When a wo­man roars

The Compass - - SPORTS -

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.

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