All (American) Women

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Raised by Republicans, I was no Red Diaper Baby Feminist nor, having grown up in the complacent suburbs of the 50s, can claim an early awareness of social injustice. And yet from an early age—at least this is how I remember it—I knew that being a woman  mattered. I can remember in junior high, maybe at UU Sunday school, discussing a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt or Eisenhower or . . . to the effect that American women were this country’s greatest untapped resource and, being eleven or twelve, thinking, “Yup! True. And when I get old enough, I’ll be a part of the tapping. I’ll be a part of Something Amazing!”

And I am. Although It’s taken way, way longer than I’d imagined when in junior high. And at that age and easeful time of my life, how could I have possibly imagined the power, the rage, the unspeakable cruelty of sexism? (Writing this, I realize that that the young, cosseted, idealistic eleven-year-old me still lives and breathes, sometimes. She’s the me so bewildered by horrific headlines: “How can this* be?”)

I see this Something Amazing every day: in the paradigm-shifting work of Michelle Alexander and Mothers Out Front, in the voices of Elizabeth Warren**, Rachel Maddow, Annie Hoffman, my yoga teacher, my strong, realized granddaughters.

And I see it in the faces, the smiles and nods of the women I pass by everyday, women from all over the world, women of all ages and ethnicities and classes and sexual persuasions, women in flowing robes and tight jeans and Birkenstocks. Not everyone, of course. But—and this may be Just Me—I see Sisterhood. I see silent acknowledgement of “Yup.”, a female version of a secret handshake.

Yup.

* For example

** This link’s worth watching on SO many levels, particularly the “Looking great!” comment. Really? You went there? “How can this be?”

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2 Comments

  1. Dear Patricia,
    Hi, there, Patricia! What beautiful and so, so very true words in which you have written in this full of wisdom and spectacularly filled with the Spirit blog post article! I think of words which you use that I love, too, when you say, “Praise Be,” and “Praise Spirit.” Our Jesus surely lets us know as women that we are beloved, special, and equal in Jesus’ Eyes and Heart despite the vicious and pervasive sexism which is still virulent to this day even in 2014. I loved reading about your earlier years and how you have learned and awakened as you have gone through your journey in life to see how sexism has and continues to impact you and other women and girls! I love so reading about your journey and your process in this and other great blog post articles of yours, and in your very fantastic book! I will have to buy your other books as well-I will have to be sure to save up the money and get those other very fine and excellent and progressive books of yours as soon as possible. I am so, so very filled with eager anticipation until I buy those other ones also!

    As a black woman and lesbian who I am, I think in my opinion that even with how bad and vicious racism is and can be, and has been in the past and will continue to be in my experiences and in the lives of other black/African-American people and other women and people of color, I truly think that the vile and evil of sexism is not less than racism. I can see in my heart and mind how all of us as women and girls together of all backgrounds, classes, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and races face our common denominator of being abused and harassed by pernicious sexism. I can see how many men and boys from all backgrounds, classes, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and races can be downright sexist and oppress us often as we are as all women and girls. How very true this is and what you have so graciously written and shared, Patricia!

    I so love the title of your great article, “All (American) Women.” It is so lovingly and generously titled, and it is so right on in being inclusive of all of us as women. I so love all of your writings and your Spirit-filled writings, Patricia! I can feel our Jesus and the Love of Jesus coming through in your very heart-felt writings! As a sister Christian woman like you are, I can feel the Sweet, Loving, Powerful, and Inspiring Spirit coming through in your very bright and shining words!

    I thank-you so, so very much for the gift and the blessing you are with your empowering and inspiring words! I feel so uplifted now in my day because of you and your marvelous words of the Spirit! Like you, I, too, say, “Praise Be! Praise Spirit!” You please have a very nice, special, and a very blessed day, Patricia!

    Very Sincerely Always,
    Sherry Gordon

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