By Madisson Bednark
March, 8 2018
Around the world women of the past and the present are being honored and celebrated. When we speak of women, let’s be clear on who exactly we are speaking of. We are speaking about all women, the seen and the unseen . We are talking about black women, trans women, and women who are disabled. The women who have been victims and survivors of harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, sex trafficking and everyone else who slips through the cracks but has experienced gender based oppression.
We are talking about the women that never report the abuse they have endured, and we honor their resilience. We are also talking about the women who do report and are oftentimes not believed, victim blamed and slut shamed; we also honor their resilience. We are talking about the women who have survived, and those who have lost their lives to nonsensical acts of violence. Perceived vulnerability of being a woman is amplified by ability, gender identity, gender expression, and other facets of a person’s identity that oppressors see as being inferior or less than. For example, a black trans woman who uses a wheelchair has a greater risk of experiencing abuse than a white cis gender able bodied person. These false perceptions of weakness and vulnerability lead to extreme victimizations that are perpetrated against these women. Femininity, disability, race, and gender identity are seen as a weakness that can be exploited. Many of these women are lost without a trace, never seen or heard from again. Please know that when we speak of the strength of women we are referring to all women, and we refuse to leave any of us behind. We honor the visible and the invisible, those whose achievements are published in books but just as equally we honor those who don’t even receive an obituary and are buried alone.
We are talking about non-binary people, and trans women are unrelentingly misgendered by society.
The women who are on magazines speaking out and standing up, and also the women whose faces are masked by cardboard signs on street corners. We honor the women who sacrifice for their children, and also the women who have no children but are no stranger to sacrifice, meaning, and love. We are talking about the women who made history, ‘her’story. We are honoring every person who self identifies as a woman, but also those who don’t . What does it mean to be feminine? What does it mean to be a woman? There is no point in celebrating if you don’t respect and appreciate all. There is a strong global movement aimed at gender equivalence, and this year has been one for the books as we have seen an outbreak of leaders emerge from the muddied waters with truth and vision. Vision of a world where sex, gender, race, identity, ability, age, and immigration status are not plotted on a map of value but instead seen through a lens of opportunity. Opportunity to be equal. Opportunity to be our authentic selves, and the ability to be safe as we move through space regardless of our identity. Happy International Women’s Day to all of you.