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Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters

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women’s rights

A Nasty Woman’s Testimony

While working on my novel, I’ve been doing research on the patriarchy — that time-honored tradition of passing power through the penis. You aren’t a member if you don’t have a member.

I uncovered some questionable (but fascinating and honestly believable) etymology on the word testify. In ancient times, vows (and deals) were made by laying hands on (or beside or below) the testicles –take note of that root (and yes, pun intended…) — and then swearing. Women had no testicles, so no testimony for them. They couldn’t take a sworn oath. As a result, they weren’t in the membership. Literally.

(On a sort-of-side-note… all my life, my father has told me not to swear. Curse words out of a woman’s mouth turn it ugly!!! Well, rest assured, if there’s a double-standard, I’m going to fight to liberate it.)

And speaking of fighting, I’ll fight when somebody tells me I should keep quiet — especially when it comes to my opinions.

I’m not sorry for having opinions. I never tell anyone not to say what matters most to them. And neither should you. I have seen — in an up-close-and-personal way — how absence of dialogue, absence of voiced opinions, breeds dangerous dogma.

When only one perspective is heard, that’s when things can go horribly awry. That’s when cults emerge. That’s when fascism reigns supreme. When there’s only one voice shouting from the rooftops over the top of all the others — that’s the only time I believe it’s okay to say, “Will you shut up, man?”

This country was built on freedom — of all sorts. And should’ve been built on freedoms for all kinds of people. But we’re just now getting to that. We’ve made tremendous progress. We’re closer than ever.

And that’s why some sorts of people keep telling other sorts of people (people like me) to be quiet.

You know what kind of people want people like me to be quiet? Two kinds. The kind of people who have nothing to lose if the status quo is maintained… and the kind of people who hide behind the kind of people who have nothing to lose. Those who support them and hold them aloft and give them praise and feed their egos because they’ve been conditioned and brainwashed for a very long time to believe that the status quo is the only way to go. That if we rattle the cage, we’ll cause it all to fall down.

Well, let it. I’m tired of being caged. And hushed. I’m ready to rage against the machine, against the patriarchal juggernaut.

You know who I admire most? The ones who have escaped the smothering muzzle of the patriarchy and have come to speak out against it. And the people who still struggle under the massive gears, yet rail against it nonetheless. And the people running as fast as they can away from it, screaming warnings about it to the rest of us as loudly as they can. And the people running behind it, casting stones at it as hard as they can. I’m one who has escaped it, and still struggles under it, and runs away from it, and goes after it. I am all of those. And until it falls, so many of us are.

You know who I do not admire? The folks who ride atop its motorcade, waving flags of past injustices and touting its greatness. I do not admire the ones who ride its coattails like it’s their divine right to be pulled along because they wear the color of their forefathers and support the prejudices it fosters.

The patriarchy is really good at denigrating people who don’t align with their likenesses. They love to label so many. But today, I speak for me. For women. They judge us by our physical appearance — label us dogs, liars, bimbos, pigs who are ugly, fat, and horse-faced (to name a few). Or deem us weak because we bleed and have nothing dangling between our legs. Or call our voices harsh and our motives nasty. If we wield power, they call us monster.

They separate us from them… the members from the member-less. They love to make us the reviled Other.

Well, I will embrace the Other. I will wear my Nasty Woman shirt to Kroger proudly, despite the looks I get — from men and women alike. Like I should keep my opinions to myself.

I’m tired of being tried under the patriarchy’s rules and shamed for being a woman with a voice. Tired of being told to shut up.

You know who tells me to be quiet? No one. I will wear shirts, post signs, write blogs, and sing out for all the world to hear. My voice, my body, my opinions, my choices.

They are my rights — and should’ve been from the beginning of this great nation. We’ve been slowly gaining ground. And we cannot lose it now.

So watch out, patriarchy, the monsters and nasty women are coming — not for your member, just membership.

we won’t go back where we came from

Why are Americans yelling at other Americans to go back where they came from? What has our country become?

Apparently, a hate-spewing-and-mongering place where if you aren’t white and a man, you must not belong. Where you definitely don’t belong on a platform where you’ll be heard.

I mean, that was definitely the case for me as a girl growing up. I was white (which made my life a little easier), but not male. So I was just supposed to shut up and let the white patriarchy “take care of everything” for me.

I knew a long time ago that sort of governing body wasn’t for me. I wanted a voice. I didn’t just want it — I needed it. So I fought hard for it and I found it. And there’s no way in hell im going back where I came from. 

And now I’m willing to fight hard for these congresswomen and for all women — to be strong and belong. 

I really thought our country had moved past such a heinous viewpoint. But now, that’s pretty much all I see and all I hear. White men in power telling women to go back where they came from, whatever that means. 

And I honestly think I know what that means. They want women to go back to the days of their youth (the men’s youth, where women stayed silent and submissive). There are even some women (quite a few of them, actually) chanting right along. Serena Joy would be so proud…

Well, this woman is not going back where she came from. I’m using my voice for more than parroting the patriarchy. I learned what that could get me a long time ago, and I’ll be f***ed if I’m going back to that place again. Legitimately.

So I will persist in stating my opinions and in fighting for my voice, my body, my rights. For all our rights.

