This morning I woke up at 6am. Lord only knows why. Thanks to VICE for recognizing the importance of the first amendment, I was given the seal of unpunished approval to take part in the “A Day Without Women” strike and march. For me that means grabbing a couple of friends and heading out to Washington Square Park with a sign and red t-shirt on around 4pm. It also meant that I got to sleep in – which is basically a concept that has become so foreign to me I often debate if it is a myth. So there I was, 6am, wide awake. I sauntered around the internet for a while on my phone and flaked off the mascara on my eyelashes that I fell asleep wearing and traced the outlines of my face, wondering how many new pimples I probably acquired on the day before my scheduled senior portraits are being taken thanks to leaving on my foundation all night.
Around 7:45am I gave up. I got up, made a cup of coffee (I had a rare craving for it, and by “it” I mean the craving for heavy cream and sugar), and grabbed my Bible, journal, and daily devotional as I do every morning before my day starts. I read up on my chapters and verses of the day, took notes, and then grabbed my yoga mat to do my not-so-daily-but-trying-to-become-daily routine of basically laying on a yoga mat stretching in the only 2 yoga positions I know and a few made up ones, while praying. My hyper-ness doesn’t allow me to sit quietly and still and talk to God, but I do also firmly believe in a segregated time to daily just be silent and calm and at peace before him, and so this is my way.
Amongst my other prayers, I prayed about the march today. Prayed for safety, prayed for effectiveness, prayed for all the things everyone – religious or not- prays for when you’re involved in any political gathering in NYC. And then it dawned on me mid prayer that today is International Women’s Day. So I took some time to tell God thank you. Thank you for making me a woman, thank you for all the women in my life who have shown me the ins and outs of what that means for me, for my life, for others, for God – for words. I said a thank you for everyone from my mom and sister, to Zena and Joan of Arc. And somewhere between thanking my grandma and Virginia Woolf, I lost it. My tears came rolling down and humility washed over me. I thought about all the women, countless women, who have suffered, been ignored, been persecuted, been killed, so that I could sit in my room on a work day surrounded by half-finished journals and prepare myself to go participate in a peaceful gathering of women.
When I finished my chat with God I decided to pull back out my Bible and read up on some of the women featured in the very male dominated book. I happened upon Esther. Within the first chapter of Esther it is already revealed that Esther becomes Queen because she is replacing Queen Vashti who was dethroned by King Xerxes because she refused to listen to his command of having her come before him and his drunken friends so they can all marvel at her beauty. She literally gave up her throne because she refused to let men gawk at her. The king’s reasoning for dethroning her? Because he didn’t want all the other women in the city to see what she did and feel empowered to tell their husbands that they would no longer stand being made into objects of lust.
I have decided to make an “I heart Queen Vashti” tank top and wear it under all of my clothes like Cady Heron rumored to have done with Aaron Samuels (source – Regina George).
But the book of Esther gets even better. So Esther comes along and is made Queen because, of course, the king found her beautiful. She gladly takes the crown and ends up using her objectified beauty and the shallowness and ignorance of the king to wage an underdog war, saving tens of thousands of Jews’ lives. Here is this book, smack dab in the Bible itself, that I was lead to read today, about two women who in completely opposing ways, stood their ground taking hold of their own womanhood and ultimately changing the course of history. (It’s so great, in chapter 7 verse 8, a man is about to be killed and so he starts begging the King for mercy and mid plea he throws himself over a couch that Esther is “reclining” on. She’s literally relaxing while this misogynist is begging for his life. This image of Esther is exactly how I dream of looking in my mind).
But, the best thing about this chapter – IT IS THE ONLY BOOK IN THE BIBLE THAT DOES NOT EVEN ONCE MENTION GOD, OR FAITH, OR SPIRITUALITY. Yes, my friends, there is a book in the Bible, female dominated, that God himself is not even hinted at. From what I have read up on, there are a lot of people against that because they think it wasn’t “God’s will” to have that be a part of the Holy book.
Here is what I think – I think that God let these women basically pull a Kanye vs Taylor Swift on all of the 12 disciples. “Imma let you finish, but first…”
It’s very clear that faith and spirituality and conviction are riddled into this book. But to all the naysayers out there, I think God was just giving the leg up to these two women, who speak for all women, when we say, give credit where credit is due.
Which is not coincidentally what today’s strike is about.
Feminism is not about silencing men. It is not about taking away men’s rights or making them the bad ones drawing horns on all their photos. It is about raising women up because we have been put so much farther beneath everyone else, so that we may be equal. Today’s strike is about showing the world what it would look like if we disappeared, so that the world may see how truly powerful we are. How much gravity we hold, how nothing, absolutely nothing, works without our breathing.
There is even a book in the Bible, the very male enthused Bible, the Bible that is construed and misused to be the misogynists’ hand guide, where God completely erased himself so that for a moment the world could see how competent and effective and strong these women were. The only place in the Bible where God seemingly humbles his own self, is for two women who faced the harm of a male dominated world head on – and thrived.
Today I will wear my red, and I will grab my sign, and I will go stand amongst crowds of other women who are demanding the world do exactly as God did in the book of Esther…