I was driving home this morning in the rain, blasting Ani Difranco after rediscovering the joy of a CD player in the car, when my eyes began to tear up and I had to pull into a random parking lot. No… okay maybe its partially cause I love her that much. But something else hit me like a rock and I had to pull off to verify my fear. The CD I was listening to? It was made 20 years ago. And her music is still just as raw and relevant today as it was in the early 90’s.
It got me thinking. I was the same age my step-daughter is now when that music came out. We were fighting for our reproductive rights, our right to wear what we want, our right to walk down the streets at night without being accosted and/or blamed for it. Now I admit, I love a worthy fight. But I never thought I would feel as old and useless as I did sitting in my car listening to Ani sing “i am growing older/ waiting in this line/ some of life’s best lessons/ are learned at the worst times”.
Just the other day I read in horror as a young woman proclaimed:
“I don’t know of a single area now where there is a doubt over a woman’s equality to a man… so why the hell is there still a feminist movement at all?! You’re not going to throw me back into the kitchen now! Sure, previously women had to band together to gain equal status – but is there anything left to argue our position on now? I don’t think there is…?”
My politics and my religion are completely interwoven. My identity as a woman and my identity as a pagan are nearly impossible to separate. My faith feeds my desire to fight for true freedom. My gender feeds my desire to carve out a faith that is right for me. Every story I read as a child, every tale of patriarchal-centered religion pushed me one step closer to my calling. I worship and am bound to some of the strongest female figures I have ever encountered in my reading. So it hurts me on multiple levels to think that we have somehow failed our fellow women, cis or trans or other.
I think we need to rediscover what it means to be women and pagans in a patriarchal, white, christian-centric society. I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to surround myself with like-minded individuals. I can have a conversation about feminism and cultural appropriation and no one blinks an eye. I have even gotten to the point where I am semi-sanitizing my Facebook page. But these are the ways we delude ourselves into thinking this is an afternoon tea and not a battlefield. We subdue and sedate our passions, focus on the pretty, the clean, the candles and shiny stones.
But I think our Gods and Goddess’ would rather have bruises and scars as signs of our devotion to our paths than the latest shiny object. I know there are people devoted to prayer and introspection, but how many more of us can take to action and go out and do something about the things we disagree with?
So lets fight. Lets have the awkward conversations that devolve into arguing. Lets get mad, get noisy. Lets teach the next generation what we are fighting for. Lets stand side by side, across race and gender lines, and loudly proclaim that we aren’t going to back down. Lets honor our Gods and Goddess’ and ancestors and spirits by refusing to be silenced or scared away. This isn’t just about one fight or label or one line in the sand. This is about our right to be who we were meant to be, as pagans, as men and/or women.
Next time I hear someone say “whats left to fight for?” I want to know its because we didn’t back down, not because we got drowned out by the opposition.