Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Happy (or not) International Women's Day 2011

Happy International Women's Day!!!

I lurve women.

But not in that way. Not that there's anything wrong with that way. There's not.

But it's International Women’s Day, so I want to talk about women...
I think of poetry when I think of women. Not just because poetry is aloof but concise…. Beautiful, poignant…. Powerful.... Often conquering wars within and without that guns or angry words or even the most powerful of resolutions can’t stave off.
But because so much has been written in the poetic world about women. And why not?
Why not? Never stop writing men, and women, and men who want to be women and men who want to conquer women, and men who just want to be with women.
Never stop writing.
For we are a wonder.
Mother says she may have pushed the “woman thing” a little too hard with me. But I disagree.
Push harder, I say. We’ve got a lot further to go…
Check out this article and sign the Petition against “Corrective Rape,” an atrocity committed against lesbians to “cure” them of their “disease.”
Or how about “Honor Killings?” To prevent shame from coming upon a family, they will murder a girl (yep, even 13 or 14 year old kids) or a woman in their family who has (willingly or not – and often the women have been raped) had sex outside of marriage or engaged in adulterous acts.
Female Circumcision, now called "female genital mutilation” or FGM (but I would hate to soften the sting of this sin our by reducing it to an abbreviation). Somewhere around 25 countries in Africa still practice this on girls between the ages of 1 and 15 years old.
Last year, Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton released the Human Trafficking report. This is when people (but predominantly women) are sold into modern day slavery. Often this is sexual slavery, but even here in American we have discovered slaves (even children) forced to work without pay in shops and restaurants. This is a great short story about my friend/author and her recent experience. Modern day slavery people. It’s crazy, but it exists. Even in America.
And speaking of America, for every dollar your boyfriend or husband or brother or that stapler-obsessed guy in the next cubicle makes, you only make 77.5 cents. In other words, if he makes $50,000 a year, you make $38,750 for doing the same job. Even worse… the higher up you go, the greater the disparity. Example: doctors, executives, etc. Those women only make 72.3 cents to every professional man’s dollar. And if you’re black or Hispanic then you’re really out of luck cause America will give you even less than that. Shitty, I know. (In Europe, we only make about 18 cents less than the men… yet another reason to move to France.)
Except, even in France where feminism flourishes, it’s not equal
Happy (or not) International Women's Day 2011!!But don’t get downhearted women and women lovers! According to John on Ally McBeal, we’ll make it through:

JOHN: I'm troubled.
BILLY: You're troubled.
JOHN: My therapist, she knows.
BILLY: She knows... she knows what?
JOHN: They'll eventually lead. The women. They'll lead.
BILLY: Your therapist knows this.
JOHN: And she's telling them.

And here’s some clips of poetry to raise your spirits, make you think and hopefully inspire you to love and speak out on behalf of women every day of your life and to be a better woman yourself…
excerpt from Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou
Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

excerpt from Ladies Who Lunch by Stephen Sondheim
...So here's to the girls on the go--
Everybody tries.
Look into their eyes,
And you'll see what they know:
Everybody dies.
A toast to that invincible bunch,
The dinosaurs surviving the crunch.
Let's hear it for the ladies who lunch --
Everybody rise!

Clara: In the Post Office by Linda Hasselstrom

I keep telling you, I'm not a feminist.
I grew up an only child on a ranch,
so I drove tractors, learned to ride.
When the truck wouldn't start, I went to town
for parts. The man behind the counter
told me I couldn't rebuild a carburetor.
I could: every carburetor on the place. That's
necessity, not feminism.
I learned to do the books
after my husband left me and the debts
and the children. I shoveled snow and pitched hay
when the hired man didn't come to work.
I learned how to pull a calf
when the vet was too busy. As I thought,
the cow did most of it herself; they've been
birthing alone for ten thousand years. Does
that make them feminists?
It's not
that I don't like men; I love them - when I can.
But I've stopped counting on them
to change my flats or open my doors.
That's not feminism; that's just good sense.

And some old thoughts (in praise of and not) from that great book, the Bible itself...

Amos 4

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria,

Who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
Who say to your husbands, "Bring now, that we may drink!"
2The Lord GOD has sworn by His holiness,
"Behold, the days are coming upon you
When they will take you away with meat hooks,
And the last of you with fish hooks.
3"You will go out through breaches in the walls,
Each one straight before her,
And you will be cast to Harmon," declares the LORD.

Song of Solomon 1

I am black but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
Like the tents of Kedar,
Like the curtains of Solomon.
6"Do not stare at me because I am swarthy,
For the sun has burned me.
My mother's sons were angry with me;
They made me caretaker of the vineyards,
But I have not taken care of my own vineyard.
7"Tell me, O you whom my soul loves,
Where do you pasture your flock,
Where do you make it lie down at noon?
For why should I be like one who veils herself
Beside the flocks of your companions?"

8"If you yourself do not know,
Most beautiful among women,
Go forth on the trail of the flock
And pasture your young goats
By the tents of the shepherds.
9"To me, my darling, you are like
My mare among the chariots of Pharaoh.
10"Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments,
Your neck with strings of beads."
11"We will make for you ornaments of gold
With beads of silver."

And for those who like to make sure they're remembered...

I've Always Enjoyed Her Sense of Humor by Gerald Locklin
She's an old friend

And I don't see her very often,
But she has a way of turning up
When I'm talking to a girl I've just met,

And she will invariably storm up to us
And confront me with, "where is the child support check?!"

Then turn on her heel and storm from the room,
Leaving me to make inadequate explanations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't a corporation hire only women or minorities?

They could save a lot on salaries!