Monday, August 24, 2009

Two Thousand Years

Two thousand years ago, the subjugation of women was just about complete. The patriarchal religions were quite firmly entrenched. There were a few women rebels, but on the whole, women... stopped having power over their own lives. Women no longer made history as a collective. Women were erased, too.

Two hundred years ago, women started writing again. This was only a few women, and in response to troubles usually caused and perpetuated by a few men which affected everyone. But two hundred years ago, women began writing and began to find their voices again.

Two generations ago, we finally found some semblance of equality between men and women, at least, in certain places. We could go to school and we could work. It was not true equality. It still isn't true equality. But it resembles it, and gives us a foundation to build on.

It's been a hard journey, but now we can speak about -isms and acknowledge the problems within society, even though there are hateful screeds trying to silence us.

For the women two thousand years ago, for the women two centuries ago, for our mothers and grandmothers, we must never be silenced again.

Because if we all just started going along with the status quo, if we stopped working, some of us tirelessly, if we kept conceding and making compromises -

In twenty years, we could lose everything women have dreamed of and worked towards for years and years.

Maybe not even twenty years.

Maybe just two.

I'm generalizing. I'm probably not even 100% correct. After all, this mostly refers to the West. Maybe I'm barmy. But I feel strongly, we could lose it all so easily. There are always people out there who want to crush the dreams of others, to bring back forms of oppression, whether or not they say it out loud, whether or not they think it consciously. We see it happening every day.

I came to this thought when reading Marilyn French's History of Women. It took her four books and ten years to present a scratch on the surface of the rich history women have, our contributions to the world, the ways we were silenced.

It made me realize all the more how important it is to be feminist, to say it loudly and keep honing my anti-ism skills. During my break from my blog, I sometimes wondered if it was worth it to even write, considering how few people ever drop in.

So I'll keep this in my heart:

For the women two thousand years ago, for the women two centuries ago, for our mothers and aunts and grandmothers long gone and past, for our sisters and cousins of the present, our daughters and nieces and granddaughters of the future, we must never be silenced again.

4 comments:

  1. This was a very important post for me to read, today, especially. It was balm for my heart after getting a particularly angry piece of hate mail in response to one of my posts on race (one that you commented on :]). I thank you for the reminder; words like these help me to scrape myself off the floor and keep pressing on.

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  2. Thank you for visiting, Neesha!

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  3. I'm a little confused when you say that women started writing again two hundred years ago. Women were writing all along even if the standard literary history tells us otherwise. Saying women only started writing again two hundred years ago seems to erase the work of women like Lady Mary Wroth and Aphra Behn.

    -EKSwitaj

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  4. GAB: Yeah, definitely, but it was more, started writing as in starting being seriously noticed for their writing (Christine de Pisan was writing in the 1200s, I believe) without being ignored. I personally feel this only started after the 1700s. My communication snafu there! Like I said, it's not 100% correct.

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