When it comes to being a woman – here are a few things to know about me.
My life is good. Really good.
I have healthy, beautiful children. A husband who adores me and supports every move I make.
I have my own bank account with my own money in it…and no one else on earth has access to it.
I have a well-paying job. I own a business. 2, in fact.
I didn’t change my name when I got married – and it wasn’t even remotely a point of contention in my relationship. I didn’t get married until I was 34 and already had all of my children.
I regularly spend quality time with other women.
I’m sexually liberated. I’m down for sensuality and sexuality – without out judgement. I believe in sexual liberation, especially for women who are held to the impossible to live up to standard of virgin or whore.
And I also believe in respecting our bodies enough to check in. To know that our sexual behavior is sacred to who we are as individuals – not just the rebellion of expectation. But I’ve been down that road too.
I freely write and publish my words for the world (or a handful of people and my mom) to read with no fear of real repercussions. (Perhaps a little social anxiety sometimes, but…)
I live with privilege – I recognize that. And I’m grateful for the life I’ve been given.
Here are a few other things to know about me –
I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. And I – and my family (my husband and kids) – still deal with the ramifications of that, probably daily. It changes the fiber of who you are.
I’ve been called a bitch, cunt and whore – by men, on more occasions than I can count.
I’ve received these nuggets of unsolicited advice from a male boss in my past:
‘Don’t ever use your period as a reason to call off of work.’
‘If you want to be taken seriously, don’t ever cry in meetings.’
I had never done any of those things, by the way. But that’s not the point is it?
A man at work once watched me walk down the hall and said, ‘I’m gonna have to to ask you not to wear that again. You made me look twice.’
I’ve been told by a man in a meeting, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not gonna bite you.’ Which, thank God. Thanks for telling me. Did you also let the man to your left know that too? No?
I’ve been called, baby, sweetie and honey in a professional environment – again, on more occasions that I can count – exclusively by men.
In 7th grade English class a boy told me exactly how good my boobs looked in my sweater. And in that moment, and many others like it, I learned to be ashamed of my body.
My worth has been placed on my appearance through my life to enough of a degree that Every. Day. – I tell myself that I’m not good enough. Pretty enough. Young enough. Or thin enough. EVERYDAY. Haven’t made it over that hump yet. But I will.
And these are just the things I feel comfortable speaking about publicly. But it’s not all there is. Not even close.
So don’t forget that those little things – the jokes, the way you refer to me, the fact that many continue to overly sexualize everything about me – those things undermine who I am, and perpetuate a society in which women are still objectified and viewed as lesser. And that’s on a good day. Because it also perpetuates sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence and rape.
And THIS is the reason I speak up now.
I speak up for ME – for every time I wanted to speak up and didn’t. For every time I was afraid to embody my radiance.
I speak because there are still women in this world who can’t – for whom the consequence of speaking up can be death. I speak for women held captive by domestic violence.
For little girls molested in their beds at night. For them, I speak. Because I have found my voice – and I won’t waste one more precious minute. Because the time is NOW.
No more settling for injustice for women across the globe and inequality (…and harassment …and assault) in our very own workplaces. Our daughters deserve better. We deserve better.
The VOICE OF WOMEN is the crux of HerStory.
So ladies, when you’re at work and you spill a bit of water on yourself and the dude next to you looks at another dude and says, ‘too bad she’s not wearing a white t-shirt’. (Yep that happened too.) Feel free to speak up for yourself. I didn’t then. And I understand why you might not either.
And if you’re the other dude in that conversation – speak up for us too. Don’t stand by.
And on the highest level – Men stop preying on women. Yes, even you who thinks I’m not talking to you. I am.