Tuesday, May 27, 2014

#YesAllWomen Deserve to be Unashamed

So, I am definitely late to the game on this one, but I went to see Once a few weeks ago with my friend Elizabeth. I had heard great things about it, it won a Tony, and I love performing arts, so everything added up for it to be a great night.

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I've seen the movie, but I loved the character of "girl" so much more in the musical. I was so struck by her entrance and first few scenes.

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She steps on the stage, so confident in who she is. She sees "guy," playing music, and she likes what she hears, so she asks for more. She does not let his insecurity or a fear of rejection stop her. She knows exactly what she wants: to get "guy" to keep playing music, and she is not afraid to pursue it.

I am afraid I am not enough and that I am too much at the same time. This fear stems from many wounds, many lies, and many deep-set sexist attitudes I've grown up with in the culture.

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If you have looked at social media at all in these last few days, you will have noticed the #YesAllWomen hashtag trending.

This hashtag, this movement, is trying to get at the deep issue that over and over again women are taught to be ashamed of their femininity, of their emotions, and of their desires. It has been amazing to watch it trend and to see men and women reach out to one another over the internet to call to an end all forms of violence and discrimination against women. There are some misguided comments (ie using it as a platform to argue about reproductive rights/birth control), but overall it is about vision, equality, acceptance, and calling others to action.

This tweet struck me the most:

Too often has a situation like this happened to me, and at the time of writing this, at least 3,000 other women.  Situations like this belittle us, and cause us to inch away from who we are. For me, they feed my wounds and make them deeper, resulting in a lack of confidence in myself and my femininity.

What I love about Once, about other movies and novels with women who fight for what they want, is that they are truly unashamed of who they are. These women are comfortable in their own skin, and they leave the lives of everyone they touch around them better. They are not afraid of being "too sensitive," or too much, or not enough. They bring their very being with a force that causes movement or change from those they encounter.

In our real world, we run from this true, beautiful femininity. Yet over and over again in film, literature, the performing arts, and scripture we see the authenticity the friction a confident, strong, sensitive, and truly feminine woman creates when she collides with other people in her world. In Once, it is incredible music that moves everyone who hears it.

When we tell women they are not enough in their appearance and ability to be desired by men, or that they are too much in what they desire, their emotions, and their dreams, we shrink them down a little each time. And soon we are left with a culture of women afraid to embrace who they truly are because others are afraid of how they will have to change if they are challenged to be a better person.

This is not okay. We cannot continue to live in a world of fear that rejects the beauty and value and dignity of woman.

So thank you Once and every person who tweeted, favorited, or retweeted a #YesAllWomen tweet. This fight for equality, safety, and freedom to be unashamed of who we are has just started, and we need to keep speaking out.

As we keep taking small steps towards a world where women can be unashamed of who they are, we will see more authenticity, beauty, and love flower out around us. I want to live in a world where this is a reality, and I will keep speaking out until we get there.

#YesAllWomen deserve to be valued.

#YesAllWomen deserve to be heard.

#YesAllWomen deserve to be unashamed.

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