Because despite the fact that women make less on the dollar than the average man and we hold less seats in our “representative” government, we are STILL equal citizens in the eyes of the law. 

But if we don’t keep fighting, I’m not sure that will stay the case. If we don’t keep fighting and speaking up and demanding change and demanding accountability, our representative government might very well go back to the government of 1776… All white. All male. And all, by the way, immigrant. There’s a piece of white, patriarchal irony for ya.

A Parable of Three Fated Sisters

Memory. Charity. Promise. Three women. Three beautiful sisters with three beautiful names.

But the beauty stops where the limitations began. Imparted by their forefathers… Remember your place. Nurture others. Earn your reward.

And so it began.

Memory lived her life in the past– a far-from-accurate, completely-black-and-white past, shaded by perceptions and surroundings. What he wanted. How he felt. Where he’d been. Had she done it right? It all dictated how she lived her present and looked to her future. All from the past. Memory just couldn’t live in the moment. Her moment.

Then there was Charity. She gave herself away. All of her self. To everyone. Her family, her friends, her lover, her home, her job. Until there was nothing left of her but a shell of a woman with a beautiful, empty name. A Charity case.

And finally, there was Promise. Her strength lay in her looking to the future — and overlooking the past and present. Ignoring any injustice. Keeping her eye on the prize. Always waiting on the earned reward of being the dutiful, obedient woman. Waiting for her destiny to unfold. Always waiting. A Promise yet to be found.

Three sisters. Their lives short-changed by society’s pigeon holes: Remember your place; Nurture; Obey. And all that is good and holy will surely come to you.

Bull shit.

Don’t be kept in a cage of society’s invention. Lift up your heads, sisters. Climb out of your relegated roles.

Don’t give yourself away — Charity begins at home. Use your past to build your present. Use your Memory to make your mark. Bring your Promise to fruition by building it — not waiting on it.

Ignore what the world wants you to be, Sisters, and be who YOU want to be.

Timothy in a Tailspin: Here’s to Women’s Voices

I am surrounded by strong women. Strong, powerful, intelligent women.

Women who teach me to believe in myself. Women who teach me to trust my soul, my strength, my intuition, my intelligence. They teach me that my voice matters. And so does my mind.

They teach me, daily, the value of women. Our worth.

And I feel so bad for the women in this world who do not have women who tell them their true worth. Instead, they have women surrounding them who tell them yes, they’re strong, but their place is in the shadows. Beneath their husbands. Playing supporting roles. That that is their true strength and value.

Ugh.

Women sabotaging women. Sabotaging their own sex. It makes me crazy.

Just this morning, I was pummeled with social media posts telling me just that. Telling me that my voice doesn’t matter as much as my husband’s voice. Or really, any man’s voice.

I read one today — a letter that’s gone “viral” (it’s a virus, alright) — about how these days are surely the end of days because women are trying to be men. Because they want voices. And careers. And equal partnerships. And respect. And — dammit –authority. They want authority.

Hold up. Wait a minute.

First off, I’m not trying to be a man. I like my female parts just fine, thank you. More than just fine. I love being a woman. I have never, ever wanted to be a man. I don’t want their parts. I just want their rights.

And I want to have a voice that isn’t labeled “harsh” or “shrill” when I demand respect and equality.

Another post told me that every man wants to hear “I Trust You” when it comes to making decisions for their family. That he is the proper head of the household.

Aw, hell no.

I came from that sort of past. And yeah, that’s not happening again. Sorry, Mike. I love you, and I DO trust you. But that doesn’t mean I’m relinquishing my voice. Never. Ever. Never Ever Again.

I’m so tired of the patriarchy — especially the patriarchy that is being spoon-fed to women by women — little kernels of sage advice dropped onto newsfeeds through conservative memes and blogs. Sugarcoated with scripture.

I come from a place where scripture was used to dominate women. A place where the Books of Timothy were celebrated — books where the apostle Paul demands that women dress modestly. Where they’re told to be quiet and submissive. Where they’re denied authority over men. Where they’re blamed for introducing sin into the world. And where they’re told they can only be saved through childbearing.

My gorge rises.

So much so that when I was pregnant with the twins, I dreamed of naming a daughter Timothy. The irony and sacrilege thrilled me. I was finally ready to challenge the bearded patriarchy of my past. And the female fundamentalists of my present.

And then I learned that I was having two boys. And there was no way I was saddling one of them with the name. That would not have been ironical. It would have been pathological.

So instead, I decided to tackle Timothy and it’s patriarchy with my voice, my opinions, my blog. One comment after another. One written word after another.

And with my actions. And with my clothing. One ostentatious action and garment at a time.

And with one vote for female authority at a time.

And as far as women being saved through childbearing, that might very well be true. Because I have raised brave, strong, outspoken women. And they are unafraid to tackle the Timothy-touting multitudes of both sexes in this world.

And I’m raising brave, strong, outspoken men this very moment. And they will likewise be unafraid to tackle the Timothy-touting multitudes.

And there are hundreds of thousands more of us women — raising brave, strong, outspoken children ready to send Timothy into a tailspin.

Because we’re over being told our voices are harsh and that they don’t matter as much as the next guy’s. We’re over it.

Take that, Timothy.

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