Tuesday, March 13, 2012

We rise again.

Incredulous.  That is the look people would give me after I responded to their asking me if I was wearing my boyfriend's university jacket.  The jacket is black leather and has the University of Waterloo crest on the front and big white letters spelling out University of Waterloo on the back.  On one arm is 90 which signified the year I finished (and planned to...the choosing of this year for the sleeve was a bit dicey since that meant a commitment to finishing the program on time or looking foolish for the year/years that you hung around afterwards).  The other sleeve says HONS MATH.  The Honours Math thing makes me chuckle even now.  I picked this generic sleeve label since I switched programs within the Math Faculty about a dozen times before settling on the program that I actually completed which was an Honours Mathematic degree Operations Research major with a Computer Science minor.

I proudly wore that jacket and enjoyed the incredulity on people's faces when I would say, um, no it is not my boyfriend's jacket it is my own and why would you think otherwise?  These questions always came from people not on the University of Waterloo campus since I am happy to say that there were quite a few of us women sporting these jackets on campus in the late 80s.

Other than these first glimmerings of cultural bias against women (a woman studying math in university?  whoa) I lived in a cocoon throughout my youth.  My mother raised me on Michele Landsberg, Marlo Thomas and Our Bodies Ourselves and I believed that the hard work of early 20th century women had paved the way for equality for my mother and my own generation.   I neglected to listen to the stories my mother told of inequality because I felt she was just angry and perceiving sexism where basically it did not really exist.  I mean, even those questions about my jacket were kind of quaint in a redneck way, right?

It wasn't until I became a mother that I started to see how awry our world was.  Once I turned into a breeder the whole world got turned upside down for me.  I perceived everything differently.  And giving birth to a daughter made me recognize how connected all of us with wombs are.  The day I gave birth to my daughter I visualized the literal extending of the womb back behind me throughout my maternal ancestors.  Generations of women giving birth had led me to the birth of my own daughter.  I was connected to these women.  Permanently.

It was powerful imagery that remains with me almost over seventeen years later.  For the first time I had tapped into the strength of my feminine power and my blood memory was activated.  I could no longer think any sexist action was quaint or excusable.  Sexist against men or women but far too often it is directed against women.  Women with no voice.  Women with no choice.

As an exercise in hope during these darker regressive days for women I now invite you to play the below song while perusing the following hashtags on twitter (you don't need to belong to twitter to do this...that is the beauty of twitter).  While doing this I ask you to also think about the image of all of us descending from a womb and the chain of wombs behind you that allowed you to walk this planet right this very minute:  #IDidNotReport #MissRep #SlutWalk.  It is time to Rise Again.  Enough it enough.


  1. This is a fantastic post. people talk about how much things have changed & I am floored time and time again when I'm confronted with the 'so much remains the same' reality. Thanks also for posting the #IDidnotReport hashtag in particular. The repression of past guilt goes a long way to looking the other way when it's an offhand remark, or trying to laugh things off. As you say -Enough is enough.
    Thank you

    1. Thank-you A.K.A. I am really trying to redirect the anger and write about the world I wish to leave behind.


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