International Women’s Day is celebrated every year in March, and besides a handful of women’s organizations and college campus’ that celebrated amongst themselves, the day past by with very little, if any, fanfare. After all that the women’s rights movement has worked for, why isn’t it the major public occasion that it should be?
Perhaps it’s because women today, even as far as we’ve come, are still oppressed in some sense, held back by a lack of self worth and confidence to know that what we are doing does or can make a difference; that our minds and spirits are just as powerful as our bodies, and are worthy of such a recognition.
I am not speaking about the oppression of women in far off places around the globe, but women right here in the United States. Western women, particularly in this country, have rights, liberties and a prosperity that is either non-existent or are luxuries in other parts of the world. Many women today do not appreciate or take advantage of the full range of opportunities afforded to them. Ours is a culture where the objectification and sexualization of women and girls has been steadily increasing, which is a subtle way of enforcing age-old beliefs that women are nothing more than that—the sum total of our body parts and how they appear to and serve others. The truth that needs to be recognized is, as Gloria Steinem said was the basis for the feminist revolution, that women are “full human beings,” not just people narrowly defined by boobs and vaginas.
The amount of media and societal attention placed on a woman’s physical appearance being the essential measurement of her worth is completely out of whack. What about an internal makeover? What if the same amount of time, effort and energy was spent focusing on the inside searching and repairing our character flaws, transforming emotional patterns and polishing our positive attributes in order to become better, more fulfilled human beings in every area of life? Think of what we could accomplish then!
This is a critical time for American women, who are the most fortunate in every way, to realize that we were born here at this particular moment in history to have an effect on the future of this planet, which, by no coincidence is called “Mother” Earth. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “it’s up to the women” since we are more often than not the innate caretakers, peacekeepers, and dialoguers, and are simply more naturally equipped to heal this broken world and the mess that too much testosterone has made of it. It is up to the women to ensure that our country and our world—both the environment and its inhabitants—exist in its wisest, most compassionate and just form today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.
The majority of our voices, talents, and power have lied dormant far too long. Women must search within themselves, find out what their unique gift to the world is, and then share it. If we cannot do that in this country, how can we expect it of women in the rest of the world?
By, Kristina M. Leonardi
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