The Mind Wobbles

So many things to absorb, think about, deal with and put up with - it simply makes the mind wobble...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day, and this year's theme is "Shaping Power". To me that means, "OK, we've fought long and hard for power as women - now what do we do with it?".

I consider myself a feminist, but not in the militant way so many preconceive feminists to be. Don't get me wrong, I respect those women who are militant feminists - we need them. And I am grateful for the strides made by the Gloria Steinems and Bella Abzugs of the world - who bravely went where no woman had gone before. But that's not me.

The way I choose to "shape my power" is to be vigilant, and when possible denounce to some degree, negative or demeaning portrayals of women in the media. It shocks me how in this day and age these demeaning portrayals of women exist and are so widely accepted. The way women are portrayed in hip hop videos, pro wrestling, some sitcoms, soap operas, etc. is, IMO, unacceptable. I'll occasionally dash off a letter or an e-mail message, or talk to people about why this stuff bothers me. I know it isn't much and that I can do more. I try to talk to the young women I know and encourage them to be "all they can be" (sorry about the cliche) and be proud of themselves and value themselves.

On a positive note, in the US - regardless of your politics - we are in the midst of a campaign where a woman has the possibility of becoming President! Talk about the opportunity to use the power gained.

Yet when we look to the wrest of the world, there is so much work to be done. The story of Honorata Kizende (left) is both horrifying and inspiring. After surviving the horrific brutality in the Democratic Republic of Congo, she has gone on to serve as a spokeswoman for Women for Women International, doing such important work for women worldwide. My God, I don't know I would be strong enough to survive what so many of these women have, let alone go on to do the kind of work they do.

On this day, if you're a woman, think about how you can "shape your power".

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