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International Women's Day

Feminist Fears

It's March 8, 2018. I wake up at 4 AM to get ready for work. I shower and braid my hair, make my bed and put on a purple shirt. When I get to work I catch a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror and see that even though I went to bed early last night, the dark circles under my eyes are showing. I consider just getting out of the car, but instead, I reach for the small bottle of foundation I keep in my console, and then I put on mascara too because, you can't have one without the other, right? I tell myself I'm doing this because I don't want to hear a chorus of "you look tired," "early, huh?" and "are you feeling okay?" Maybe that's the truth, I'm not really sure. 

It's slow the way it always is when I work an early shift, and I spend my time reading, on social media, and answering emails. I scroll past #internationalwomensday posts from my friends and from the female politician's, celebrity's and public figures I follow on Twitter. A man I talked on the phone with kept calling my honey.

Maybe it's because I had too much time on my hands, but I kept thinking about my fears on international women's day. The anxieties lurking around the corner of the #TimesUp movement, the dark circles under the makeup of so many strong women I know.

  • Women aren't trending. Roughly 50 percet of the world's population is female, we know this from statistics, and from the gender reveal videos our friends keep putting on Facebook. Women aren't trending is a catchy, relevant line I keep hearing, and I agree; women have stories to share, companies to lead, children to raise, policies to legislate, technologies to invent, lessons to teach, bills to pass, clients to defend, sales to close, houses to build, books to write, change to make. They always have. How do we insure that this moment isn't a flash in the pan? That it's a spark that build a fire that keeps this generation a blaze, and generations to come don't have to worry about getting cold? I don't know.
  • For weeks after the Harvey Weinstein story broke, it seemed like every day we were waking up to a new story about a prominent man having abused his power. The brave women who spoke up and said #MeToo to some of the most powerful men in journalism, entertainment, and politics should be applauded. So should the women who stood up to the most powerful men in their worlds. Their bosses, clients, friends, and family. Our President has yet to face the consequences of his own abuse and harassment. I worry that the more than a dozen women who spoke out against Trump missed the wave, their voices came too early, apparently. For all the women who- with courage, and anger and strength, and trepidation-have spoken and will speak out against their abusers, I worry. I worry that they will hear "I'm sorry, the window to file a complaint was between October 2017 and February 2018, you were too early, or too late." What if the world isn't ready, forgets, or grows weary? 
  • In Trump's America I worry about a lot. I mean every day I'm angry, and sad, and aghast. My mom tells me I need to fill my mind with more positive things. I tell my mom you gotta stay woke. So, I worry about my mental health. I worry that I'll become immune to the crazy things happening. I worry that I spend so much time focusing on the crazy cluster circus that is American politics, I forget about the women of nations all around this world. That I won't be able to find the space for international news, and if I do, I won't be able to retain it. 
  • I worry that I'm not a good enough ally. Feminism without intersectionality, without diversity is dead. I worry that as a white, straight woman I'm not using my voice and leveraging my privilege for the women in my life without it. 
  • Mostly though, I worry that I'll let my worry, or my fear of getting it wrong keep me from getting it right. 

Maybe you have some of these fears too, maybe I'm the only one. Either way, I know that sometimes all it takes to kill a fear is to admit it. More importantly, I remember the strong, crazy, independent, woman who gave me my voice, and I do not intend to dishonor that gift by not using it.

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