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.

Comments

    • You’re so right, Maureen! I have been in weight loss mode since December for health reasons, but my final goal weight is higher than some trainers would recommend. I am looking for good health and “good enough.” I like looking feminine and curvy.

      By the way, your blog, while always good, has been exceptionally funny this week. It’s always such a joy to read your work!

      • Well you just went and made my week you gorgeous woman you! And remember, Marilyn Monroe was a size 18. Jane Russell was no Skinny Minnie and there’s plenty more to reference. Meanwhile: Shake it baby. Shake it! I certainly will in my new Woman Up mode of sister-encouraging power you’ve given us all. ;)

  • You go, woman! I love this and I’m with you. This winter/spring was eye-opening–to see the Virginia General Assembly doing its part in what I would characterize as a push to send women back.

    Thank you for providing these links–I’m definitely going to check them out.

  • Nadine, brilliant! Just brilliant! I love how you’ve provided us with links to these posts which I will be reading this afternoon while I sip my java. You are correct–women are rebelling against patriarchy and all that it represents. It’s time we take a stand not only against the male as normative notion, but also against society’s obsession with thinness. It’s tragic that the emphasis on thinness is such, that our displeasure with our weight and our appearance is being deemed as “normative discontent.” As women we have to put a stop to body shame. We have to be able to value other aspects of our womanhood. We have to stop letting men objectify us. I’m glad we’re stirring the pot and keeping the conversation alive. This is a subject that merits being discussed. I hope we can create awareness so that young girls do not continue to go down the path of eating disorders, low self-esteem, and body hate. Indeed, it is time to woman up! :)

    • Thanks, Bella! The body image problems seem to be escalating, and I find it deeply disturbing. When we emphasize good health, our bodies find their natural shapes, and some bodies are just larger than others. Why do we think we need to look like 12-year-old boys? When are we going to embrace and love our gorgeous curves? How did looking womanly become a problem? We (and I include myself in the “we”) spend way too much time and energy worrying about our figures and how we appear to others, when we could be using that energy to solve the many problems that face our world today.

  • Spot on! But there are more spots. I agree that waking up and taking our power back from the patriarchy seems to be happening more today, but there are so many areas to really look at closely. The entire medical establishment is one big boy’s club and the AMA really protects its in-bed relationship with BigPharma and consequently is trying to wipe out any natural cures, alternative medicine and cancer research other than chemo drugs. The current status quo gives women little choice, little voice regarding their health freedoms.

    The Food Industry and the whole issue of GMOs (genetically modified) is all but being ignored by most of the population who naively believe the government that food safety laws are in place for their “protection”. Women not only give birth, but feed and nuture. Wouldln’t you think that they would wake up to dangers of consuming most of the crap in the grocery stores? Women, of ALL people, should tune in to this, start demanding better labeling, boycott brands that are phudes. We vote with our pocket books – but we are not!

    I’m happy to hear that women ARE getting into a “woman up” state of mind – it just needs to include making some noise about food and medicine – which is an area of womens expertise from the ancient matriarchal days. We had that power taken away. It is high time to get it back!

    Enjoying your blog!
    Hugs
    SuZen

    • SuZen, you make some excellent points that are worthy of several separate blog posts. In our home, we eat a lot of fresh, local, organic food, and I’ve gotten more into herbs for health as well. As a society, we have developed a big disconnect between what we put into our bodies and the net result in our body/mind health. Women can be at the forefront of changing the dialogue and increasing the consciousness of society as a whole.

      Thanks for adding such rich comments to the discussion. I will definitely keep them in mind for future posts.

  • Nadine, thank you for the support! This post rocks my socks off – I love reading about and connecting with such strong and powerful women. I am excited to read their blogs – thank you for the links!

    Plus, I love the phrase “woman up.” Betty White has a hilariously dirty and true quote that I’m reminded of: “Why do people say ‘grow some balls’? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”

  • Ah, Nadine, thanks for the mention. You are so right about this new feminist wave. The one thing you forgot to mention was that Hillary Clinton and Michele Obama are two of the most popular figures in Washington D.C. right now. They both bring a tough woman’s perspective on issues that touch the family and the international realm. They are two who know how to “Woman Up.”

    • Thanks for adding to the post, Julie! You are absolutely right. Hillary and Michele are incredible role models. Both have been scorned and vilified in the media for daring to be strong, and yet they keep going and stay focused on what needs to be done.

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