I attended a rally and march. This isn’t my *usual* kind of march. This one is about women taking back the night, their streets, their dignity, strength and safety. It’s against violence, rapes, killing of women – and children.
It started off with many people in attendance at Dundas Square. There was laughing and dancing and music on stage… speakers, drummers. All very pleasant. It was the 30th year for this march. At eight pm we prepared to march the streets of Toronto. OUR streets. The woman on stage announced the beginning of the march by telling the men that we all thanked them…those who had turned out to support the women in their lives. It was appreciated, but it was time to take to the streets… she said,
“it’s for women and children only… and Men? WE’VE GOT THIS!”
It was by far the loudest march I’ve been on this year. It was rather something!! We had people directing us, but a very small show of police (compared to all year at other marches). It was a huge crowd and it was loud, angry, strong, confident and did I mention, huge? The line of people marching, at times, covered three roads. As we turned a corner to a new street you could look behind and see that the *snake* of people were on the street you were leaving and still turning from the street behind that.
I took a moment and looked at the women around me. All that strength and love. I felt the unity, empowering and joining us. We were as one. And I felt sad. I felt sad that these people all felt so safe, but tomorrow when they ventured out of their homes – they would not have 200 or so sisters beside them, protecting them – not even in theory. I felt sad that women often go against one another. What would the world be like if we all stood as one, everyday? Not just on a special occasion? If we weren’t all suspicious of one another, pitted against one another. If we realized we are all humans… and as women, loving and strong and very compassionate. It saddened me because it gave a false sense of security – these women were no safer in their day to day lives… and they won’t be – so long as there isn’t a change that involves everyone. It took years and years for people to develop these misconceptions and beliefs, it won’t change overnight.
What if one day we all realized that society pits women against one another. … that women are objectified in every magazine, in commercials… pictures of this piece of a woman’s anatomy to sell this product, or that bit of a woman to sell another? Making women seem to be bits and pieces, rather than a whole… What if we realized that the media tells us to be thin, in words and in pictures… and being as thin as *they* want us, makes us weak. It makes us physically weak, and unhealthy. Unable to have children or proper monthly cycles, or confidence or able to fight back against a patriarchal society. What if we did stop listening to them and fought back? The backlash would be incredible..they don’t want to give up their perceived power. What if we realized that a woman is not a sum of their size alone, that we are actually humans. Does anyone remember that women are meant to have curves as they bring life into the world and their bodies need food as fuel to live and to give life. Do men have the same opinion of their bodies that women have? No… men think a beer belly is just wonderful and they parade it around – they are often proud of it, announcing to the world at large that it’s *all bought and paid for*, but as soon as a woman does this… people make comments, they snicker under their breath. It’s a form of control and it affects us all. Women aren’t the only ones that lose when they believe they must be thin to be loved.
Do women know that at one time women were considered very attractive when they were curvy? Rubenesque… like the artist (Peter Paul Rubens) that painted women as they were meant to be, and they were very popular!
Do people realize or know that at one time women were the head of each household? That they were revered? Adored? That women ran the house while men hunted and gathered? Women were considered goddesses… and loved. Held high, with love. Appreciated for their real worth and for being the bringers of life – as gods do.
We touched many lives on that night of the march… but did we touch enough? Did others look around and see the strength, the courage to tell a story, to fight, to live a life even though you were victimized? To be survivors? To invite other women to fight beside them, as friends, as someone worthy of a dignified, healthy life?
Wouldn’t it be incredible if we never needed a 31st year of this march?