A couple of months ago I wrote a paper during a visit home to Louisiana. It was a midterm about Hillary Clinton and the haltering statistics that kept her from the presidency. I’m an all-star procrastinator in general, but the 15-pages about Hill drug on for an unusual amount of time, mostly because the topic proposal I submitted months prior was geared around Hillary winning. You know, because I LIVE DEEP IN THE BROOKLYN BUBBLE.
I had loads of articles proving America had shown significant signs of progress (ie: increased percentages of career women, number of women in the Senate, the lame ass statistic guru over at FiveThirtyEight, my own personal outlook of Clinton being the political version of Beyonce, etc. etc). Equipped with some dope quotes from Judith Butler and Luce Irigaray, I planned on showing how Hillary’s win was an inevitable step in furthering the trend of gender equality. But Hill didn’t win (cue cries), and instead of writing about America’s progress my paper shifted to a dark depiction on the social restraints that still hold the female race back.
In the midst of my writing delirium, I ventured down from my hideout spot overlooking the bayou to refill my coffee cup and steal a few more sugar cookies. While I sat in the kitchen, a sweet friend of the family asked what I’d been doing all day:
“Writing”, I said.
“Writing what?” he responded.
“A feminism paper.”
“What’s your husband think about that?”
I could talk for hours about the irony in that line, but I’ll let Bey take care of that shit.
Before the Women’s March on January 21st, I thought men were holding us back, but after a few scans through social media – I realize us girls are pretty guilty, too. Yesterday I saw loads of comments from females claiming there’s no need to march, because they are already equal. My mind was blown, but again – that’s mostly at fault to the bubble I live in. Still, I have some stuff to say:
If you feel that way, if you believe you are fulfilled and whole and worthy and equal and substantial and powerful and independent and not talked down to and not belittled and not gawked at and you don’t receive smirks when you’re caught doing a man’s job and you don’t get told that you’re too pretty to work, or that you just need to marry rich – then girl I AM HAPPY FOR YOU. If you actually believe a woman’s place is behind her husband, and you honor that lifestyle – I SUPPORT YOU. If you a trifling hoe and just wanna live off your sugar daddy – I FEEL YOU.
But there are people, outside of your bubble, who needed to march. I’m not suggesting you support them, but I am suggesting you stretch your comfort zone a little. Maybe take a real look at your day-to-day interactions and see, even in the subtleties, if you truly feel there’s no barrier.
I know I live in a liberal bubble. My friends are liberals, my friends are feminists, my friends need free healthcare, my friends need planned parenthood, my friends need birth control to be covered under insurance, and my friends need equal pay. My friend’s are marching to make a change, and these changes never come easily. They don’t come with opened arms, or with sideline cheers. They come with resistance, with angst and with a shift from what is normal, a shift from what is customary and safe.
Maybe you posted about your privileges as a female on Facebook because seeing the “p” word blasted everywhere got you in a bad mood, maybe those graphic posters with pink vaginas made your stomach curl and you just weren’t ready for that at 8am, or maybe you thought those girls were nasty – that they weren’t someone you’d bring home to momma. I’m not sure what ran through your head, but if it was discomfort – the march worked. If the media coverage and posts from the march shifted you from your norm, if they pushed you to think – if only for a second – about how unbalanced our society is, then they did their job. In the short seconds you cast judgment on the march, the signs, or the protesters, your norm of the idealized 1950’s version of the female race is either vindicated or broken apart. The stark juxtaposition forces you to stay in your bubble, or stretch just a little bit outside of it. Protests are like a tug-a-war with traditional thought; they may not win the battle, but they’ll make you dance around your safety zone.
Whether we all want to admit it or not, we live in our own bubbles. We allow ourselves to take in news we want to read, friends we want to agree with, and even religions we want to abide. Uncomfortable situations are meant to divide a further line between the ideal and the modern. They show up on all news streams because they are provocative and easy coverage. Aside from the commentary surrounding protests, the actual events are the only chance to see an unfiltered take on politics. Marching is a raw act meant to raise question, cause you to think, search for meaning, and help you reach a new outlook on a movement – even if that newfound understanding is a mere centimeter’s distance from where you stood prior.
I will admit we’ve come a long way since the 19th amendment in 1920, but that doesn’t mean we are finished. Women didn’t march for voting rights on January 21st. They marched for the subtleties, the what does your husband think about that. They marched to break the ideal. They marched for a new formation. Maybe you don’t completely agree, but I hope you moved a centimeter or two.
Now, a small dedication to my dope ass hubs. Thanks for being you and letting me be me.