International Women’s Day was this past Friday, so J and I took the opportunity to drive to Seneca Falls to celebrate. We visited the women’s history museum, sat in on a discussion about “women in science, art, religion, politics, and in achieving women’s equality,” stayed at the Van Cleef Homestead Bed and Breakfast, and wandered around downtown Seneca Falls. It was glorious.
It was incredible to be there. I felt like I was standing in a sacred place, because, to me, the movement that the Seneca Falls Convention set into motion IS sacred. (All weekend, I kept telling J, “It’s like coming home!” =P )
Without Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B Anthony, Lucretia Mott, and many, many more, I would never live the life I lead now. Life would be suffocating without the voice I am accustomed to having, the voice I have a right to use. How grateful I am to these women! Sometimes it seems that these names become simply text in history books, no more than a blurb in the margins, and we forget that they were living, breathing women who changed America. They were jeered at, and scorned, and mobbed, but they persisted because they knew that no woman is inferior to any man. Equality is a given.
Even today, however, women are treated far from equally. There are nations where women are still property, where women are “minors” and cannot travel nor work without a man’s consent. Sex-trafficking is an unfathomable problem that affects far more women than men. Domestic abuse is rampant (yes, even in America). Lesbians are still being denied rights.
Some days, this inequality is crushing, but today, I am feeling unstoppable. I stood where my heroines stood, and, today, that is enough for me.
A note: Today, feminism encompasses all marginalized peoples: minorities, women, homosexuals, etc. We are striving for equality across the board, because that’s what equality is. If one of us is persecuted, none of us are equal.