Letter From The Editor: Here’s To The Women
What is a woman?
There have been times in history when to answer that question would have been as easy as the answer was wrong. (This is most times in history, actually.) Women have babies. Women have tits and a vagina. Women have two X-chromosomes. Women are emotional. Women are frivolous and fragile.
Women can be any or all of those things, but these things do not define womanhood. (No, not even the “tits and vagina” part. Trans women are women. If you don’t believe that … /shrug. Don’t really care. Not here for it.) Without these parameters, though, it’s hard to say what womanhood is. I know it exists, but women can be anything so that doesn’t help find the positive common threads among us.
That doesn’t mean there are no threads, though. #YesAllWomen was a trending hashtag on Twitter that proved it, starting after a man that I will not name went on a misogynistic rampage in Santa Barbara, California. The man went on a shooting spree because he felt entitled to the love of a woman, being the “supreme gentleman” he was. (Vomit.) It’s heartbreaking to me that our common threads are putting up with shit like this:
When a woman makes a video, most comments are about tearing apart her looks. Or if they'd "do" her. With a man, almost none. #YesAllWomen
— Felicia Day (@feliciaday) May 26, 2014
The cops who asked me "Well, what were you wearing?" when I reported an attack and attempted rape. #YesAllWomen
— Aimee Mann (@aimeemann) May 25, 2014
The speed this man went from telling me to put a smile on my pretty face to saying no one wants my skanky-ass is astonishing #YesAllWomen
— Emily H. Hoffman (@emilyhughston) April 16, 2016
I hate this for us. I hate that women of color and trans women are even more vulnerable to abuse, violence, and oppression.
That’s why I want, always want, to celebrate women. A celebration of women is not a denigration of men; too many people seem to see it that way, and I’m sad for them. I really am. I’m sad because they seem to think that praise and good wishes are a finite, scarce commodity; they seem to think that deliberately spending some on a group of people means that there’s less for others. That people who are used to having a lot–or people who maybe aren’t used to having a lot but who also really want it–will have to make do with less because we’re overtly appreciating others. They sneer and call us “special snowflakes” for wanting to be valued, taking for granted that being valued on many levels of existence is the default for them and maybe not so much for others.
To be a woman often means being talked over, talked down to, talked at, and talked about without humanity. It means being seen–by too many men, if #notallmen–as a commodity, an object of desire and conquest, sometimes as a servant, usually as just a little bit less of a person, if not a lot less. I love being a woman, but sometimes, it’s goddamned frustrating. Sometimes it makes me tired down to my bones; I know I’m not the only woman who feels this way.
So this issue is to lift women up. To counter some of that bullshit that we face every single day just for being women. I can’t fix it, but I can say, “hey–someone thinks you’re awesome. We think you’re awesome.” That makes it a little better, sometimes. It makes the world a little less dark. It makes life a little less tiring.
Here’s to the women. We love you. We think you’re awesome.
Your faithful Bitch-in-Chief,
Feature image by Stuart Chalmers on Flickr.