27 June 2011

regaining my bearings

Hello We Are Women!

I have been remiss in blog updating here in this wonderful space, and I am sorry. Coming back to the blog, I want to share with you all a quick conversation I had with a fabulous friend from Nigeria, Ifeyinwa Egwaoje. You see, as I have landed back in the United States for a brief few weeks, where the problems for women are in some ways so different, and in others just the same, I always get into a hyper-reflection mode as to what is to be done to end needless suffering of women worldwide. The conversation I had with Ifeyinwa exemplified to me this global struggle, and how certain cultural nuances may make it seem that our challenges are worlds apart, the underlying issues remain the same.

So. Ifeyinwa and I were sitting in a Motherhood Advocacy conference in Toronto, listening to a presentation on "Mocha Moms," an support network for black women in the US who choose to be stay-at-home moms, a choice very much frowned upon in many black communities in the US for a variety of reasons. Ifeyinwa turned to me at the end and whispered, "but isn't this exactly what we're fighting against? Moms who just stay at home?"

I responded - "no! We are fighting for a woman's right to choose what path she will take, and be fully respected in that path - to not be seen as "just" a stay-at-home mom, and to not be derided for going to work either."

She thought for a moment and said..."but in Nigeria we have to show our worth to our husbands by getting a good education, by building a career - you are treated better by your husbands if you do that. You are looked down upon if you stay at home. You can be seen as worthless."

And then I realized, how often do women in the US feel worthless? How often do we have to question and justify and balance forces and influences around us? I look at friends of mine constantly questioning themselves based on their style, the behavior of their children, the life choices they made, their boyfriends/husbands or lack of boyfriends/husbands, and perhaps most prevalently - what they ate today and what their clothing size says. A lot of this has to do with the treatment we fell we will receive from men in our lives, and the judgments we feel could come in from others (including other women). Just like Nigerian women who have to fight for their worth by leaving the home. A lot of it is also a matter of self-justification. Even if no one cares or notices or expects us to be a size 2 or to be perfectly balanced with a clean home and perfect children or a stellar career, we feel we have to prove that to ourselves in some way. We question ourselves incessantly, and I write this to say that ENOUGH!

Enough with feeling we have to justify our worth! We are women! We have worth inherent! We have nothing to prove! We are women! Shout it to the world! Spend today celebrating your powerful womanhood, the uniqueness of that gift of being a woman, of our gorgeous bodies and our incredible potentials, and stop questioning and justifying and feeling you are not enough. You are more! You are woman!

No comments: