Simplicity could never be more complex.
I am tired, sick, or second guessing myself. I am sick, tired of thinking twice before I do something, with the thought “will this seem suggestive?” or “will this bring the kind of attention that will embarrass me?” Of course, like I have countless mentioned, some of these incessant worries are a part of my internal world; but how much of these concerns can be attributed to the world in which I live? I live the reported most democratic, most liberated, most progressive country in the world, and yet I often find myself shackled to the rigid gender roles of the American, Christian society. And it is stifling.
My vision for the world feels, to me, incredibly simple. I want to live as we truly feel we should. I want to live the life I want to live, free of the brain poison of ‘wedding fever’ or ‘biological clocks.’ I want to see my male counterparts free to live beyond the astoundingly and stubbornly inescapable gender role of (aggressive) powerful Man. Oh, what would it be like for a man to have the fluidity that the feminine gender is able to enjoy? This is a question that is frightening bare from the rhetoric of pop culture. We can all argue and scream and strain about the injustices and assumptions we women face; but how often do we sit back and ponder the injustices that boys and men face as well?
I work with young, mostly black, juvenile offenders. These boys are also labeled intellectually impaired, which can be interpreted as low IQ. Or could be interpreted as the most gullible, rigid of the misogynists. These are the young men who fully believe in the words of their role models: conquer, smoke weed, sell drugs, sleep around, laugh at relationships, cars, guns, gangs, diamond jewelry. I had never planned to do my feminist work with males, but doing such has greatly expanded what my goals have become. With girls, I want them to understand that they are so much more than a vagina and breasts. That these things do not define them, but that they cannot be ignored either. I have my work cut out for me with these boys. And believe me, they do not understand that they are more than a penis that should strive to enter any partially willing female nearby. They are the unwitting victims of the male gender role, and perhaps the black male gender role. They are labeled offenders, angry, aggressive, uncontrollable. I feel obligated and on fire with a passion to show them that are special and that they can achieve something, anything more than what has been laid out for them.
What is my vision, let me not digress. Again, simplicity, which is truly maddening in its complexity. I want each baby born to feel free to reach his or her own potential, what that may be. I want to be free of all the preconceived notions of our time. This includes that fear I have discussed, the fear that one cannot change the whole. I will not give this up.
I want to be chosen to be a part of Voices of Our Future because I want to begin a relationship with women all over the globe to explore and attack this dreaded gender role. I want to examine the male gender role, and break down every piece of the puzzle of sexual violence, sexual exploitation, and overall disrespect toward women. I know that, whether I am chosen or not, I have started something within these four weeks, and I will keep moving forward.