Mother’s Day that comes in May often gets a lot more emphasis that Father’s Day in June. Depending on your own experience, that might make a lot of sense. But not always. Perhaps if we gave more attention, gave some more healthy love to the men folk in our lives, we would have a very different world.
As I was reflecting on Mother’s Day this year, I prayed for the mothers of the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls. My heart and the hearts of people around the world has been aching for these girls and for their mothers. The actions of Boko Haram have erupted in protests and prayers from people around the world. These responses mirror the outrage and disbelief that many of us had less than two years ago, when members of the Taliban attempted to murder Malala Yousufzai, the young Pakistani girl advocating girls' education.
While we examine the news reports of these horrific actions in Pakistan and Nigeria to thwart the education of girls in those nations, we must also examine the horrific actions within the United States and other nations and cultures around the world. While we rightfully recognize injustice in other people’s yards, we need to be honest about injustice in our own yards as well.
In my home yard, the U.S., while girls are not blocked from getting education, there are so many other ways which the full humanity of girls and women is denied. Women earn 82% of what men earn working in the same jobs. The exploitation of NFL cheerleaders, making less than minimum wage. The mounting state legislation that closes abortion clinics and denies women the right to make their own reproductive choices. The use, cloning, and profit from HeLa cells taken without permission from Henrietta Lacks. The growing industry of the abduction and seduction of young girls as sex workers. Just to name a few.
Let’s face it. All of these actions in our own home, speak as loudly as actions from some men in Nigeria and Pakistan based in a belief that female bodies are only valuable to the extent they make possible pleasure, procreation and profit for men.
Whether men use power to dominate women by kidnap, rape, murder, selling them into slavery, or by legislative acts, there is no substantive difference. These are all bully tactics. Some measures of bullying, domination and control simply look nicer and less messy than others. With some tactics, the hands of the perpetrators are not as noticeably stained with blood. But stained, they still are.
It’s complicated when I reflect on how men can be born from the bodies of women, and then treat female bodies with such disregard, disdain and devaluing. Then it becomes clearer when I remember that people who don’t value themselves often denigrate others in an attempt to feel better about themselves.
My brothers, you are awesome, wonderful, and special! Don’t hate! The awesomeness of women and girls does not diminish the awesomeness of men and boys. No way! In fact, the more girls and women have power over our choices for education, wages, reproduction, and so on, the more we can help you achieve your best. And the more you limit us, the greater the limitations there are on your own lives.
Women and men, girls and boys can share in the abundance of this world together. There is enough for all of us. Actually, when we work together and celebrate the unique gifts of women and men, we can make and share in even more abundance.
When you read my blog posts, please send your comments and I will be glad to respond. Peace, CJ