“Women have sat indoors all these millions of years, so that by this time the very walls are permeated by their creative force, which has, indeed, so overcharged the capacity of bricks and mortar that it must needs harness itself to pens and brushes and business and politics.” — Virginia Woolf
Today, March 8th, 2013 is International Women’s Day. And here I am, a woman, a writer, a music journalist, a poet, an Office Manager (of three separate locations) and a mother (of two Bengal Cats) writing on what should be a regular beat day to deliver an inspired, rousing bit of writing on a feminist blog amongst a collective of brilliant, fellow female writers.
Earlier in the week, PDXX Collective issued one of our collective responses on women in publishing after VIDA released its annual report, tracking the representation of women in publishing from reviewers, to bylines, to authors reviewed in reputable magazines like Harper’s and The Atlantic. This year, the nonprofit that supports women in the literary arts had also released graphs that compared the growth rate of women’s representation in various publications (for an interesting retrospective, check out the three year comparison.)
What is my tack? Give you an exhaustive history of the feminist movement up to present? You’re smart readers, you’ve done your homework. I don’t want to have to name drop and cite the wide breadth of sources I would need to compile to deliver a punchy history lesson on womanhood and equality. Should I gloss over all the crazy and incomprehensible ongoing and current violent political insults we are still enduring in our homes, workplaces, and in the media worldwide? Shall I list the initiatives I support and the historical women that started them? Could I even come up with a Top 10, 20, 50, 100 countless women who have made great strides, immeasurable impact, and influenced culture worldwide?
Am I just lazy?
No. I promise I’m not. So sayeth my testament to working three jobs to make ends meet while still finding time to eat, sleep, take walks, manage friendships, family crises, and one special partnership with a man, plus, carving out the impossible hours to express myself creatively and establish my tiny mark on the world. Which is where I think I will take this . . .
There are still corners of the world where the basic needs of water, food, shelter, safety, and education simply aren’t met. Our world may be more connected than it ever has and the immediacy of images and words are able to traverse distances and nations and reach record numbers of people. We have gone through a series of media revolutions of sharing our experiences through language, storytelling, the printing press, broadcast radio, television and now, computers and networks. All of these forms have had various levels of access to participation, and while there is certainly still a digital divide in places all over the world, never before have so many had the platform and the capability to broadcast their thoughts, their messages, and their stories through our social networks, websites, and blogs.
Literacy and interactive technologies have, as Douglas Rushkoff, author of Program or Be Programmed asserts, “allowed for conversations to take place in a media landscape that formerly promoted only one-way broadcast.” We now have the means and the channels to connect and coalesce our resources and our voices.
So, my suggestion or more, my directive, on this day of celebrating women’s lives, contributions, and achievements, is to speak up, to be seen, heard, understood and believed. This begins with believing in yourself and in your own power. Nothing has been more reaffirming of this notion for me than to have positive visualization, to take myself to task on my beliefs and goals, and to see them manifest in a community of like-minded women writers and storytellers.
So I bid you—write with ferocity, write with clarity, write with love, write with compassion, write with yourself and the world in mind, write well, and write often.
I leave you with a beautiful photo montage of women all over the world courtesy of Reuters.