Why Women Need to Support Other Women
I am a bisexual woman. I am a mother. I am a grandmother. I am a politician. I am a strategist. I am a friend. I am a feminist. I am an ally. I am a matriarch. I am an activist. I am a collaborator. I am a host. I am a bridge-builder. I am a social justice warrior. I am an honest broker. I am a communications specialist. I am a leader. I am a truth-teller. I am a fighter. I am a force to be reckoned with; ask anyone. I know who I am and what I represent. What I am not, is a follower. What I am not is a person who allows wrong-doings to go unnoticed and unaccounted for. When I seek truth, I seek accountability and justice. I seek change. I take action. As I’ve already said, I’m a feminist, an inter-sectional feminist. I stand up for women, including trans and minority women. I fight for equality. That being said, there are women who lack the confidence to be an ally and a support for other women, for a multitude of reasons. I’d like to say that I don’t understand where these less-than-supportive women are coming from; unfortunately I do. I felt similar feelings when I was considerably younger and didn’t have the confidence and fortitude to recognize my strengths and talents. That can be chalked up to be sexually and physically abused. Nothing destroys self-worth quicker than being violated and made to not feel safe. Fast forward 15 years and I now know my place. I know my path. My leadership qualities have enabled me to be a mover and a shaker in a few areas, especially politically. I never back down. Politics in New Brunswick is a male-dominated institution. I was disappointed and very dismayed to discover when I was filling out my candidate papers to run for MLA in our recent snap election, all the wording on the forms are designed and worded in masculine language. It’s automatically assumed by our political institutions that the candidates will be male. That in itself sends a very sexist and discouraging message to would-be female politicians in New Brunswick. This is something that needs to be amended forthwith. Words matter. Women seeking a seat at the table is daunting enough in our patriarchal systems, we don’t need the extra discouragement.
Why I surround Myself With Supportive Women
I’ve had many naysayers in my life. These kinds of people project their own fear and insecurities onto us in the hopes of keeping us down; whether it be jealousy, lack of understanding, being close-minded, feeling threatened, or because of ambitions. The end result is the same. I found it very discouraging to have been initially told by a friend that she didn’t feel I would be accepted by a specific group. It weighed on my mind; not because I believed her, but because I couldn’t help but wonder why she would say such a thing. In short, I was led to believe I wasn’t good enough, or I was lacking in some way. I kept the conversation to myself for a time, to mull it over. I’m learning to respond, rather than react. I eventually discussed it with my friends and coalition members. They reminded me of of goals, of our mission. We help uplift and raise up other women. We support them in their endeavors, even politically. Two of us in our coalition ran for different parties. I still helped this woman, despite our different political banners, because it was the the right thing to do. There’s always a right thing to do. Don’t worry, I miss the mark sometimes too, but I own it.
Be You, Do You
I am well know for being fierce. I am also well known for being empathetic and kind. I am both of these women. I wear many hats. I’ve reached a point in my life where I don’t need anyone’s approval. I don’t need anyone’s permission. I don’t need anyone’s guilt. I don’t need anyone’s negativity. I’ve been to hell and back but I survived. I didn’t just survive, I’ve thrived. I’ve had my moments of insecurity and doubts, we all do. Thankfully, I have the ability to reason, a support system I can rely on, and the respect of my peers. That does’t mean I don’t have adversary’s. I do. I’ve going to share a poem buy the Chartist poet, Charles Mackay.
“You have no enemies, you say? Alas! my friend, the boast is poor; He who has mingled in the fray of duty, that the brave endure, must have made foes! If you have none, small is the work that you’ve done. You’ve hit no traitor on the hip, you’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip, you’ve never turned the wrong to right, you’ve been a coward in the fight.”
Do not harm but take no sh*t. End of story. Be kind!