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The Feminists Will Never Be Satisfied.

I originally wrote this for a Women’s History class a few years ago. It is written as a spoken word piece. In light of the recent blow to women's health care and choice with the Stupak Amendment I decided to go find it and post it as a sort of rally cry.

The Feminists Will Never Be Satisfied.

The other day someone said “those feminists will never be satisfied”. And I thought …“you’re right”.

As much as I would like to nod my head and say "thank you" for all the rights that I have, and as much as I would like to smile, just be pretty and clap my hands,

I know that the freedoms I enjoy today were taken- radically- by the foremothers before me.

Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Sarah Winnemucca, Frances Harper, Ida B. Wells, Mary Kenney, Carey Thomas, Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony.

Each of these women fought with their minds, words, and bodies for people's sovereignty.

They weren’t satisfied with the prescription of what it meant to be a woman. Black women on their back, in the house- not their own house- and domesticated. Brown women invisible, killed off, bred out and assimilated. White women, quiet with no voice or opinion, their words negated.

No. They were not satisfied.

This country was built on the backs of women and born from between their thighs. Yet they had to wait for over 150 before they even had basic citizen’s rights.

And they weren’t given it. They took it. Because they were not satisfied.

As nice as it would be for me to nod my head and say “thank you” for all of the rights that I have, and as much as I would like to smile, just be pretty and clap my hands,

I know that rights I enjoy today were not taken easily.

Rosa Parks, Margaret Mead, Gloria Anzaldua, Angela Davis Audre Lourde, Fannie Lou Hamer, bell hooks, Dolores Huerta, Aice Walker, Mary Daly.

These women have changed the United States dramatically.

The un-satisfaction of these women is why we are all free to sit in this room together, and it is out of respect for these women and the sacrifices they made, the voices they projected, the bodies they exhausted, the tears they shed, the hands they held, the breathes they took and gave that I call myself a feminist.

See, it’s a respect thing.

Because I realize that it is not something god given that I walk down these streets freely.

I do not believe in grace or chance or luck or wishing. I believe in talking and shouting, in standing up by your sister, in voting, in being seen and heard, in not being a passive by-stander, in letting people have choices, in writing, and protesting, in projecting and in being… un-satisfied.

Because it is not complacency that will give my daughter freedom, and it is not apathy that will give me rule over my own body, and it is not melancholy that will make my mother proud.

And no, we will not be satisfied.

So complacent, apathetic and melancholy is not what I will be, because I am afraid of the continuity.

Women still make less than men for the same job, gender roles still exist, rape is still one of the hardest crimes to prosecute, girls are still getting their clitorises cut off, sexual harassment is still rampant and our government is at war with women’s bodies.

So as much as I would like to nod and say “thank you” for all of the rights I have, as much as I would like to smile, just be pretty and clap my hands-

Instead I stand beside the women of today: Adrienne Rich, Jee Yeun Lee, Jennifer Baumgardner, Amy Richards, Kathleen Hanna, Rebecca Walker, Catherine Orenstein, Naomi Klein and all the others that say “I will not be satisfied”.

Because satisfaction did not get us here, and we are not turning back.

Comments

jap21's picture

Thank you for reminding me

It is not that we don't know, it is just that sometimes we forget.

Even though there is a ten percent I don't agree with, the other ninety percent is more than enough to say thanks, to you and to all the women you mention.

And yes, I am with you. I will go as far as I need to. I may be a weird kind of feminist, but I know that I owe these women. And I owe you for reminding me.

All my respect,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

kelsperry's picture

Great piece

This is wonderful! Very well put. I love this part:
"This country was built on the backs of women and born from between their thighs. Yet they had to wait for over 150 before they even had basic citizen’s rights."

In one of my classes the other day (the "international political economy of women," a poli sci class) we were talking about how many countries denied women their rights based on the fact that they didn't make "blood sacrifice" for the nation. We were all flabbergasted at that, given the fact that thousands and thousands of women have died painful, bloody deaths bringing children into the world. The type of pain that soldiers never suffer. Not to diminish their pain at all-- but honestly, to say women don't make blood sacrifice is just completely ignorant. And even if we don't die in childbirth, I'd say that blood shed for a week of every month for 2/3s of our lives, often accompanied by pain, then followed by the sacrifice of 9 months carrying children followed by an excruciating ordeal where we bring life into the world.... I just wish we could appreciate these sacrifices for what they're worth. Our professor made the interesting point that all over the world we have monuments built to our soldiers that have given their lives on the battle fields, but nowhere have we ever built a monument or given honor to the women who give their lives behind closed doors, dying in great agony, out of love for their nation, family, children, and unborn child.

Fewf. Needless to say, I loved your piece.

Kelsey

Nusrat Ara's picture

Wonderful. I join my voice

Wonderful. I join my voice with Jackie in saying. It is not that we don't know, it is just that sometimes we forget. Thanks for reminding me.

Regards

Nusrat

JaniceW's picture

We will not be satisfied

We will not be satisfied because women today are featured in only 10% of reported stories worldwide, own just 1% of the world’s financial assets, earn only 10% of the world’s income YET perform 2/3 of the world’s work.

No, we will not be satisfied!

p.s. Sorry for not being in touch recently but have enjoyed reading all your posts.

noblessh's picture

This was wonderful.

Thank you for posting this!

We all need reminders sometimes that it is 'okay' to not be satisfied. If we were, the world would never change for the better. We have made a lot of gains, which I am very thankful for, but as noted in the post above, we have a long way to go in so many aspects of life!

This part especially resonates with me: "Because it is not complacency that will give my daughter freedom, and it is not apathy that will give me rule over my own body, and it is not melancholy that will make my mother proud."

The world is always changing and if we are not vocal about our rights, then they can easily be taken away.

So, thanks again and take care!

Shannon

Shannon Nobles

"The question isn't who's going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." - Ayn Rand

efe's picture

deep thoughts

it is so easy to be complacant out of fatigue or inorder not to be viewed as agressive but every once in a while people like you stir the embers. welll done

marietta64's picture

hi

a nice piece...

Sophie's picture

Its not enough!

Thanks for this piece, very true that its not enough and we have to keep going at it, the piece meal rights should not make us sit back but keep going, coz we are FULL CITIZENS OF THIS WORLD and we deserve every right, and since we are so aware it will not be given to us...yeah right, we will never be satsified..until..

Well done.

Sophie Ngugi
Child of the Universe -www.sophiengugi.blogspot.com

Annalisarlee's picture

it's a respect thing...

I loved that part ^, it reminded me of something I heard a while ago "Acknowledging you're a feminist is an act of gratitude" and it has stayed with me ever since.

Mei Li's picture

adrienne rich!

Adrienne Rich! Ah! i'm so happy someone else is reading her/has read her/is standing beside her still. I'm in the middle of reading On Secrets, Silence and Lying - or perhaps it's called something different. Motherhood in Bondage, the Lesbian in Us and Mother-Right, Father-Right are A-MAZING.

I just read your message, email would be fantastic too. We'll connect :)

And I loved your photos of India.

"...our compassion is the practice of unconditioning." Jakusho Kwong Roshi

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