January 22, 2017

What She Said

I came across the post as I nonchalantly scrolled through my Facebook feed. It came from a friend, but I soon discovered it may have originated with a person named Brandi Goings Atkinson. While people are saying she is not the original author,  I looked up the post to ensure its accuracy, and the photo of a young, smiling, blonde haired, blue eyed woman smiled from beside the post. While I love the often over zealous enthusiasm with which many of the young adults tend to exude when making their thoughts known, this post is too far off the mark to let pass without an attempt or two to help show her the other side of the coin she tossed in the air as she called for heads to roll over the seeming ignorance of others who try to advance women's rights in the United States instead of jumping fervently into the problems of places such as Saudi Arabia or the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
I am going through the mystery author's note, but to make it more specific, I will write it as if  Ms. Brandi wrote it, as she and others are posting it as if it is their own work. I will go over a few sentences at a time, adding my thoughts on after the thoughts that were posted by Ms. Brandi. Here goes:

- "I am not a "disgrace to women" because I don't support the women's march. I do not feel I am a "second class citizen" because I am a woman. I do not feel my voice is "not heard" because I am a woman. I do not feel I am not provided opportunities in this life or in America because I am a woman. I do not feel that I "don't have control of my body or choices" because I am a woman. I do not feel like I am " not respected or undermined" because I am a woman."

**This is pretty awesome and I cannot disagree, because I am not her. If this is how Brandi feels, it tells me that the women's rights movement is doing great. Until every single one can, this does not stop.

-I AM a woman.

**Me too.

-I can make my own choices.

**Which choices? Please elaborate.

-I can speak and be heard.

**Many women cannot speak and be heard in a meaningful way. Ask a mother who lost her children in our corrupt court systems if their voice is heard. Good luck, because many are gagged and not allowed to speak. Ask the children who are court ordered to visit their abusers without the protection of a loving mother. Ask the raped women how loud their voices were when they cried out for justice. Ask minority women how loud their voices are and if they are heard when they apply for the same scholarships, home loans, or positions of power as their non-minority co-workers. I could go on, but you get my point.

-I can VOTE.

**You can vote because other women stood up for your right to vote. Not all women. Just a few. Many women said, "I have enough rights and I'm happy. I don't need to be able to vote." The women who fought for your right to vote are the same type of women who are standing up for other rights now. If you do not wish to accept any of the freedoms and rights that may be granted in the future, I doubt any of us will force it upon you.

-I can work if I want.

**Do you realize how blessed you are to be able to make that statement?

-I control my body.

**This treads so much territory. I'm not quite sure where to begin with such a broad statement. I urge you to take a moment and consider all of the situations in which a woman may lose control over her own body. Think about laws that pertain to the female body. Think about mindsets that affect the female body. Think about what some women must do to protect their children, and how that may lead to lack of control over the body. Consider what living in a country where women and girls are raped and molested without proper recourse does for control over the body. Consider what forced medications or the with-holding of medications can do about a woman's control over her body.

-I can defend myself.
-I can defend my family.

**Against what?
I'm beginning to sense a theme - a seemingly strong statement, followed by zero elaboration. What are you defending against? Ninjas? People who belittle you or your family? Men who grab women by the pussy?

-There is nothing stopping me to do anything in this world but MYSELF.

**Yes. Anyone can grow up and be president of the United States.

-I do not blame my circumstances or problems on anything other than my own choices or even that sometimes in life, we don't always get what we want. I take responsibility for myself.

**I strongly urge you to sit down and hold a serious discussion with other women. Here are a few ideas.
1. Go to a homeless shelter and talk to the women. Find out who they are and what brought them to this point.
2. Find a copy of Maya Angelou's biography and read it. Consider what the United States is like for minorities and how very recent some of the struggles are for women of color. Then consider just how much remains unchanged, and how much simply changed form.
3. Go to a poor neighborhood and speak to some of the mothers. Ask what opportunities zipped past because of their combination of gender and financial status.
It could be that start of a new realization.

-I am a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, a friend. I am not held back in life but only by the walls I choose to not go over which is a personal choice.

**In theory, I agree with this statement. I feel as if you may not realize the height and breadth and barbed wire fencing some walls present for a number of women, but the concept is a great one. No matter what is thrown at us, keep on going. Just don't stand on the shoulders of other women on your way over and then claim you're doing it yourself. And I can assure you, nobody gets anywhere in life all on their own. Someone helped you along the way. Take a moment to thank them.

-Quit blaming.

