. And on a personal note, I am always here if you need to rant or rage or cry. If you’re looking for me, I’m always right on the edge 😉

      Like

    1. Fuck That. Women have been letting men take the credit for centuries. And look where that’s gotten us. There’s only two places where you can make a difference here: the wallet and the bedroom. I’m working on the first, going to need some help with the second 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Shuttering at the name of Phyllis. I too feel the need to apologize on behalf of my fellow white women. I’ve heard from other women who have voted for Trump and I still don’t get it. But honestly I am more disappointed in those women who would have voted for Hillary (even halfheartedly) but instead stayed home.

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  4. I can’t make any sense of people. I don’t get it. People who vote against their self-interest should have to go before a parole board to see if they can get their voting rights back. Equal rights for everyone makes a more peaceful and prosperous society…what the hell is wrong with people? Did you see what the women in Iceland did last month? I think it’s time to spread this type of protest across the world. http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2016/10/25/women-in-iceland-protest-countrys-14-percent-pay-gap-by-leaving-work-14-percent-early/

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    1. Yes. Trust me, there are people who are trying to get that sort of thing off the ground. The problem is that there are going to be so many fires to put out it’s going to take a lot of organizing. I’ve been walking an edge of rage for a week now. Scary, quivering rage. I feel like I’ve invested so much time in learning why and how, I’ve reached out. I’ve listened. I’ve empathized. And I felt like I got thrown under a moving train. I’m getting there. I’m not there. But I’m getting there. Apparently when folks feel economically secure, they’re more apt to feel kind about things like equal rights. It’s a fucked up old world, and I fear that it’s only going to get worse.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. By the time I got to the end of your post, “Chumbawumba” was playing in my head and I was head bopping to the refrain. I wish there was more female solidarity, instead of this competitive game we’ve been pushed into playing for everything: the boy, the man, the position, the job, etc. There was a guest on Bill Maher after the election (forgot her name) that said we view other women as competition, so we’re more hesitant to stick together when we should. It sucks, and I hope this election, if anything, promotes more solidarity and a recognition that we’re all in the same general difficulties. Different groups are always kept apart, lest they find common ground and turn against those who profit most from division. We women need to build bridges. Heaven knows I’ll go looking for a good “for dummies” book on that if anybody knows the title!

    Like

    1. It is so true–and something I’ve been working on with myself for a long time. We have got to stop viewing other women as competition, but that is never going to happen if women only value themselves on their attractiveness to men (either physically or intellectually). So step one: teaching girls and women to value themselves. Teaching them to stop looking outward for approval and start looking inward. Teaching them to stop apologizing, belittling, demeaning, and devaluing themselves. Teaching them to stop waiting for validation from men. I keep waiting for women to realize if they rose up together, life would be very different.

      I try to create those spaces for women–for me, and around me. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. But all I can do is keep trying. Every.single. Goddamn. Day.

      Liked by 1 person

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D.E. Haggerty

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