My girlfriends and I have been discussing what feminism means to us. We talked about our gratitude for the women who came before us, the ones who got us the right to vote and who fought for equal pay.
We talked about the work still to be done, such as actually getting equal pay, and about attitudes. And then someone said that we need to respect each other, and ourselves. Now, why is this a feminist issue?
Simone de Beauviour put her finger on it half a century ago when she pointed out that women have never been one coherent group. For instance, there were plenty of women campaigning against the vote for women.
Strange as it might seem today. We’ve never been a united band of sisters, or a single voice on any issue, even since feminism became something we talked about.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that women should always agree. I think that different opinions are important, and help us grow and develop as people and as communities.
But respect ought to be something we all agree on.
So I’ve got a really outrageous idea: Let’s just do it. Why don’t we all just start respecting each other? And ourselves? Women, men, children and adults. Respecting everybody, including ourselves, might be just the thing to bring about some real changes in this world.
Respect means setting, and respecting, boundaries.
So if I say that’s enough, then it’s enough. Or if you say no, then it’s no. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter if it’s about a piece of cake, working hours or sex – a boundary is a boundary. Can you imagine a world like that?
Suddenly, we would see each other, really see each other.
We would help and support each other, and we wouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. We’d talk calmly about our values and ideals, assured in the knowledge that our views would be respected. We’d share and we’d give and take freely.
Gone would be resentment, passive aggression, bitterness and hopelessness.
Respect is the key to good living, to happy people and communities. We’d all get our needs met, and we’d come together in new forms of cooperation. I can see it all so clearly.
So while I’m dreaming about a new world were we’re all respecting each other, I’m starting with my own little world. Realistic stuff that I can achieve today, that I can work on this week.
Like setting appropriate boundaries, loving myself as well as those around me. Talking this over with my girlfriends, we agreed that this is the way forward, and we’re going to do it.
I can see the same sentiment in the Cycle Harmony community. These are communities where individuals matter, where our choices affect others in a positive way.
We endeavour to think positive thoughts, say positive words and do positive things.
We support each other, and see each other.
We love one another.
Having made these changes in my own world, I’m excited to see things materialise and develop day by day. Suddenly we’re a tribe.
We don’t have a leader, so I can’t tell you where we’re going. But we’re doing it, bit by bit.