Be proud and be aware. Image from Flickr Creative Commons user jnyemb.
It seems that every day, every week, every month is aimed at awareness. Pink Hijab Day. African-American History Month. Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Year of the Woman. All worthy, all wonderful. All competing for attention in a world with too much compensation to dispense for ongoing wrongs. It exhausts me, as I’m sure it exhausts you all, that we have named time instead of changing the reality of oppression. The Year of the Woman was, for example, a global initiative. How much has changed for women around the world? Has anything? Everything?
In that spirit, I thought about the people to whom Women’s History Month, and the more recent International Women’s Day, belongs: us. What do we carry with us? What do we leave behind? What has yet to change? Here is my answer.
I dedicate this month to the ones who have come before.
The ones who have fought, cried, marched, starved, smiled, yelled, and cheered for our human rights. May their successes uplift and inspire us for centuries to come.
I dedicate this month to the ones who are still fighting.
To the ones subjected to tyranny, isolation, subjugation, and aggression. May their fatigue, tears, and unrealized hopes spur us to keep going at any cost.
I dedicate this month to the ones who have raised us.
The ones who birthed us, nursed us, nurtured us, taught us, sacrificed for us. May their gifts fill us with the knowledge of our inherent worth.
I dedicate this month to the ones who have joined us.
The ones following in our footsteps and learning from us. May our examples prove to be fruitful, funny, and the point of creation for their own narratives.
I dedicate this month to those who have been excluded.
To the women of colour, the lesbians, the trans women, the sex workers. May we soon figure out that defining ourselves by Us and Them is as pointless an exercise as it’s ever been.
I dedicate this month to those who act without motive.
To those who have the privilege to be and do without excuse or agenda, those for whom the world is the most spectacular playground. May we all be afforded the same courage and opportunity.
I dedicate this month to the victims.
To those who have fallen in the name of patriarchy and oppression, to those for whom another day will never come. May we forever carry their memories as a reminder that our freedom has never been free.
I dedicate this month to the 3.4 billion.
To the amazing, unfathomable, overwhelming diversity of womanhood to which we belong. To the lovers, the travelers, the soldiers, the beauty queens, the mothers, the elders, the scientists, the shamans, the leaders, and the followers. To the best friend and to the enemy. I dedicate to you all the herstories and histories that we have ever dreamed into existence. I dedicate to you the joy, the pain, the fear, and the fun. Most of all, though, I dedicate to you this one hope: that this Women’s History Month finds you one step, one inch, closer to being able to abdicate the need for feminist awareness and call this a month for the history of humans. At the end of it, that’s all we should ever have to be.