I count my blessings on International Women’s Day. That would be today. I like to think I count my blessings every day but I don’t think I do because so many of the things I’m thankful for are things most of us take pretty much for granted.
I was born to parents who wanted a baby. Not a boy or a girl, a child. I was told I could study anything I wanted, be whatever I chose to be. No profession, no field, was out of the question just because I happened to be a woman. I could vote and run for office. I had rights protected by law. I could choose my partner in life, and I had the choice of not having one, never marrying. I could choose if and when I wanted to have sex. I could choose if and when I had children. Their future is not dependent on what’s between their legs any more than my was. The world is open to them as it has always been for me. I’ve been free and I’ve had choices and I’ve had the freedom to choose.
Imagine not having that. Any of it. From the cradle to the grave. The course of your life, your story, dictated by others. Not being seen or heard. Not by your family, not by judge and jury, not by society itself. Every time I hear someone say they have no use for feminism, I can’t help but think they’ve forgotten. Forgotten how lucky we are. Forgotten how to be grateful. Forgotten the fate of their female ancestors, not so long ago. Forgotten how fast rights left unguarded come under attack.
Forgotten that what we take for granted is still a distant dream for many. Forgotten what words like compassion and solidarity mean. Forgotten how to stand up, raise their voices and fight for the rights and freedom of those who have none. Forgotten that the plight of some degrades us all, that helping out your sisters is doing yourself a favor. None of us will be treated equally until all of us are. All of us will continue to be threatened, verbally, physically, for as long as some of us are allowed to be.
So you have no use for feminism. On this International Women’s Day, please consider lending all that surplus of yours to those who still desperately have.
“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” ― Gloria Steinem
Illustration a free stock image from 123RF.com