Rewriting Women into our World
Sisters, tell me if you remember this moment, because it has happened to us all. The moment when someone, man or woman, implies that you know nothing about society’s issues because your ideas are not bound in hard-cover or referenced in a doctoral thesis. Never mind the children you have bore, the abuse you have absorbed, the culture you embody at your very core. Your experience is invalid because it is not taught in university courses or backed by development theory.
At some point, women’s voices were weaved out of society’s fabric and stripped naked of all authority. And while we may fight to work them back into our modern-day structures of academia, legislation, and health care, we always seem to come out two steps behind. The fact is that the modern patriarchal systems within which we live were not built to hold the weight of our many realities. So our experiences are continually disregarded, forgotten, misinterpreted, and silenced.
I want our histories to be told. Unedited, unverified, unsanitized truths. This is how we learn about gender. This is how we teach our daughters about womanhood and our sons about manhood. This is how we restore balance to our families, our churches, our schools. And while I know that the internet exists within the same one-sided power structures as our communities, while I know that Web 2.0 opens doors for pedophilia, racism, and oppression, I also recognize the opportunity that it presents to our muted lives. I believe that Web 2.0 will allow us to rewrite women into our world.
Interactive media is especially powerful as a story-telling medium because of its complete freedom of subjectivity and individuality. Through blogs, web-videos, social media sites, and interactive groups, each one of us can creatively represent a reality that is unique to us through an artistic medium that is available to us. We can share the written, sung, animated histories of not only our womanness but also of the multiple identities that exist within it: diverse abilities, races, religions, sexualities, all of the elements of our essence that are intertwined with our gender. Online, we are free to speak the detailed, angry, weeping, love-filled truths of our world that have been ignored for far too long.
What I feel is presented before me is an opportunity to document feminism in a way that it has never been understood before. Unlike politics and academia, Web 2.0 has given me room to express myself as a whole person with a complex personal narrative. By telling my story the way I want it to be told, I am peacefully rejecting society’s homogenous understanding of “woman”, and developing alternative accessible avenues for our girls to learn about feminism.
Sisters, let’s use this space to re-inject our voices into the forums of education, religion, popular culture, and civic society. For the love of the generation of women to come, let’s begin to create an archive of real, unapologetic, honest female representations.