The Future is Female: Which Female?
As a Black woman I stand on the soil that has been soiled by the blood of my ancestors and people. I think about how movements in time have disregarded the identities of marginalized and oppressed groups. How when man was given the right to vote, Black men were not considered men and put through the rigor at the voting booth. How the feminist movement was riddled with empowerment for female bodies, rights, and resistance, but I would be remiss if I didn’t add that the movement did not move for Women of Color as it did White women. We were rendered invisible, our rights non existent, and still today we fall in extreme margins of representation in professional spaces compared to White women.
Today I read an article that discussed that the future is female. I immediately felt a sense of pride and as instantly as I felt the pride I felt the terror of thinking historically about movements and their exclusion of our rights and bodies. The terror also set in as I reflected on my professional and personal trajectories and think about how White women and other Women of Color have treated me terribly in their need to prove they were powerful or to get “ahead” by leaving me behind. I sat back in my desk chair and thought….which female? The cover of the article reminded me of a superficial pamphlet I see on a college campus or in a company where 50% of the feminine identities on the front of the diversity statement are Women of Color. But the pamphlet doesn’t say a damn thing about how we are treated by the institutions and our alarming pushout/retention rates. Something is missing and we need to talk about it, NOW. We must ask ourselves the difficult questions and answer them honestly. Does the feminine future include women of Color, Transwomen, Women living with disabilities, Plus size women, etc.? I immediately became alarmed, alarmed by the fact that historically my people have fought for their rights to even been seen and treated as human beings.
Some people will read this and think, why are you being so negative, why can’t we just fight side by side for the same goal? My thought hear is, even though our goals are the same and we want the same things, we have to recognize different practices are required in order for us to get there. We can’t fight equally towards the inequities that require different understandings and approaches. If your identities are not like mine, our burdens are not the same kind!
So as we move forward to make the world more inclusive, don’t forget about those of us who were not involved in the default creation of your inclusive environments. Remember to check your bias at the door, when you walk through it, and have a seat at the table where we probably don’t have a presence.
My hope is that as the presence of women rises we take the time to do the following:
- REMEMBER OUR HISTORY AND DO NOT REPEAT IT
- Examine our biases
- Reflect on the impact of said biases
- Create equitable intersectional practices and policies for intersectional feminine identities
- Admit when we are wrong, and then correct the action
Some of you will spit that all lives matter rhetoric, I get it. Every life should matter, but remember, the matter in society in which our lives have been created comes with different requirements for equity and equality. It is made up of different substances of discrimination and oppression, and that doesn’t mean that you don’t have challenges, they are just not like mine! Therefore, it will require different approaches to make our existence equitably recognizable and included.