When a woman roars
I am a woman and I have been told to sit down and shut- up by other women.
I am a mother fighting for my daughter and I have been shouted down by the voices of other mothers fighting for nothing but the sound of their own voice and peace from my shrill anger.
I am a citizen of a democratic, freespeech society but if my speech doesn’t hold the key that twists sweetly in their ears I will be insulted and ganged-up on to silence my protests.
And yet I protest. And I protest. And I sign petitions and I write letters and I vent my disbelief on Facebook pages and Twitter and I write my columns.
I do it because I am a woman whose voice has been heard, has been listened to and it’s my responsibility to ensure that within my voice are the million echoing voices of all the women who can’t be heard, won’t be listened to.
So no. I won’t sit down and shut-up. I won’t let your sweet, corporate singing words drown out my anger and I will not suffer insults silently.
When I see a company produce a tshirt that says, “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me,” I sigh. I roll my eyes. And I sign the petitions and write the letters and let my protest be known.
And when a few short months later I see another company produce a baby’s onesie that says “Pretty like Mommy” for little girls, with the male equivalent saying “Smart like Dadddy,” I sigh. I roll my eyes. And you get how the rest of the story goes.
And when I look at that company’s website and see that every other single onesie for little girls contains the same messaging – pretty, cute, adorable, loveable – while every onesie for little boys talks of being smart or athletic I begin to wonder if I can ever shout loud enough to be heard.
“If you don’t like it, don’t buy it,” they say. And yet that is not enough. Because if even one person buys it and my daughter sees it than she has been exposed to the message that pretty is all she’s got.
And don’t get me wrong. She is pretty. Strikingly so. But she’s also brilliant, creative, strong, funny, and a great hiking companion. And only one of those attributes doesn’t really matter as to her success or how her life will turn out. Except it does. It matters far, far too much.
It doesn’t matter if she becomes prime minister. She will always be judged on her looks. Jean Chretien suffered one horrid ad that focused on his face when he ran for PM and the public outcry meant the ad was pulled immediately.