Weak Sisters

I’ve so had it with all this oppressive sexist bullshit. It is never ending. The men whose sole mission in life is to rule the world from the high end of every woman’s uterus, the criminals who steal girls to taunt the world so everyone from the First Lady on down holds up a stupid hashtag sign as if the Boko Haram gives a flying fuck about hashtags or public opinion, the editor of the New York Times getting canned because she had a beef about salary equity are all just more junk and debris in a crammed, filthy river that has been running through civilization from the beginning of fucking time.

And we are so used to all of this that we can’t fire up the juice to get mad anymore. And by mad, I mean red rage, unreasonable rage, indescribable rage, indignation, resentment, and fury.

Like frogs in simmering water, all of us with extraordinary hopes of true gender equality in the sixties and seventies have just let ourselves be poached into timid, limp versions of our former kickass selves. Taking offense at sexism, I mean taking serious offense, like ‘what the fuck’ offense, is just so not done anymore. Heaven forbid, a woman should ever call out a colleague for sexism for she then would have to admit she is a feminist. People would stare and point as if a rare, blind sea creature never before seen by humankind suddenly emerged from the ocean. National Geographic would come take pictures. Look at the feminist we found! We’ve heard that there used to be more but now they’re nearly extinct.

I yearn to be rude again, insistent and out of control.

Yesterday, I attended a community luncheon with a big shot panel discussion about human services. All of the seven panelists were men. It was a wingtip festival. I complained to the organizer. Why were there no women on the panel? In the audience, there were women advocates and experts and professors galore. “I tried,” he said. Oh, I thought, I’m sorry, excuse me. I didn’t realize you had tried. That makes all the difference.

Women are half the population practically everywhere in the world. Where’s our half? I want to see our half, go there in my car, spread a blanket and have a picnic on our half. And I want to go there anytime I please, not just when the fellas decide it would be okay to let me in. I want to maybe put up a fence and keep the other half out, I want to plow or not, build a city or keep a meadow, mine for gold or take a nap. I want to do what I want on our half.

I dream.

And so it goes, not the exception, but the rule. We didn’t do much except to make standing up for ourselves an embarrassing exercise that few of us claim. We were feminists but that was then. That’s all done now.

23 Comments on “Weak Sisters

  1. Do you know that I am the first and only female director of health and Human Services for Milwaukee County? I was appointed by a conservative Republican even though I am not one.

  2. Thanks for reading my blog. I will follow you and invite you to follow me as well. best wishes, beebeesworld

  3. I had to share this post because it’s so rare these days to see this level of energy. Meaning people seem so complacent in their solitary little environments with ear buds and electronic toys. It’s rare to see anyone who really cares enough to speak up and stand out.

  4. I willingly add my voice to yours and all the other women who’ve been moved by your post. Time to beat the drums, ladies! Now, while global women’s issues are being heard. You’re certainly not a weak sister, Jan.

  5. I do want to say that I’ve got a different perspective on the hashtag aspect – I think that, while too many people just click ‘like’ or ‘reblog’ without doing anything else proactive, I think that social media and trending hashtags really can be a way for ‘the people’ to speak out and speak up. A lot of the times, our votes don’t count, we missed the electoral college, state reps don’t represent our feelings on issues, but when you can join a global voice drawing attention to a situation that maybe wouldn’t have been more than a blurb on the world’s radar, you’re doing a thing that can turn towards the good. Another plus to that is drawing in the younger generation of females out there, hearing the fighting words, maybe looking into the plight of women who have to go underground just to write poetry in Afghanistan, and finding their own boxing gloves that they maybe didn’t know their soul even knew how to wear. As to all of the rest? Fuckin a. I’ve not lost my rage.

  6. My last great effort was trying to convince young, evangelical females that being a feminist wasn’t selling their soul to the devil. I developed a gender roles course but there wasn’t enough interest for it to run a second time. I love that fire in your belly, but it is hard to maintain over decades. My ‘white rage’ breaks through every so often, however.

      • I agree. When we go to WI, it is way up – my sister lives in Rice Lake. If you come to MI, let me know and I’ll drive to meet you. Did you read the article in this month’s AARP magazine on females and heart disease? There have been more women than men die of heart disease for each of the past 30 years, because not much is known about women and heart disease. And you know all the reasons why. As you so eloquently said – the medical community doesn’t give a flying fuck.

  7. Thank you. I was honestly beginning to think I was the only one who could see the complacency settling in with women of all ages. Why the complacency when it is so OBVIOUS that we still have so much more to accomplish? From the pay gap to the fact that I am still going to work (the youngest person at my office) and one of the upper bosses is fairly regularly inappropriate towards me (yesterday he did a ‘kiss-kiss’ with his lips at me-wtf?) and when I bring it up with the middle-aged women I work with-I’m told “that’s just *smith*, he’s harmless.” How is that an appropriate response? I want my rights. I want to pass some guy on the street and not immediately look at the ground to avoid suggesting interest when he says hello (totally unconscious on my part but disturbing that somehow society has trained me into this behaviour). I want equal pay for the same job (a new study says women in Vancouver are earning 30% less than men for the same job)(and I’m well aware of my white privilege in this case). I don’t want to have to worry about my right to an abortion and control over my own body thanks to the medicalization of the female body by the political machine. This is not a time for complacency and I am really glad that I am not alone in thinking this. Thank you for your article.

  8. Reblogged this on Sally Ember, Ed.D. and commented:
    Thanks, Janice Wilberg! I was very disturbed by the FLOTUS’ viral photo holding the sign, but you articuated WHY I was disturbed. I love an intelligent, long-overdue, excellent, feminist RANT! You ROCK!

  9. I know.I think about this EVERY time see images of business meetings or experts–always men. Our daughters (and I mean that generically) don’t seem to notice. Reading about Jill Abramson’s firing today, I was reminded of how I finally got the courage to ask for a raise, pulled together all the evidence showing how my salary was not in line (not anywhere near) in line with the regional average or my experience (never mind accomplishments), and not only was my boss shocked but the next month he eliminated my job.

  10. Here in Canada, the Prime Minister’s wife is making great contributions to women’s issues – at a Toronto film festival devoted to online cat videos. Meow!

    This will add fuel to your fire: I came across a reference the other day that claims that the women’s movement was promoted, if not orchestrated by the money managers so that the “our half” could make money and contribute to their purse. When it served the purpose, women were granted entry.

  11. It’s sad – we have progressed quite a ways, but we still have a lot of slush to go through.

    I think it’s made even worse by the fact that ‘feminist’ is now almost a dirty word. I’ve heard so many people say ‘I’m not a feminist, I just think men and women should be equal.’ Uh…

    And I’ve also heard that women don’t get paid as much as men because they don’t have the same qualifications…but every single college I looked into, that’s not an exaggeration, every single one, had a higher percentage of females. Somehow I don’t think that’s the issue…

    In other news, I recently was nominated for a Liebster award, and wanted to share the love with you! You always write such poignant things. Read about it here and decide if you want to participate: http://brinkling.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/liebster-award-nomination/

    Either way keep on keepin’ on!

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