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global feminism for my 13-year-old self

Annie Lennox started an NGO, The Circle, to help people understand, and start using, the term “global feminism’. The org’s mission is “To inspire and connect women – create an environment where women can come together: to share experiences, harness their skills, draw on their resources, influence and bring about lasting change. Ultimately to support some of the most disempowered women and girls in the world as they challenge the injustice of inequality.”

Here’s a link to an article she wrote for The Independent “On International Day of the Girl, this is why we should all be global feminists”  https://ind.pn/2EjZ5I4

You can participate by taking a photo of yourself, holding a sign with your response to: #onereasonwhyIamaglobalfeminist

Here’s mine:

Because even as a girl, I knew that it was my parents’ money caring for the basic health of my female body, not my country’s policies and laws.

I didn’t always act on this. Or act out of it, the unacceptable truth of it. More often that not, I’ve been caught up in the details of the day-to-day, absorbed in my insecurities about things that don’t matter, letting what I cannot control get to me, instead of doing more of what I indeed -can -do. What I know is right.

One reason I am a global feminist now is because it has to be about all of us. The indignities and insults of my childhood in suburban New York seemed like dumb complaints back then, and I kept my mouth shut most of the time. But since it was money, not respect, keeping me healthy, I knew that, outside the glass dome I imagined insulated the wealthy town I grew up in, other girls and women were dealing with much worse. Why should I be covered and not them? Why should any of us not have healthcare for the basic realities of having a female body?

By basic realities, I mean female bodies menstruate, have sex, get pregnant, breastfeed, give birth, and go through menopause —our experience of some or all of these will vary and some of us don’t go through all of these, or want to, or agree with how I’m framing this, but we, everyone, should be able to have these experiences on our own individual terms. What should our public services provide in order to support the range of female body experiences? The healthcare required to maintain a quality of life that includes these activities as normal.

One of my earliest memories of my female body as other (outside normal healthcare) was when I was 13, and, with a sketchy understanding the workings of my menstrual cycle or ovulation, I resolved never to get pregnant one second before I thought I was ready. I hadn’t even had my first period yet (months away), and I wasn’t having sex (though I did have a boyfriend break up with me for not having sex with him by then) and clearly, I didn’t know that I hadn’t crossed the threshold into the phase of my life where managing pregnancy would be an essential determinant of the quality of my life.

I didn’t discuss this with anyone. I figured I was supposed to handle it on my own. As if the male non-menstruating, etc. bodylife was the norm, and we shouldn’t bother anyone about all the other female stuff we experience.

I didn’t even ask the women in my life about how they managed, much less cared for and enjoyed, their female bodies.

Why should any of us not have the information and healthcare for the basic realities of having a female body?

Check out #onereasonwhyIamaglobalfeminist and @officialannielennox on Instagram.

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