International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day.

It’s our day. Of course in some parts of the world it is never our day. Women can’t breathe, can’t drive, can’t learn to read, can’t learn to write. Can’t have fun. Can’t just be. For women in countries where even the most obvious is a struggle, I’m sorry. I’m glad I’m not you. I hope for your bad ass emancipation of self. I’ll boycott what I can. I’ll kick start a few bucks when I can. And I know the threat of death of body is a lot more obvious and immediately threatening than threat of soul.
Some how the power to create life has made half the world fearful of our powers. Being penis-free somehow makes us suspect. Is that because our desires are not so readily apparent? Is it something dark and sinister?
Do we still belong to the goddess deep down? Do the men all know that? Do they realize that all their gods are wasted on us? Or most of us? That these days we grow strong women who male identify so much they forsake even themselves?
I don’t have many women friends. I get along better with men. I don’t believe in feminism. I wouldn’t call myself a feminist. Etc. Etc. Etc. I can do what I want no one is oppressing me…
Maybe that’s the weird place we are in now. No one oppressing us and everyone oppressing at the same time.
If we take notice of oppression and sexism then it means we read too much into things. The dominate culture wishes to inform us that all those comments are harmless and that they don’t mean a thing cause they ain’t got that swing of fist with it.
I work at a community college campus and I seem to spot the sexism with infrared glasses that no one else can see.
*I had a student go psycho a couple of weeks ago and threaten me in a classroom. I reported to the higher ups that I didn’t feel safe. I got back a line about ‘if I feel threatened…” um, I didn’t feel threatened, I was threatened. Feelings, you see, belong to women.
*I wanted to do a spoken word event for Women’s History month and was told that we could do a reading on ‘women’s issues’. Um it’s HUMAN ISSUES. It’s about providing a safe space to speak out.
*I was at a meeting where only male pronouns were used to describe the future possible person being sought to fill a position. I would correct and say ‘or she’ since no one else was. Yes. I have become that woman.
*Last semester a sexist reviewed a colleague and decided that since her teaching style wasn’t correct since it wasn’t patriarchal and opened up too much to questions and inclusion.
*Last semester a sexist giving a final after mine in a class barged in fifteen minutes before his time to interrupt my final because he needed to let me know that his important class was about to take place.
*If you have more than two women writers on a book list, at least one male student per semester per class will comment that they cannot relate to women writers or they’ll say something like, “how come there’s so many chicks on the book list.” Women students never complain about all the dead white men on their syllabi and never bring up not being able to relate to male writers.
*They criticize women for being in charge of their own sexuality. They of course is just about everyone on campus, especially those yelling whore and slut at women who are comfortable with their bodies and souls.

This isn’t an exhaustive list. The issue rises daily with the sun, like an erection casting a shadow on the rest of us.
Warning: objects may appear in shadows.
Warning: objects may appear larger.
Warning: objects may be closer than they appear.
And of course there are no Women’s Studies courses on campus, because we’re all equal now. Because to point out the obvious to the deniers is to call into question. Because to complain seems ungrateful.
And of course we have to pretend that women are making real choices on campus instead of admitting to most choices not being choices at all but excessive and conservative social conditioning. Everyone making their lives harder because our Judeo-Christian soundtrack of our lives requires it and only then when we sacrifice ourselves to our jobs, our children, our men are we fulfilled.

Fuck that shit.
NO really. Fuck. That. Shit.
What if instead we were a little more selfish? A little more like men? What if we still shaved but stayed out until dawn, took back the night and shoved it up our desire for fun? I see your pink boa’d girls night out parties, your bunco nights, your red hat ladies, your wearing purple, your sprinkle of CEOs, your gabardine pant suits, your nice lady smiles, your white guilt and I raise you one 50 ft. Queenie. I raise you women artists and scientists who don’t think in the terms you try and define them as.
She’s pretty good for a ________________ . Dirty fill in the blank word. Woman.

What if we all stopped playing the game? What if we gave our daughters role models of women who took the world for themselves instead of women who chauffeured others to their dreams? Now what would that message mean?
Because really. A celebration of women is essentially a celebration of freedom. Freedom from and freedom to.
I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, and all those family things that go with order and sacrifice. But I rise above this station, this destiny that captures so many and holds them underwater until they are emotionless and still. I take my freedom from.
I take my freedom to do as much of what I want to do as possible. I take my freedom two fold because mine means my daughter’s. I take my freedom too because freedom isn’t just peeing standing up.
Happy International Women’s Day. Now go be fierce and don’t apologize.

About Margaret Elysia Garcia

Margaret Elysia Garcia is the author of short story ebook collection Sad Girls and Other Stories, and the audiobook Mary of the Chance Encounters, and the co-founder and lead playwright of Las Pachucas, theatrical troupe. She teaches creative writing and theatre in a California state prison.
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