Running to Stand Still…

“…And so she woke up

Woke up from where she was lyin’ still.

Said I gotta do something

About where we’re goin’…”

(Running to Stand Still by U2)

Like them or loath them, U2 are one of the most successful bands in the world and for me, this has always been one of my favourite U2 songs.  From way before I was consciously feminist and vocal, the words of this song spoke to struggles, wars and heartaches I had going on deep inside my teenage self and beyond.  Now… they speak to me as a woman in a much wider universal struggle.  Now these words describe the perilous existence and the perceptible non-existence of women across this globe.   These words describe the resilience of women…and isn’t it bloody well that we have resilience since we have been having the same conversations, asking the same questions, beating the same drums generation after generation after generation.  When does it end?

I have to ask myself a question so often these days…

WHAT THE ABSOLUTE FUCK??? 

We have a vulnerable woman living with mental illness who is manipulated and mocked by those supposed to protect #RIPDaraQuigley you sweet soul … We have the women of Ireland continuing to be treated as second class citizens in their own country through the lack of autonomy, respect and control over their own bodies #Repealthe8th …

We have sentences being handed down for sexual offences against women and children and men that range from suspended sentences to six months to 12 years – what is going on with our judicial system??? Where is the consistency???  It does not matter that it is a first offence, or that the offence will effect the perpetrator’s future prospects, or that the victim had 5 alcoholic drinks – the person responsible for the crime is the attacker.  The message must be made clear that sexual assault and rape will not be tolerated in our society and the sentencing for these crimes must support this CONSISTENTLY.

We have the shameful and disgraceful legacy of Church and State Mother and Baby homes all over this country where, we all know, there are most likely more horror stories like Tuam awaiting discovery #TuamBabies And the leaders of our country, the politicans we elected and ourselves…we, the citizens of this State, continue to dishonour those children and their mothers by demanding that every single child and mother is accounted for and afforded a peaceful, dignified and deserving resting place…

And those are a mere few examples.

 

 ” …You gotta cry without weeping,

talk without speaking

Scream without raising your voice… “

(Running to Stand Still by U2)

There have been times in my life when I have wondered what it’s truly like to be a man.  I’ve thought lots of things…like does having a penis actually make you more powerful? Or is it just the fact that you go around stabbing people with it that gives you some sort of elevated sense of self worth?  (Generalisation and choice of words here could be debated but you get my point)  Why did men get to have a penis instead of women?  Why do men seem to be in charge most of the time?  Why does it seem like men, white middle aged men in fact, control EVERYTHING?  Why couldn’t I have an opinion as a teenager without being called a bitch, bossy, fat cow (I am on the curvy spectrum but what the fuck has that got to do with it?), fat stupid bitch, know-it-all, whatever – your opinion doesn’t matter anyway?  There was never the same extent of disdain for boys and their opinions…that baffled me.  Why is it such a problem to hear a woman’s voice?  To see a woman’s body?  To acknowledge women’s autonomy and power in this world?

Fucked if I know!!

(I have an idea actually … privilege … but that’s a whole other box of frogs!!)

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Mansplainer…

I recently had an kinda funny though sadly familiar encounter. While out one evening, I met a friend of a friend who felt it was their opportunity, Nay! their duty to open my eyes to the futility of feminism and the fact that it was a dead ideal in today’s society.  Now at this stage in my life, I can spot a Mansplainer a mile away and I am well used to the arguments and reasoning served up to ‘educate and enlighten’ me on my ‘disillusioned lost road’.  I’m not a feminist to argue with anyone, I’m a feminist because I believe in balance.  I’m a feminist because I believe in equality in opportunities and life for all genders, all ages, all creeds.  There is no argument that can sway me from these beliefs.

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So, as the discussion or banter progressed, the usual arguments came forth – the Constitution doesn’t effect us regular people on the ground,  Women are treated equally now – feminism as a movement is dead and gone…  the Brogressive attitude became the forerunner for a while but it was pushed back a bit by the ‘You’re not doing yourself any favours’ bit.  I have to admit I found myself rising to the argument slightly then I thought to myself…what the hell am I doing?  This isn’t an exchange of ideas here… I am being told what I should be thinking and there’s no opening for discussion.  So I smiled a little, I re-iterated again and again that I didn’t agree and smiled again at the gleeful cry with clapping hands ‘I love a good argument!’.

One thing that was said struck me, however, I was asked which person was more valuable to society – Bill Gates or the person sitting in front of me?  My answer was both are of equal value and I truly believe that.  He felt he had triumphed in this perceived failure on my part ‘No…not at all… Bill Gates is more valuable because of his wealth and influence…I don’t have those.  I see things as they truly are’

I would argue that his view is clouded by perceptions of value based on material value and what comes with it.  No matter the roles we play in life, professionallly or personally, we are all just people at the end of the day.  And until we learn to value each and every person for the human being they are, there will be no balance.

balance