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The Fight is Far from Over

So often women are seen as objects, and if not as objects, they are invisible. We expect our mothers to be calm, our daughters to be quiet, our young women to be perfect, our grandmothers to be doting, and our sisters to be “the good child” in the family. We grow up wondering where the line falls between standing up for ourselves and being a bitch. We wonder if our pride in our achievements is warranted or egotistical. We doubt our worth. We move out of the way of the men on the street, we squeeze so others can have room. We hold our tongue so we don't come off as rude. We fix our makeup over bruises, keep our fears to ourselves because we hate the thought of being pitied, and we keep working through both physical and emotional pain.

Men have long been taught not to cry. But women have been taught to hold their heads high, even with tears running down their cheeks.

We are taught to be the steadfast calm in the middle of a raging storm. We are taught to care, tend, and hold together... but so often that lesson is taught for the sake of others, not ourself. And so we forget that we, too, are important; that our own wellness and peace of mind matters just as much as anyone else’s.

I saw the interview Gayle King did with R. Kelly, and all I could think the whole time was, “My god, that woman is strong.” She was the epitome of self control. Unflappable. Composed while Kelly ranted and cried and screamed and paced about like a child throwing a temper tantrum. I applaud her. But it also makes me angry. She is quoted afterward in an interview with E!News saying “I thought if we had both gotten emotional and amped up like that, what good would come of that? ...I never thought that he was going to hurt me ... I was worried that he would accidentally hit me.”

His behavior was not. at all. acceptable. And yet it was left to King to control the situation. All the pressure fell on her and how she would react to his ridiculous antics in order to keep the interview going. All the pressure fell on her, even all the power was with him. The threat. The theatrics. The underlying fear of what he might do.

I am struggling even to put into words how this makes me feel. We allow anger, hatred, fits of rage, various levels of abuse, disrespect, and poor manners so often as a culture. But also as women. I can’t help but feel like women end up taking the high road all the time, knowing that nothing good will come from not taking it. You get what I’m saying? Sometimes objecting will make things worse... but that doesn’t mean things weren’t terrible to begin with.

Yesterday was International Women’s Day and I just want to say, we’ve come a long way. We’ve made great strides toward equality, fair treatment, respect, and understanding. But this fight is so far from over. So far. We have to stop allowing ill treatment, objectification, and disrespect. We have to believe we are worthy. Of life. Of happiness. Of growth. Of love. Of speech. And of success.

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