This article is about you. I will name no names, because our names are many and varied. Some are shared. Some are so unique as to be un-spellable at a glance.
This post is directed at you, who sits behind your computer and television screens and screams soundlessly where no one can hear, and it's directed at you, who stands in front of millions and speaks endlessly.
This is for you, who flaunts your genitalia with pride, and for you, who hides it in shame. This is for you who does neither, and exists without thinking about the shape of your reproductive organs, the color of your soul—blue, pink, yellow, green—or the gender society slaps on you because it thinks it should.
This article is about you, who is comfortable with yourself, and you, who is not.
It's about the you that has been raped, the you that has not, the you that is a virgin, the you who is not, the you who likes sex, the you who does not, the you that likes boys, girls, both, neither, every gender and everyone.
These words are about you: you, who lives, and me, who lives beside you.
The Silent Majority: One of Us
The silent majority are those who cannot or are not allowed to speak. They are the women who are told they must retain a quiet dignity, and they are the men who fear to be heard saying anything else.
The silent majority are those who are afraid to speak up. They are made of more than just women. They are made of children, spouses, thinkers, friends, acquaintances, workmates. They are made of people who have no problems raising a voice on some matters, but fear the backlash on others—and so they do not speak of those matters, as if by doing so, they might say to themselves, "It's okay we didn't address that. It's okay that no one talks about it. We talk about those other things. It's enough."
It's not enough.
I am outspoken. I have opinions. I believe in what I believe, and I'm not adverse to learning more, shaping my opinions as time goes by, and adapting. I blog often. I have a lot to say.
I am a member of the silent majority.
Although I speak, my membership card remains in my wallet—it’s pink, because I like pink; because pink is the color I’m assigned; because pink is the color my vagina is supposed to be—and because it’s pink, I’m allowed to speak about two acceptable topics: for women, or this is how I write (romance).
I’m afraid to tell you that I like pink okay, and I like blue fine, but I think I like that shade of purple you get when you combine them the best. I’m scared to ask, hey, why does it have to be pink or blue? I want to know why it can’t be both. I want to know why it can’t be neither.
I want to know how to get rid of this membership card, because every time I open the wallet that is my soul, I see it looking back at me and it wears the face of all of you who I love and admire and want to befriend—and you are shaking your head with a finger to your lips, and I am tired of being afraid to speak.
This is how the story goes. Girl is born. Girl grows up. Girl enters the Age of Information and she spends her life on the internet—educated, elucidated, exposed. Girl joins the movement; the movement, that tide of unrelenting pushback against the forces of the Man—the Man, which has grown to include any person with a penis, not just politics. The penis is keeping her down. The penis is keeping her silent.
And then one day, Girl wakes up to realize that she’s not just choking on the Man anymore.
They ask why she’s not a feminist. They ask why, when they ask why she’s not a feminist, she has an involuntary tic—a flinch, a cringe, a look over her shoulder. They ask what’s wrong with her, because doesn’t she want power for women?
She says nothing. She writes another blog post about LGBTQ equality, she writes about writing strong women in books, she writes about gamers and geek culture.
But she does not write what she wants to write, which is this: I am afraid of my own people.
It’s written on the back of her membership card—fine print in red ink, because that’s a metaphor for menstrual blood, which used to signify a bond among sisters but doesn’t anymore because trans/because gay/because they’re letting boys in now, if they’re properly subservienteducatedtolerantsupportiveunderstanding... make good photo ops—they let the boys in but watch them, because boys, you know, they’re boys, they’re the Man, they can’t do what we do, and we do it with a vagina.
Anything the Man can do, vaginas can do better.
Vaginas can do anything better than... you.
You don't have to be anti-man to be pro-woman. — Jane Galvin Lewis
I believe in equality.
I believe that women should be loud when they want to be loud, and quiet when they want to be quiet.
I believe they should be willing to stand in a crowded bus if that’s what they want to do, and I believe they should be allowed to sit when a penis—I mean, when a man stands to let her have his seat.
I believe that the questions asked of a woman—the questions about a spouse, kids, balancing jobs, the shape and heft of sexual body parts, the quality of her vagina as measured in the quantity of children birthed through it—should no more be asked of her than it is of a man.
I believe that the questions asked of a woman— the questions about a spouse, kids, balancing jobs, the shape and heft of sexual body parts, the quality of her vagina as measured in the quantity of children birthed through it—should be asked of a man, suspending the vaginal part because penis.
I believe that if a man has gained success throwing words of equality into the ether, it’s okay, and that if a woman has gained success throwing words of equality into the ether, that’s okay, too.
I believe in the goose and the gander, in white feathers, brown feathers, yellow, red, and black—in green, pink, blue, purple, gold, and colors that don't exist to the naked eye.
I believe that women can say/write/sing words powerful enough to shear through the dross, but I also believe that accepting help from a man to get a woman’s words out where they will be heard is okay; yes, help from a man—damn the Man, that patriarchal bullshit wrapped up in the size and shape of a penis; because as we all know, ladies with vaginas and our pink membership cards, by our reproductive organs is how we want to be measured.
I believe that words are words, and what you say matters, and if the help I need/inspiration I follow/success I want to mimic comes from a man, then so what?
I believe that centuries of oppression by men doesn’t invalidate every man’s worth; and centuries of repression doesn’t automatically entitle my vagina to a pedestal—pedestals are high, you know, and they aren’t that comfortable; and who put me up here? because I’m attached to this vagina and we just want to get down now.
I believe that men have the upper hand right now because centuries of conditioning, but I believe that to gain equality, we don’t need to crush them underfoot.
I believe that for every inspiring feminist who accepts me as I am—flaws and all—there are two holding me down; a hand on my head to keep me below the water line because I believe in fantasizing, believe in submission if it suits, believe in taking cues from success, believe in equality.
I believe that for every inspiring man who accepts me as I am—flaws and all—there are two holding me down; and what they do to my heart and soul and mind is a sad tale repeated woman to woman behind closed doors, when the men who taught it to them are taking cigars and brandy in the lounge, because I believe in having opinions, believe in speaking up and out loud, believe in taking cues from success, believe in equality.
I believe that men aren’t evil. I believe that the culture of rape and intolerance is a problem. I believe that women can stand together. I believe that women can stand together with men. I believe that men can help, and start a trend, and deliver a word, and that it’s okay that it didn’t come from a woman first because we can still say it—only we’re all carrying our pink membership card and it’s sewn to our mouths just in case we say something that indicates we want to get raped.
I believe that even if a man does something first, women can follow and make it their own—this isn’t a game of finder’s keepers, it helps no one to tear down the efforts of equality just because it wasn’t written/spoken/created by a vagina.
I believe that the risks of talking about standing beside men—rapethreatsviolenceinsults being ousted from the club—are worth risking.
Because I believe in equality for men and women, trans-gender and androgynous, gay and straight.
And if I don’t put my words where my membership card is, then what the fuck have we been fighting for?