Woman Up

Can you feel it? It feels as though there is a new wave of feminism rising, one in which women are examining not just the patriarchal society that still tries to keep women down, but also the behavior of women within the patriarchy, where we are often our own worst enemies.

One of the popular phrases these days seems to be, “Man up!” Sadly, this phrase is often being used by women as well. It says, in essence, that if we are going to be strong and powerful, we need to be like men… and men have to be macho. It springs from the same place that uses a slang term for female genitalia to be the ultimate insult, a term that says, “You’re weak.” Much as I love me some Daily Show and The Colbert Report, even these reasonably enlightened guys throw that word around with little care. (Shame on you, Jon & Stephen!) Personally, I think if someone calls you a p*#sy, it should be a compliment. A p*#sy brings life into the world, the most sacred act on this planet.

I’m suggesting that we “Woman Up” instead. Women are strong enough to bring children forth from their bodies. Women often juggle jobs, kids, and housework, all while remaining the heart of the family. Women are half the population, and we need to hold half the power as well.

I’m seeing some extraordinary activity out there in the blogosphere and on the web about this topic. Here are just a few people who have saved me the trouble of saying some things that I had intended to:

Julie Farrar from Traveling Through writes about the Ashley Judd controversy.  Judd, as you may know, wrote an op-ed expressing her frustration at all the comments on her puffy face, assuming she had work done. Julie, along with my good friend Bella from One Sister’s Rant, examine the ways in which women hurt each other and tear each other down.

The Feminist Law Prof has scored on a couple of fronts, including the drastic things women are doing to lose weight, and a commentary as a Catholic about the Church’s fight against insurance coverage for birth control.

Mur Lafferty, who does the I Should Be Writing podcast that I have mentioned here in the past, has penned a powerful “Dear Daughter” letter that begins, “You should know that you are hated.” It is a touching, moving tribute to her spirited, inquisitive, and active child.

Barbara Hannah Grufferman, author of The Best of Everything After 50, is fighting tirelessly to revisit the Equal Rights Amendment for women. She will be marching and speaking at next Saturday’s We Are Woman March.

Our legislators are producing bill after bill to reduce the rights of women. In addition, there are other troublesome rumblings among those who would bring women back into the kitchen. One movement among evangelicals is called the Stay-At-Home Daughters Movement, which expects daughters to learn “womanly arts” but eschew getting higher education. These daughters are under the authority of their fathers until that authority is transferred to their husbands. While I have nothing against a woman staying at home if that’s what the family chooses, do we want that choice removed?

The one blessing of this reactionary behavior is that it’s bringing more women together and getting us focused. Perhaps, as we do that, we can learn better how to care for each other, to learn how to resolve conflicts with each other, and to find our collective strength. Maybe we can stop talking about someone’s puffy face or extra pounds and start finding the beauty that exists in all of us. It’s time to Woman Up.

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