Gloria Steinem And The Asshole That Pushed Me Into My Feminist Activism

I will forever be grateful to have seen Ms. Gloria’s Steinem not once but twice live while we are lucky enough to have her- 83 never looked so good! Once at the Women’s March which was the first time I ( along with a few hundred thousand others) recognized how much the noun ‘Activist’ resonated with my most authentic self and most recently at Youngstown State that was so intimate that a few times I felt certain she was looking me in the eye, speaking directly to me.

Carolyn and myself

It felt both serendipitous and empowering to be there with my dear friend Carolyn Hess who is exactly 50 years my senior, but a woman in which I share so many common interests, ideas and goals. She is also always telling hilarious stories of famous ex-lovers and the pranks she got away with at our alma matar that I can’t get enough of. She’s on the list of my “Bad Ass Females”. A list of role-models that I use to remind myself of the women I have been lucky enough to have real relationships with that have helped embolden me in pursuing my passions. I’m a stoner so I have to take notes to remember anything, so here are just some of Ms. Steinem’s quotes that spoke directly to my heart:

“We are a circle, linked not ranked”

“We are not crazy, the system is crazy”

“When you care about something so much that you have to get out there is when change happens”

“Don’t look up, look at each other”

“In addition to protesting what is happening, we can take initiative and create what we want to happen”

“The best advice is to follow what you know. Say it when you see it”

“It took me years to learn when someone calls me a bitch to say thank you”

“For you 20-somethings who think you have to do it all by 30 or 40… YOU DON’T!”

Man did I need that last one. Ms. Steinem also provided two ideas that she was truly the first person to ever point out to me. The first is the idea that women not being in control of our own reproduction rights led to overpopulation and overpopulation, in turn, led to the invasion of African and a need to justify that invasion. Thus the birth of racism. That same overpopulation caused by women not also having the freedom to say no in the bedroom is the number one cause of climate change. This is why reproductive rights must be protected as human rights and represents how much we’re all in this together. The second is a response to people (usually other women!!) when they ask me what I’m “so upset about because women are equal to men nowadays” which is to ask them if a woman is as safe walking home on a college campus or city street as safe as her male equivalent. Let her sit with that for a minute. LOVE THAT!

 

The ladies and a full house behind us!

As I am currently job-less, (while I’m grateful to my mother for allowing me to crash at her house) big-girl home less, boyfriend less (let-alone husband less!) and it’s like a blank slate. I’m 18 ago for all intents and purposes, but with the gift of wisdom, insight and knowledge from the last decade. I guess that seems like a gift? I certainly know lots of people who would like a fresh start…. but when it’s real. When the world is your oyster. You really have to ask yourself what do I want to do with my life? What is my purpose? At 28 one is expected to know these things. My life was turned upside down on June 25, 2014 and it’s been a delicate dance of accepting and embracing the unknown and what that brings. But I think my true purpose is in educating myself on issues of importance to me such as feminism, racism, marijuana legalization, environmental protection, justice system/prison reform, cultural diversity importance and the importance of every sentient Being finding their joy and to use my relationship and communications skills to help empower everyone with the cross they are bearing.

Now to the asshole. Let’s call him Dick (because we can) and how he reminded me of the importance of women like me who want to push the conversation further. Dick is lucky that I was enjoying a lovely evening with my girlfriends at a bachelorette party and didn’t want to cause a scene. After what began as a guy just trying to take someone home, Dick and I started talking about Women’s Rights. Bad Call. I know.

Well now I know. In complete and utter contrast to Ms. Steinem’s quotes, here are a few of Dick’s quotes that have given me such a great answer for the next time I’m asked (again, usually by my fellow women) why I felt the need to March for Women’s Right’s in D.C.:

“You’ll never know how hard it is being a white man nowadays”

“It’s impossible for a husband to rape his wife and never happens”

And my favorite! After I made it clear that I would be excusing myself from the conversation because it was neither the time nor place and was clearly getting nowhere:

“I didn’t want to talk to you anyway, I only wanted to fuck you”

He (and his friend who he had to call for back up) weren’t what I what call “bad guys” or necessarily any more misogynistic than the average white man, but that’s not good enough. It’s ridiculous that we have to accept less sexism than others for as good as it gets. No. No sexism is the goal folks. Until that day you can keep your humanism to yourself. I’ll consider myself a humanist when all humans are equal. Until then I’ll be a #feminist #activist who thinks #blacklivesmatter #loveislove #climatechangeisreal and #immegrantsmakeamericagreat. Now will someone please pay me to do this?! To shout from the rooftops about the importance of loving one another, understanding where someone different from you might be coming from, that we are all one. Preferably remotely so I can keep traveling this beautiful planet 🙂

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