Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Woman's Day Is Never Done

On this day, International Women's Day, we should take a moment to appreciate one salient point: no one would be here save for a woman.

Somewhere along the way, when evolution and natural selection anointed sexual reproduction as the surest pathway to success for mammals, it gave the female of the species the power to continue the species. It placed in her -- what we humans call 'woman' (and in that, let me not denigrate the trans-gendered, for it can be any person with a womb) -- the responsibility of the continued existence of all of us.

Given that the continued existence of our species is tied to that part which holds the power of gestation, it escapes any decent person as to why bearing a womb marks a person for second-class status in our modern society. How can it be that we have not sufficiently shed our Medievalism, so as to see women as true partners and equals, and not simply as assembly lines and incubators? What true righteousness can be claimed by some that they would see a woman held down, subjected to procedures against her will, and forced to retain that which she cannot bear? Does the woman who stands before you bear so little resemblance to the mother who bore you, that you see her as no better than a slave?

What we see now, in America and throughout the world, is a gender slowly wakening from thousands of years of subservience, to greet each new sunrise as free and equal, while others seek to continue to force them back down. A struggle for freedom long building, now fully engaged, is taking place before our eyes, and too many still look away, perhaps embarrassed, perhaps shamed, perhaps intolerant, perhaps willfully ignorant, but all similarly part of it.

This day, save for a mutual declaration, is no different for many a woman, who must work to feed and clothe and house a family, must hold together her family through vicissitudes of life both great and small, must suffer the denigration at the hands of -- and the demonization by -- the men who wield power in the world, and continue to forge ahead in a world filled with obstacles placed to keep her subservient to ways that belong more in the pages of dusty history than in the halls of a modern and  pluralistic society.

Let us then see this day, not as celebration, but re-dedication. Let us work to rip the blinders from the eyes of justice, let us shine pure light on the blessings of liberty, let us seek out and set down those who would turn living, breathing woman into chattel. Let us remember that our human society is predicated on, and owes its existence to, the stalwart strength of those who bear the burden of filling in our future with new life. Let us not see her, our human mother, as below or beneath, but above us, allowing us to bask in her radiance and breathing life into us. Let us stand as one and break the patriarchal fetters that bind her to that existence, and give her leave to weave the tapestry of humanity as she will, without constraint, without dominance. If we are what we say we are, then we have nothing to fear from equality, for it simply the restoration of that which was always true.

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