**Quit blaming what? You disagree with the women who march, and you say "quit blaming." Again, please elaborate.

-Take responsibility.

**Take responsibility for what? For wanting to be free and equal? We are. That is why we're out there trying to make a difference.

-If you want to speak, do so. But do not expect for me, a woman, to take you seriously wearing a pink va-jay-jay hat on your head and screaming profanities and bashing men.

**They are kitty cat ears. Pussy cat / pussy hat. It is a play on words that takes the negative term for a woman and turns it into something better. President Trump (and yes, I dislike saying that) is the one who used it to refer to a vagina. Not us.

-If you have beliefs, and speak to me in a kind matter, I will listen. But do not expect for me to change my beliefs to suit yours. Respect goes both ways.

**Why would you bother to listen if you are not willing to learn or change your opinions? There is always value in considering the views of others and in taking a good long look at your own beliefs to see if they still resonate with who you are at any given point in your life. Life changes people. Circumstances and experiences greatly impact world views. That you approach discussion with "don't expect me to change" is rather immature. I do expect you to change. I expect I will change. This is part of living and part of what keeps things interesting.

-If you want to impress me, especially in regards to women, then speak on the real injustices and tragedies that affect women in foreign countries that do not that the opportunity or means to have their voices heard.

**I am not here to impress you.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about why we didn't march into the streets on the day after the inauguration and talk about the injustices in other countries. It is because we wanted to address the injustices in our own.

-Saudi Arabia, women can't drive, no rights and must always be covered.
-China and India, infantcide of baby girls.
-Afghanistan, unequal education rights.
-Democratic Republic of Congo, where rapes are brutal and women are left to die, or HIV infected and left to care for children alone.
-Mali, where women can not escape the torture of genital mutilation.
-Pakistan, in tribal areas where women are gang raped to pay for men's crime.
-Guatemala, the impoverished female underclass of Guatemala faces domestic violence, rape and the second-highest rate of HIV/AIDS after sub-Saharan Africa. An epidemic of gruesome unsolved murders has left hundreds of women dead, some of their bodies left with hate messages.
And that's just a few examples.

**Let's talk about the United States for a moment.
Before we talk about infanticide, I'd like to know your definition, so I'll hold off on that for now. As for the rest, here goes.
An extremely high percentage of American children are raped and abused in the foster system. Babies are raped. Two year olds are raped. Ten year olds. Fourteen year olds. Seventeen year olds. They cry out for justice, but it is rare. They are often imprisoned for speaking out against abuse.
The poor and minorities in the United States lose children to false accusations of abuse at an alarming rate. Families are forced to beg, borrow, steal, get into prostitution, whatever it takes to fight for their children's right to their natural parents, and the right of parents to raise their own children. In the meantime, their children may be getting victimized and once the government has custody and control of a child, they rarely investigate themselves for abuses that happen while the children are in their control. There are toddlers running around with STD's, but you don't see that often on FOX news, do you?
If you do not feel female circumcision is okay, why are ignoring the fact that approximately 75% of boys in the United States are circumcised? Genital mutilation is horrendous. It needs to stop. Let's start at home. Did you read the story of the American woman who took her son and ran away with him to stop his genitals from being mutilated by court order? Yes. In the United States, genital mutilation even gets court ordered. Unspeakable!
There is more. So much more.
It is okay to fight for the rights of women worldwide. If women across the globe united, can you imagine how much progress could happen? It is a goal, but I'm not going to walk over the bodies of my fellow citizens and ignore their screams in order to reach those in the next country over.

-So when women get together in AMERICA and whine they don't have equal rights and march in their clean clothes, after eating a hearty breakfast, and it's like a vacation away that they have paid for to get there...
This WOMAN does not support it.

**This is a surprising yet common view of inequality. Do you honestly believe that when a woman has clean clothes, a decent breakfast, and can take a bus somewhere, inequality doesn't exist? Did Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks both appeared to have clean clothes, breakfast, and bus fare?
Inequality doesn't always mean you're running around in rags and begging crumbs off the local baker. Go explore. Live. I love that you're obviously a thinker. I hope that in ten years time, you will again post your point of view concerning such things. I for one will be interested in seeing if you actually take me up on any of the early suggestions I made, and if between those and living a few more years, your viewpoints will have changed some. Best of luck to you.

1 comment:

Dark Star in the Morning said...

This was excellent. I really liked how you rebutted this point by point, it made a very strong answer to the original post which was being passed around and posted by people as though it was their own thoughts and writing.