In the early 1970’s there was a hit song entitled, “I Am Woman.” Lyrics include, “I am woman, hear me roar/In numbers too big to ignore.” And another bold pronouncement, “No one’s ever going to keep me down again.”
Would that these statements were still true. We seem to live in an age when women are under attack again. There are forces in the culture that are trying to eradicate not only the word ‘woman’ but its meaning. If they succeed, we women will lose our identity and our place in the world that we’ve struggled so long and hard to have.
If you don’t believe that it was an arduous struggle at the start, you should read this. It’s one of many terrible, dishonorable moments in our country’s history. But if had not been for some incredibly brave women, we would not have the rights we do today. We would not have the same rights as men, which of course, we deserve. And always have. Just as there are horror stories from the Civil Rights Movement whose brave and stalwart members also rose victorious, women have some of their own.
First there was oppression for too long, then there was persecution which should not have happened at all. As we evolve as a civilization, we can be grateful for what’s been accomplished by the work and sacrifice of those who came before us. And we certainly should not squander any of our hard won rights. All people in this country should be treated as equal in opportunity, as well as in our God-given rights as laid out in the Declaration of Independence, and in amendments to our Constitution.
But now, it seems, there are some in our society who are trying to take away our very identity, who would like to completely ignore the reality of biological women. (This is just one example; there are lots more.) And the very people who are trying to do this would argue that they just want dignity for everyone. That should not happen at the expense of even one biological woman’s dignity.
While I will not have an argument today over women and men transitioning to the opposite sex to which they were born, I can and do stand firmly in the belief that woman is a real word with real meaning. And ‘birthing person’ or ‘person who menstruates’ are not words that can or should replace mother or woman. (That’s actually a thing in some quarters!) Nor should women have to step aside so a biological man can beat them in athletic competitions.
“I am woman, hear me roar,” the song declares. Meh. There’s not a lot of roaring going on these days. In the name of tolerance, I suppose, too many people are choosing to allow a lot of weirdness to occur in our culture without even a snarl.
Unless we say, in one loud, clear voice, “Stop.” You might even say, unless we “roar,” women may find themselves returning to the role of second class citizens. Another, at this point, ironic statement in the “I am Woman” song is “Yes, I’m wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain.” You said it, lady. I’m reminded of the pain of our founding mothers who endured so much just to be recognized as people who should be allowed to vote, and to have a lot of other privileges and rights that we have taken for granted for too long. Don’t get me started on the pain of childbirth. And wisdom? Let’s show them we women are still wise before that wisdom is firmly negated and placed on the ash heap of history.
I read a great quote today about leadership, accompanied by a photo. The words were: “Followers will never know how hard the leader tries to create a path.” The overhead image reveals a pack of wolves in deep snow. One, the leader, is well out in front of the others clearing a narrow path with its body which the others follow in single file formation, out of necessity. The path the lead wolf makes by lunging again and again into the undisturbed snow in front of the pack has got to be at great cost for that wolf. But the lead wolf is out in front so the others get to trot along behind in the cleared path before them. I wonder if those following are grateful? I wonder if they even know how challenging it’s been for the lead wolf?
It’s something for we followers of our foremothers and sisters on the road to equality and justice to ponder. We should honor their efforts. We must stand up and keep our place as women in tact for all the world to know and understand, let the world know that real womanhood is not going anywhere.
Women’s History Month ends next week on the 31st. Please take some time to learn a bit about what women have done to make this country and the world a better place! Click on the links in my post for starters!