Happy International Women’s Day B’s and S’s!

Today is International women’s Day, nestled snuggly inside Women’s history month. We could point out–similar to black history month–that women make up roughly 50% of humanity but all we get is one lousy month, but hey, we try to keep it positive at smntks. Instead, we’ll take a moment to celebrate some of the wins for women.  Three cheers!

Our ranks of sisterhood have expanded beyond the binary-based boundaries previously known as womanhood. As our culture becomes more enlightened about the broad spectrum of gender we get more broads in our spectrum: we move past times when trans people were thought of as other and become instead sister (and brother).  No justice can be won till we win it for everyone so standing in solidarity with all our sisters makes us stronger.

 I can safely predict that we are gearing up for our first female President of the United States.  I’m confident that if I’m wrong, and Trump is elected president we will all surely be destroyed, so you won’t be fact checking smntks–either way I win.  We know from 8 years of an Obama administration that electing someone from a previously “unelectable” group certainly doesn’t end discrimination of all the people in that group.  It’s easy to argue that racism in America has gotten noticeably worse in the last 8 years under our first black president.  It won’t be different with our first female president. To quote Douglas, there can be no progress without struggle, so electing a female president shatters a boundary we’ll need to cross on our way to a gender neutral culture.

Speaking of broader spectrums of broads how about broader broads’ bods. This year we have seen a host of  curvy beauties in places typically reserved for a more narrow body type.  From the Victoria secret runway to the pages of Sports Illustrated, a rounder feminine body made it into the rotation of typical male fantasy fare.  While this win lands squarely in the column of the objectification of the female form, we’re still going to chalk it up her as a victory for increasing acceptance of all kinds of sisters. Besides the broader spectrum of beauty was also featured in everything from fashion to fame.

With all these wins to celebrate, where’s the work going forward?  Everywhere–you’ll remember that even our wins come with their own losses.  The glass ceiling may be shattered for Hilary but remains stubbornly intact for many women, not to mention that legions of women around the world struggle at the edges of or in extreme poverty.

Malala Yousafzai has done amazing things to call for the education of all girls across the world.  Even with the solid strategies, she has provided for world leaders, her vision remains a work in progress.  Girls around the world are kept from getting the  education they for a variety of reasons  from economic to religious to cultural.  In the US, girls do not face legal barriers to school, but with the US ranking 39th in education overall, making America great is going to take a substantial improvement in education.

Even with all the strides for equity and individual choice, women still walk a razor line between saint and sinner in order to avoid social judgement.  Women have won the right to abortion, sex outside of marriage and the right to choose not to have children but struggle to exercise these right without being shamed.  Slut shaming, attacking abortion patients and poo-pooing women’s personal life choices is still very 2016.  In this video released by Anna Wise of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp  Butterfly fame, she sings sweetly about the not so sweet double bind of the modern woman.

If you’ve ever been called a bitch or a slut, count yourself among the massive number of women stigmatized for nothing less that their own agency and freedom.  It’s hard to walk the thin line drawn for women in our culture, but I have just the fabulous strut for this.  Raise your glass for women today and take your victory stroll–broad horizons are ahead.

[header illustration by Lauren Campbell]


Author: Susan X Jane

Susan X Jane is a diversity educator, speaker, and trainer and coach. A former professor and media literacy activist, she now consults with organizations looking to make sense of our current cultural shift. She thinks a lot about media and race…a lot...and writes and speaks about media…and race... and encourages everyone she meets to think about the way our identity shapes our experiences, ideas, and beliefs about the world. If you're reading this, she wants you to think about it too. Want to talk about it? Let's go.

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