Friendly Reminder: Y’all Means All
I have to admit that before the 2016 election, I was one of those people that shrugged off any political conversation with a quick “I hate politics” statement. Before this election, I kept quiet about any controversial topics in an effort to keep the peace and avoid confrontation. But there was something about seeing Donald Trump’s racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and flat out mean-hearted speeches that lit a fire in me. There was something so empowering about seeing a confident, composed woman run for president, yet something so maddening about seeing the blatant sexist media coverage about that same woman and any woman who stood up for her. I was like a volcano just waiting erupt while watching that election process play out. And one day, it happened. I erupted. I, a gay woman living in a depressingly red state, found my voice and suddenly I couldn’t stop using it. It was liberating and empowering and beautiful. But at the same time, I felt like a newbie to this whole feminist/progressive movement. I had some shit to learn and boy did I get schooled. The most important thing I learned is that as a white woman, I have a certain privilege and I better figure out how to use that privilege for good. As we go into 2018, with major elections and white house scandals and sexual harrassment debates looming, I need y’all to remember this:
Y’all means ALL.
This is a slogan that I’m borrowing from the southern LGBTQ+ movement because I belive that it applies to the entire feminist/progressive movement. As you move forward in your journey, don’t forget to listen to ALL women. Don’t forget the women of color. Don’t forget the trans women. Don’t forget the lesbians. Don’t forget the women living in poverty. Don’t forget the women in positions of power who are terrified to speak up. Don’t forget the women who have a disability. Remember to engage and interact with women who may not look like you or dress like you or talk like you or live in your neighborhood or socialize in your bar. And don’t just use your words to reach these people – show these people you care by taking action. Volunteer at a women’s shelter. Spend time in a community that’s different from your own. Support small businesses owned by women and/or minorities. Educate yourself on what these communities are concerned about and do what you can to help them get their concerns heard and addressed. And remember that they don’t need the white cis straight feminist to save them or fight their fight. They’ve been fighting their fight for a lot longer than we can probably imagine. Remember that we, the movement as a whole, need them. WE. NEED. THEM. We need their voice and their trust and their leadership in order to succeed. We should be honored to share this movement and fight alongside them.
So, in 2018, let’s all vow to do MORE. More than just sharing a Facebook post. More than just wearing a black dress to the Golden Globes (looking at you, Hollywood stars). More than just wearing a pin. More than just buying a feminist t-shirt. We need MORE ACTION. More participation. More donations. In 2018, let’s not be afraid to step outside of our comfort zones. Let’s not be afraid of conversations or interactions that may make us feel uncomfortable. It is in those times that we are forced to open up our minds and it is in those times that we learn the most. Embrace those moments. Always remember that no one is equal until EVERYONE is equal.
Keep fighting the good fight, ladies. I’m proud to stand with you.