Been thinking a lot lately about the state of the world and women in it. Our common experience as women who live in a world populated with people who are bigger than us, stronger than us, hormonally more aggressive than us coupled with the vagaries of our various political structures, social networks and economic opportunities, and I’d bet you’d be surprised if I told you we as American, and western, women have more in common with our sisters in the middle east than we do without spouses lying in bed next to us. You are probably calling me crazy. Discounting my opinion.
If I told you that it is my considered opinion that women are still oppressed and treated as lesser class, you’d scoff and tell me that we’ve come so far, baby.
Then I’d point out that the likelihood of being raped isn’t so vastly different in different parts of the world. Sure, there are surges in war torn areas and areas filled with chaos. But in those areas who are just poor, just third world without so much external strife, the statistics are damning. And I’d go on to compare health care given (not merely available but actually accessed) is on par as well. There are far more parallels than opposites. Not even going into the similarities of how a society can keep an entire gender pinned down, the injury done to women physically is the same the world over. In just this one thing, being secure in our own bodies, every women on this planet is at risk. Most often, that risk comes from the home or the home neighborhood.
As the title of this post suggests, I want all women to begin to empower themselves. Take a gun class. Do I think a gun will make shit better tomorrow? No. But it will give you a feeling of empowerment. If you’re morally opposed to firearms, take a taser class or a stun-gun class or a pepper spray class. Take a damn class. Go to self-defense classes. Take martial arts. Become stronger in your body so it can help you get stronger in your mind.
None of these classes are intended to make you think you can take on a dude twice your size. The best and first course of action should always be to get away, get help and cause a commotion to get noticed. But maybe the class will give you the confidence to think of how to get away instead of falling apart, or to create an opportunity that can be exploited. It might be the difference between tragedy and triumph.
Every woman should be safe in her body. It is a travesty that this is not so. A many-pronged approach to resolving the problem needs to happen. One of those prongs is making women stronger in their bodies. There are all kinds of strength. By acquiring one, we help bolster them all.