Mar 9, 2016

Questions to Ask Yourself on International Women’s Day

  1. Am I listening more than I am speaking?
  2. Am I hearing the voices of women who are more marginalized than me, or those who have lived a different experience than I have, or am I only listening to other (educated, upper class, white, cis, straight) women?
  3. Am I internalizing their words and their experiences, and reflecting on how I have benefitted from the systematic oppression that others experience?
  4. When I am fighting for women, which women am I fighting for? Am I fighting for all women? Transgender women? Non-binary folks who are still subjected to patriarchal ideals of gender?
  5. When I am fighting for women, am I also fighting for a man’s right to exist outside traditional ideas of gender? For his right to cry in public, to raise children, to be tender, to tidy a house competently, to do emotional labor? For his right to paternal leave in every workplace in America?
  6. What privileges do I have? Am I educated? Am I white? If I needed money right now, would a family member help me? Would a bank help me?
  7. Do I have passing privileges? Do I pass as straight enough to not fear my safety? Can I pass in upper-class social situations enough to not be mocked? Could I pass as white enough for cops to value my life?
  8. Am I recognizing my privilege as a tool for social justice? Am I using a voice that society sees as smarter, safer, or more relatable to amplify the voices of others and call out injustice?
  9. Am I fighting for women’s autonomy, for their right to make the best choice for themselves? Am I fighting for the rights of sex workers? Am I fighting for women who choose to wear a hijab?
  10. Am I fighting for #BlackLivesMatter? Do I recognize the importance of BLM, and reject the tone policing rhetoric that states that we should only listen when it is convenient, and when the voices involved are polite and calm?
  11. Am I fighting for abortion, on demand, and without apology?
  12. Am I actively reframing my position within the abortion argument to include language that is inclusive to transgender men and non-binary people? Am I forcing this discussion beyond the outdated and easily changed “women’s right to choose” rhetoric?
  13. Am I teaching our sons and daughters about consent? 
    Am I encouraging my male friends to re-think consent and listen to women when they talk about sexual assault, and the pervasive ways that rape culture affects our every day life?
  14. Do I validate the experiences of others even if they are different from my own?
  15. Am I putting my money where my mouth is? Am I buying items emblazoned with the word “feminist” from companies who steal designs from women, furthering the economic divide?
  16. Am I curating festivals to include women, and listening to music performed by women, and valuing the role of female musicians including, and beyond, the roll of a front person? Am I encouraging women to own venues and book shows and make gig posters?
  17. Am I hiring women? Am I paying women the same as men in comparable positions, and eliminating the barriers that prevent women for demanding raises and promotions? Am I promoting people based on talent, and not on regressive ideals about what a “good” manager or leader should be? Am I deconstructing ideals about professionalism and leadership, recognizing how they are rooted in traditional masculinity and prevent hard working, deserving women and men from being promoted?
  18. Am I completely eliminating criticism of bodies of other women? Am I actively undoing the internalized notion that a fat body is an undesirable body, a body that doesn’t deserve respect? Am I ensuring that my ideas of a body-positive world include women beyond a size 24, include those who are disabled, include non-white bodies, include those with body hair, and include body shapes beyond the hour-glass ideal?
  19. Am I aware of how the multi-billion dollar beauty industry creates insecurities in order to profit off of women? Am I rejecting the notion that male attraction is the top form of flattery as I choose to apply too much blush?
  20. Am I recognizing how plus-size clothing made over-seas preys on disadvantaged women to manufacture garments, and that paying money into that industry perpetuates that oppression?
  21. Am I seeking information and knowledge of black women who were written out of history books? Am I sharing that knowledge and advocating for changes in curriculum? Am I telling my children the truth when the schools wont?
  22. Am I voting for politicians who fight for equal pay and equal representation? Who understand the ways the prison industrial complex, welfare and public assistance, minimum wage, access to affordable healthcare, access to public transportation, and maternal leave affect women, especially non-white women, often in a disproportionate way?
  23. Am I creating safe spaces for women to foster friendships and community? Am I celebrating the achievements of other women?
  24. Am I accepting of the grey areas and areas of perpetuality that the answers to these questions exist? Am I accepting of the lack of perfect right answers, and welcoming of an internal or external discussion that can propel us to achieve more?
  25. Am I holding myself accountable to be better for all women, for all people? Am I fighting for the justice that future generations deserve? Am I advocating for a future that ensures the safety and well-being of all, no matter their gender identity?
  26. Once again, am I listening more than I am speaking? Am I aware of when my voice is helpful or needed, and when it is silencing someone else?
  27. How am I doing these things right now?

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