This is one of many #ThisIsHowSexismEnds prompts, essays, podcasts, memes, interviews, reviews, and articles over the next month that will focus on sexism, gender bias, misogyny, and ending prejudice against women as well as ending toxic hypermasculinity against men (and the overlap attitudes against all of us).
Living in this world where people ignore your voice and your worth can be exhausting.
People of color, women, the disabled community, the LGBT community, the immigrant community—I know you’re weary.
It’s the fight to be heard, to survive, and for some, to exist. Every day can feel like a battle.
But Maxine Waters is showing us how to fight the dismissers and the disruptors:
Relentless. Persistent. Fierce and unapologetic. Maxine Waters is leading the way for every woman who is interrupted in the boardroom. For every girl who is passed over in math class by the teacher calling on the boys. For every police officer questioning a victim’s story and sexual history. No. More. We are reclaiming our time.
Again. See, this is not novel. It’s not a new thing. Maxine Waters is just reminding us of the fight that’s inside of us, that’s been modeled for us by badass men and women who came before. By badass people who are here now. Thank you for the reminder, Ms. Waters.
We stand on the shoulders of others who’ve said this in one way or another since the beginning of time. We are where we are in our struggle because others have paved the way.
They fought slavery and a system that profited off of black bodies. Sojourner Truth, abolitionist and women’s rights activist. After escaping slavery with her infant daughter she fought successfully in court to have her enslaved son freed, one of the first times a black woman successfully challenged a white man in the U.S. legal system. She went on to fight for women’s rights after emancipation and to protest segregation in Washington street cars by riding in the cars designated for whites.
Ida B. Wells, journalist, suffragist and anti lynching activist, cofounder of the NAACP.
Josiah Henson, former slave who worked for the Underground Railroad and helped over 200 slaves to freedom.
Reclaiming their time.
They fought oppression and tyranny. The Mirabal Sisters (aka the “Butterflies”) They boldly opposed the brutal Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. They became symbols of resistance and feminist icons. They were assassinated by Trujillo in 1960. The United Nations has declared November 25 “International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women” in their honor.
Hans and Sophie Scholl and their White Resistance during WWII. After being members of Hitler’s Youth, they realized the horrors of his rule and started a movement. They worked tirelessly to produce literature denouncing the regime, risking their lives with each leaflet. Eventually captured, they faced execution with resolve. Sophie Scholl’s last words were “What does my death matter if through us thousands are awakened and stirred to action.”
All of the young men and women fighting and risking their lives for democracy every day in Venezuela. Right now.
Reclaiming their time.
They are fighting sexist oppression.
The Pink Vigilantes in India.
These women, mostly from the forgotten and abused lower caste, are fighting for their safety and looking out for others who are abused. They fight police and political corruption. Wielding long bamboo sticks, they take matters into their own hands when the police refuse to arrest a rapist or abusive husband. They are feared and respected in their communities that used to spit on them and refuse to listen to them.
Once a victim, now a fighter. Wardere was forced to undergo Female Genital Mutilation at the age of 6. Now she is now an activist, author and fighter. She has brought awareness to an issue that was in the dark and helped saved other children from the horror of FGM. “You are always running from it… but you have to confront it.”
The warrior for girls’ education won’t be cowed by a bullet or by threats. She survived an assassination attempt and is relentlessly fighting for the girls of the world. How did she celebrate her 18th birthday? By opening a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon, “Today on my first day as an adult, on behalf of the world’s children, I demand of leaders we must invest in books instead of bullets.”
Laverne Cox and other brave transgender activist paving the way in pop culture and the culture at large, who reminds us of the incredible bravery it takes to simply be transgender in this world, “It is revolutionary for any trans person to choose to be seen and be visible in a world that tells us we should not exist.”
They took anger and heartbreak and turned it into action. Patrice Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi started Black Lives Matter after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Fed up with a system that allows young black boys to be murdered and tired of being worried about their brothers and their friends every time they walked out the door, they started a global civil rights movement that is fighting racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia.
Roxanne Gay and Dorothy Pittman Hughes and Larry Kramer and Rosa Parks and Harvey Milk and Gloria Steinem and Kathrine Switzer and Jessica Valenti and Emma Watson, and every damn person who showed up for the Women’s March, and the tireless lawyers fighting for immigrants, and the citizen journalists uncovering corruption, and the women who are writing postcards and who have congress’ phone numbers on speed dial and who are writing op-eds and knocking on doors for special elections and raising their children to see where hate and racism and sexism exist and how to fight it.
The women who get death threats and rape threats every time they write or post or tweet but refuse to be silent, the women at work who are fighting sexual harassment and the men who are standing up for them, those who are paving the way for women in STEM fields and working in hostile environments. Those who speak up when it’s uncomfortable and speak out when others are silent and for everyone who is bumping up against sexism and racism and homophobia every damn day but refusing to back down…
This is your time. Our time.
We will reclaim our time. History tells us we can. The present tells us we must. Our dignity. Our safety. Our work, our ideas, our voices our bodies, our minds. We will reclaim all of it every time. Every time it’s diminished or threatened or dismissed.
Relentless. Persistent. Fearless.
Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time…
Read Gretchen Kelly and our #ThisIsHowSexismEnds #StopSexism media thread.
Photo: Getty Images
Join us on Monday Nights for our #StopSexism ConvoCast!!!
The weekly conference calls will be avenue for deeper conversation and for coming up with innovative plans to counter sexism on the ground at the grassroots level. Weekly conference calls are every Monday at 7:30 PM EST.
To join the weekly calls you will need to join The Good Men Project as a Gold or Platinum member. Not a member? Register below!
Not yet a Premium Member of The Good Men Project? Register below.
Our $20 Gold Level gets you access to any ONE Social Interest Group or Class. Our $50 Platinum Level is an ALL-ACCESS PASS, and you can come to as many groups and classes as you want for the entire year. Not yet a member?
Become one below:
Upgrade Your Subscription
*Payment is by PayPal. Your membership begins when you receive the welcome email and click the link to return back to The Good Men Project. You do not need a PayPal account to pay using PayPal.
**If you are already a writer or contributor at The Good Men Project, log in here before registering. (You can request a new password if needed at this stage).