Words can often be limiting in describing ideas, philosophy, people, places and things. Judgement can come quickly when we place labels on ourselves or on others, as we attempt to define recognizable markers of who we are and what we stand for or against.
I think feminism is one such word that conquers up all sorts of judgment and it has made me hesitate in calling myself a feminist. My general reasoning is not as a result of what I think, but how others perceive me. Then I concluded what really matters is not I call myself, or how others perceive me necessarily, but what I believe and how my values are reflected in my daily behaviour, this it what truly matters.
In the interview I heard this morning with Chimanda Ngozi Adichie I was struck by how she described herself in relation to what being a feminist meant to her. Her description I realized, is how I have long perceived myself, "as simply being aware."
As someone who lived through the second wave of feminism I'm aware of the changes made, but am still acutely aware of how far we a still have to go joining hands, reaching back into our past and extending forward to a brighter, hopeful future.
Women in the creative field can certainly actualize change through their own vision, shaped by the example of those women who have gone before. We are greatly indebted to them for their awareness, insight and legacy they've passed on to us today on this International Woman' Day and each day forward.
Bread and Rosesby James Oppenheim
As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: “Bread and roses! Bread and roses!”
As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!
As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient song of bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for — but we fight for roses, too!
As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler — ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!