I discovered a wonderful quote in agreement with my post about self-censorship (here’s that post). Sue Monk Kidd wrote the following in The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, and I hope she won’t mind me sharing it.
“Women themselves condition their daughters to serve the system of male primacy. If a daughter challenges it, the mother will generally defend the system rather than her daughter. These mothers, victims themselves, have unwittingly become wounded wounders. Women need to attack culture’s oppression of women, for there truly is a godlike socializing power that induces women to “buy in” or collude, but we also need to confront our own part in accepting male dominance and take responsibility where appropriate.”
During counseling sessions, I’ve heard this same story from many women. They cried as they told me about sexual abuse. But their anger erupted when speaking of betrayal by their mothers. Many times, when they told their mothers, they were not believed. Who would want to believe such a horrid thing?! Thus, the daughters were not only injured by their abusers but also by those they went to for help. So, they stopped trying to get someone to listen; they stopped talking.
Rather than focusing on such terrible realities, I would like to speak as an elder to the younger people. At a time when politicians yell about the morality of using birth control, more and more US children slip into poverty every year— certainly that is a horribly immoral circumstance. Yet, we as adults are supposed to take care of the children.
Appreciate what you have, but be objective about society. It is time to break the cycle of abuse. It is time to look at the world we have allowed to be created. If women and men are stigmatized by certain behaviors, such as staying at home to raise children, let’s change that. If a minority population cannot enjoy the rights you have, notice that Turn against the status quo; turn against the injustice. If a company fires a woman for getting pregnant, for refusing to have sex with the boss, or for speaking out against working conditions, don’t ignore that. Support her. Don’t accept “it’s the way it’s always been done” as reason enough for inequality.
Look into the facts. Speak up. Think about how you want society to act. Think about what happens if you take away one person’s rights or a certain group’s privileges. How will that influence your choices in the future? Realize that anything can be turned on others will hurt you. A law that limits one group can and will eventually impact you.
You are the ones who will have to live with the outcome of losing the progress made by the Civil Rights and the Women’s Liberation Movements (and the Gay Rights Movement which also grew out of them). You and your children. If privacy is being eroded (and it is), you are the ones who will be faced with the consequences of that. As an example, do you see politicians who attempt to erode the right of a woman (or a couple) to obtain and use birth control? I don’t care if you want to use birth control or not (or if you want an abortion or not). It’s important that you realize what it means if no one can use birth control. What if only a particular group had access to jobs? What if you could no longer own a car, drive a car, buy a house? What if no one could vote?
And it all does begin (or end) with the law. Sure, the system (whichever one you want to discuss) is broken. If enough of us get together, we can change the system. It happened in the Sixties. It may be harder now, but it could happen again. Look at how public opinion has changed about same-sex marriage.
Investigate the news. Don’t accept someone else’s opinion without checking out the facts. If you don’t like something, write the politicians. Do people write letters to the newspaper any more? Don’t forget the internet; after all, you’re on it right now. Start a petition — it’s easy to do that online. Talk to others about what you believe and why. Yes, maybe even march in the streets with signs. Vote. Write blogs. Send emails.
But don’t sit mired in apathy. And don’t censure yourself. It’s your future. If the politicians can take constitutional or human rights away from your mothers and grandmothers — especially those they won a few years ago through their determination — they won’t hesitate to take them away from you. We cannot change things without your help. Do you see how important it is to the future for you as young adults to have more choices not fewer ones?