Friday, March 7, 2014

A Declaration of Independence

(written with a few liberties)

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for me--as a woman--to dissolve myself from your expectations, World, I assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal foundation to which the laws of nature entitle me.

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain non-negotiable Rights, that among these are
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

But I am not Liberated in my womanhood, there is little freedom here.
And I am not often Happy, either. I am tired.

I am plundered by your demands, World.
Of all the things I am expected to be:
Sweet.
Pretty.
Thin.
Innocent.
Virginal.
Quiet.
Submissive.
Even.
Calm.
Kind.
Mothering.
Gentle.
Follower.
Listener.
Sexy.
Bikini-ready.

Not too emotional.
Not too "hormonal."
Not too crazy.
Not too masculine.
Not too slutty.
Not too competitive.
Not too needy.
Not too successful.
Not too demanding.
Not too old.

And how dare you attack me with things like:
Diets.
And low-fat.
And low-carb.
And sugar-free.
And eating disorders.
And Spanx.
And control-top panty hose.
And high heels.
And push-up bras.
And plastic surgery.
And Photoshop.
And make-up.
And hair extensions.
And false eye lashes.
And tanning beds.
And tight clothes.
And women who tell other women that this is what it means to be a woman.
And street harassment.
And sexual abuse.
And domestic violence.
And rape.
And rape jokes.
And female genital mutilation.
And child brides.
And sex trafficking.
And men who tell other men that this is how you should treat women.
And.
The.
List.
Goes.
On.


So, this is me telling you, I quit. 
I'm done. 


I want my soul back.


I'm not letting go of being a woman. I am letting go of what you think a woman should be.

Because all-in-all, I think I would like being a woman, free of your demands. I'll keep my lady-parts, I'm fine with the body I was born into. But when a long train of abuses and trespasses attempt to reduce me under absolute tyranny, it is my right--it is my duty--to throw off such customs, and to be fully free.

So, call me a traitor to my gender.
Or tradition.
Or culture.

But I'm going to walk forward and look you in the eyes.
I'm going to tell you how I feel.
I'm going to fight for what is right.
I'm going to lift that heavy box. Yes, all by myself!
I'm going to work out and I'm not going to apologize for being stronger than you.
I'm going to take another helping of cheesecake.
I'm going to cry.
And I'm going to get angry.
Because both are available to me.
And I'm not going to laugh at your sexist joke.
I'm not going to apologize for my size, whatever size that may be.
I'm not going to wear make-up everyday.
Or teeter-tottering stilettos.
But if I do, I'm not going to do it because you want me to.
I'm going to do it because I want to.
And I'm going to pretend that the World sees me this way too, because if I don't, I will simply shrivel from the weight of it all.

This Declaration of Independence is not about being anti-"feminine", it's about being pro-wholeness. Painting a larger picture of what it means to be human. Of what it means to be a woman. And--to be fair--I recognize that I am an incredibly privileged, white woman who has the luxury of typing out such a Declaration. And I do so, in part, for those woman who cannot.

So, I, by the authority of the good people of planet Earth, solemnly publish and declare, that I am, and of right ought to be a free and independent person, that I am vindicated from all allegiance to whatever gripes you may have and that all connection between me and your "ideal version" of me, is and ought to be totally dissolved. I have full power of identity. So, for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on all things good, I pledge to the World and to myself, that I am free.



Signed,

Heather Rose Bohlender





2 comments:

kristaturner said...

yes. just yes.

Mindy said...

Hear, Hear!