I am not free

Yesterday was International Woman’s Day, as well as a protest day called #DayWithoutAWoman.

I participated by eliminating my social footprint. I changed my default picture to a closed sign graphic provided by the Women’s March team. I deleted the apps from my phone and stayed away from the Internet. I stayed at home, spending no money online or in person. I don’t know if it worked but I believe that I stood alongside my sisters in solidarity.

Today’s quote is from poet Audre Lorde.

I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.

My poetry professor, Brynn Saito, said Audre was the one who inspired her to become a poet. Audre’s name has been in my mouth ever since.

When I saw this, I knew it was exactly why I protested.

I’m privileged. Absolutely. I’m not an idiot to think, “just because I haven’t experienced (insert universal issue in womanhood) doesn’t negate or lessen another woman’s life experiences, nor does it negate my own.” We are here to rise together, not alone. We don’t have to be if we don’t want to. It shouldn’t be me vs. them, “I’m not like them, so don’t group me together with the rabble-rousers.” When we separate ourselves that way, we all lose.

Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist: Essays sums it up pretty well:

Some women being empowered does not prove the patriarchy is dead. It proves that some of us are lucky.

Maybe you don’t see the patriarchy working against women, maybe you were able to rise above your race, gender, whatever, maybe you think we’re post-racial. Good for you, you’re one in a million.

But don’t play yourself, thinking that someone hasn’t been held back because of their gender, their race, their facial expression. To believe so is to be blind to your fellow woman. You’re doing a great disservice to yourself if you believe that.

Feel free to share the image!

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