To the Women of the World: I Celebrate You
I was born of many women. I was born of my mother and grew up intimately with three sisters. Despite the looming patriarchal presence my father imposed, the women in my family had a world unto ourselves—one that existed out of my father’s gaze, on my mother’s bed as we piled in to watch the Gilmore girls, lined up to have our hair brushed and curled, or in the back bathroom of our house, late in the evening, as my sisters and I hoisted ourselves up on the counter of the sink and had long conversations about the secrets of growing up female in this world.
My lineage is distinctly female. My father grew up with three sisters—my three aunties, a loud, bawdy group lovingly referred to as the sisters. They are classic southern women, whose gatherings are filled with casseroles, vodka, Virginia Slims and Sierra Mist. On that side of the family, I have 5 cousins, only one of whom is male. On my mom’s side, I have six cousins and half of them are female. Every family gathering I went to was female-centric and now, in the life I have made for myself in California, I am surrounded by women still: in the many circles of sisters I have chosen for myself, among my almost all-female graduate colleagues, boyfriend’s strongly female family.
On January 21st, when I joined the Women’s March, it was exhilarating to be a part of the massive demonstration, not just for the political reasons, but for spiritual reasons. It was empowering and heartening to take to come out of the private sphere from which patriarchy has always tried to relegate women and proudly occupy the streets that were never designed for us.
Despite being surrounded by women, I grew up in a deeply patriarchal world. Starting at puberty, with the early and fast painful budding of breasts, I was constantly controlled—what I wore, how I wore it, where I sat, how and when and to whom I spoke. I was controlled by teachers who commented on what I wore or how I sat, by the early and constant sexual harassment I experienced in middle school, and by my father who was clearly uncomfortable with my budding sexuality.
Beside it’s obvious moral and political objectionability—so clearly hypocritical in a country founded on the revolutionary principal of equality—patriarchy has never made sense to. Why would you subjugate and dominate women, the very bringers of life? Why would you limit our access to reproductive health care when the literal fate of the human population rests in it? How could you glorify a god in the sky as the creator but then demean the ones through whom that creation always comes? The fact that we were all conceived of, grown by, nurtured within and born of a women is one of the few things that all humans, inarguably, have in common. All of us—including politicans who want to defund female reproductive healthcare, including CEOs who sexually harass their female employees, including the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief himself, Donald J. Trump—everyone of us have lived inside a woman. We ate her food, shared her blood, lived by her oxygen, moved when she moved, slept in her womb, and then, eventually was born of her labor. Why would you denigrate the literal makers and keepers of her people?
It will never make sense to me, and I will not waste my time trying to make it. But today, as we are watching white supremacist patriarchy play out on a national scale, as women across the US strike to take a stand for their humanity and worth, to all the women out there, I want you to know that I see you and I celebrate you.
To my mother, my sisters, my grandmothers, I celebrate you.
To my many circles of sisters here in California, I celebrate you.
To my black and brown sisters, my Indigenous sisters, my sisters who were colonized and my sisters who are the children of colonizers but are working to change their legacy, I celebrate you.
To my Trans sisters, my Lesbian, Bisexual, Non-binary, Asexual, or Gender non-conforming sisters, I celebrate you.
To my Muslim, Hindu, Siekh, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Pagan, atheist sisters, I celebrate you.
To all the mothers, who have made countless and often unseen sacrifices, who are biggest force of unpaid labor in the world, I celebrate you.
To my sisters who were born in chains, who gave birth in chains, who find themselves today, still in chains, I celebrate you.
We all my sisters across the planet, I celebrate you. We have made the world, over and over again and we will continue to do so. We are the keepers of our people, the givers of life, the breath of the humanity. We are limitlessly powerful because the future of our people, literally, rests within us.
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