#BeBoldForChange Activists on March 8th
Every year March 8 represents International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is Be Bold For Change. So how can a woman be bold against the rising populist movement? That’s a hard question to answer because there’s no definitive measure really. After all, a woman can’t be bold on a single level; instead she must attack every stage from the local to the international. Gaining rights for women in your city is valuable, but it doesn’t help women across the nation. And protesters, organizers, and movers face becoming social villains, depending on the selling narrative of the time. So I can’t answer this from any other perspective but my own. That’s exactly what I’ll do.
Here’s how I’m willing to change the world around me: fighting back for future generations’ freedom. It’s not just those us alive now that will face present day repercussions. Nominations like the Supreme Court are generational. My generation–the X-Y grey area–continues to have children and our children will face decisions made by those in charge, no matter if I personally voted for the winning party or not. Politics are more than a single issue. It’s everything. So my job is to promote change, to be bold, to remind the world why women are valuable.
Bold Activist Inspiration
And that value, that reasoning, is why I started my sputtering site Wild Pantheon Press. Women’s voices matter.
We matter. Our struggles, on every single level, matters. We must be intersectional and loud. We must back each other and be allies when the world tries to rip us down to nothing more than breeding mares.
We are valuable. Technological advances happened because women foresaw the future and didn’t let limitation stop them. The same way we have entire genres of literature and pop culture because women deconstructed the world around them to find the heart and truth of their standing. Have you ever seen or read Frankenstein?
Activists come in a variety of sources. Boldness isn’t just being the first female Iranian triathlete–even though Shirin Gerami showed the power of busting glass ceilings in a conservative society. Or being one of the single most influential investigativist journalist of all time, like Ida B. Wells and her expose on lynchings in post-Civil War society. Women who didn’t back down against the odds. Boldness is all about seeing the big picture.
Activists see the best the world can be and push for it. That can be the local news anchor who raises money for a nonprofit in need or a mother who opens a home to children in need and straining resources. It’s women that protect our nations every day, at the cost of time and energy in a patriarchal society. Women who fight back against violent opposition in the face of danger.
Women like Susan Fowler, who joins a long line of women like Erica Joy, Kelly Ellis, and many others in the tech industry to point out the injustices in their world. In Fowler’s case, it was facing sexual harassment in the workplace and not finding support. And facing Uber’s ire after the fact. The same way that Joy posted about the lack of racial and gender representation, the lack of intersectionality, at Google in 2014. Ellis faced a backlash when speaking up about sexual harassment at Google in 2015. Uber and Google are Silicon Valley golden children with innumerable followers. Facing the tides can’t be easy.
And one has to mention women like Zoe Quinn and Randy Harper, who have maneuvered against the male white exceptionalist trolls that helped to place a sexual assaulter into the White House after the 2016 election. Women who face unending attacks based on their gender and interest in a male-dominated space. Quinn dropped a lawsuit against the man who created an entire movement because he couldn’t handle the fact she moved on. Something we see repeating throughout pop culture (see: Chris Brown). Harper was forced to cancel an appearance at 2015’s SXSW because of the trolls and her criticism of the entitled movement. Death threats over criticism. It’s not easy to be an activist.
Women like Rachel Thompson, who hosts a weekly chat about surviving sexual abuse and offers resources. Women like Linda Sarsour, a proud Palestinian-American that speaks her mind on the broken two-state system. Women like Hannah Brandt, the editor-in-chief of the Community Alliance in Fresno, where progressive voices find a monthly paper that highlights the disparities and commonalities equally. It’s not easy to run a paper without corporate support, but Hannah does it every day, every month.
We matter because we allow ourselves to matter. To be heard. And we must listen to voices outside our own, outside our bubble, to move for change.
Where I stand
And it’s women like me that promote change, too. Women who prefer support roles, to stay behind the scenes and make sure everything works as predicted. Part of my boldness is in admitting that I don’t need the spotlight to be make a difference. Maintaining, editing, and assisting are roles that I enjoy and are valuable in the grand scheme of a company’s success.
My boldness means curating articles and sources, finding voices that deserve to be heard. I don’t have to write to be bold. My boldness includes calling my Congressmen and demanding accountability. To make sure staff knows my voice by the time elections come back around. I know I’m fighting back. And changing, amping up boldness, means being a bigger part of local politics. Part of that curating is making sure important stories that effect women and their names are put out there for others to find.
Yet my boldness is a flicker right now as I move on from a long episode of depression. But it will return because I follow a list of women that inspire me every day. That make me fight for what I believe in. That remind me to not be afraid of the repercussions. My value is stronger than the society’s power. Be bold for change indeed.
Here’s a list of bold women who make me smarter by forcing me to reevaluate my assumptions. All these are Twitter links since the links offer broader opportunities to see the world. And because I love everyone, it’s in ABC order for your benefit. This is by no means exhaustive. 10 of over 45 women I follow.
- Anne Thériault: feminist journalist and mom who opens up painful memories to push for empathy among the troll mobs.
- Imani Gandy: former attorney turned political blogger who offers insight with her Angry Black Lady brand.
- Lauren Wolfe: a journalist and manager of the Women’s Media Center Women Under Siege section. Strong investigative background in sexual assault crimes.
- Jasmine Berger: MENA journalist that provides a different perspective outside the Western spin on news.
- Lexi Alexander: a former kickboxing champion turned feminist film director with a Palestinian and German background.
- Rachel Thompson: an author who offers insight and empathy for sexual assault survivors and new authors equally.
- Sarah Jones: a reporter looking for underserved stories, shedding a little light. She also runs World Press Freedom Day’s international moment of silence for murdered journalists.
- Sarah Wendell: runs Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and a valuable history as a leader in the romance genre and community.
- Sophia Cannon: a British barrister and mom of twins with strong opinions on justice.
- The Establishment: an online media site where intersectionality and the gamut of women’s issues rule. Women matter here.
[Photo credit: Profile on Pixabay.]