Women and men are feminist warriors. It is a strange time. The earth is in peril, democracy worldwide is threatened. Human rights are stripped away from us at every turn. In a race for global domination, personal rights and freedoms have become trading cards for those in power. Human rights have become currency bartered and traded by corporations and politicians. Those in power ask themselves “How can we further our own economic desires while still convincing people they matter?” All of us feel the impacts of these disturbing trends. And as a result, women and men must be allies rather than enemies.
Consequently activists, politicians, business owners, trend setters, entertainment industry players regularly make headlines by publicly denouncing antiquated and hurtful practices. Organizations make policy changes to cement equality and respect. Women and men are working together to make these critical and urgently needed changes.
Because feminism works to advance the status of women worldwide, it is easy to assume that feminists fight only for women.
I believe that women AND men can be feminist warriors.
Feminist warriors go to bat for all humans. Wikipedia offers this sentence in its definition of feminism –
“Although feminist advocacy is, and has been, mainly focused on women’s rights, some feminists, including bell hooks, argue for the inclusion of men’s liberation within its aims, because they believe that men are also harmed by traditional gender roles.”
My play, Shield Maiden, intentionally highlights relationships between men and women. Both positive and negative aspects of the male/female dynamic are brought forward. I address violence, abuse and discrimination directed towards women. So many women HAVE suffered for millennia at the hands of men and patriarchy. I do not know one single woman who has not suffered. The #MeToo movement sparked outrage and that outrage spurred on change. But I also address how men can and do support women.
It is not just men in power who have the power to make change. It can start with a man choosing to see a woman’s accomplishments. Witness her strengths, her enduring fortitude, her determination in the face of repeated defeat. For a woman to be seen rather than “mansplained, manhandled, mistreated or abused” can give a woman such dignity. With that dignity comes focus and success. And that success benefits us all. Begin by seeing. Then take bigger steps to help your sisters, mothers, wives, daughters, aunts, cousins, friends, sheroes. This is not impossible. So many men already are doing this. We simply need more men need to do this too.
Certainly, I believe we will continue to suffer if we do not stridently work together to end abuse of marginalized groups including women, children, people of colour and the economically forgotten. I know that this work is already being done in partnership. My hope is that we continue and don’t falter. It’s truly time to fight like our lives depend on it because maybe, for some of us, our lives do depend on this. The rallying cry is for everyone to take up arms and storm onto the battlefield in a united front against oppression of any kind.