It hit me this morning. I was in Target, looking for boy’s pants amongst the brown and greys and olive greens, clothes for working, clothes that mean business, when I passed the girl’s section with it’s bright colors, frills and lots and lots of pink clothes for twirling and looking cute and pretty. And suddenly I realized why I was so very uncomfortable with this weekend’s Women’s marches around the country.
It was the pink. All that pink. All those pink pussy hats. The pink pussy hat that puts you into one very big compartment as a girl. You see, I’m not a girl. I don’t wear pink. I wear leather. And boots. And I’ll kick your ass. And the fact is, I don’t want you to recognize me as a woman. I do not want to be compartmentalized into a pink pussy hat wearing girl. How dare you! How dare you tell me that I have to wear a pink hat and make a cute and clever sign with twirly writing and glitter that my husband will put on Instagram because I’m so good for standing up for the ovaries that bore our children. I am not a woman. I am a person. A successful, hard-working, proud person. That’s what I want you to see me as. Screw your gender stereotypes. We should ALL be marching together for equal rights, for everyone. This should have been a protest against the threat to ALL of our freedoms. We should ALL have united to form a clear and unequivocal front. Not more divisions. Can’t you see we’ve fallen for Donald Trump’s trap? We have allowed him to compartmentalize us. We are allowing him to discriminate by separating ourselves. I am appalled that Donald Trump is our president. I think it is one of the most bizarre twists of fate to ever befall us and I am very afraid of the consequences his rhetoric will have on the freedom and benefits of each and every person. And that’s exactly why I am so opposed to the concept of a women’s march. I don’t want to be apart. Because this is the life I live every single day. In my leather boots in my office in my business in my life. In my life that matters every day as I show my three children, a teenage girl and two younger boys, that being a good, honest person is imperative and that caring about EVERYONE around you is the greatest impact you can have on this earth. And I don’t have to wear pink to recognize that.
Today is the day. I spent the weekend scrubbing the house of added sugar in some kind of ritualistic fervor. Went to the grocery store and smugly told the lady sampling sausages that we couldn’t buy them because they had more than 5 ingredients, one of which was sugar. I’ve read the www.iquitsugar.com website over and over for tips and tricks. My recipes are lined up and fully stocked. I’m drinking a Bulletproof Coffee while I write this, which, although not on Sarah Wilson’s program, was approved by a nice lady on the program’s community chat board.
Now I’m just waiting for the magic to happen.
Yep, still waiting.
I am white. I was 16 when I became a member of the ANC Youth League. My friend Tanya and I joined, meeting in the basement of a church in Tamboerskloof, Cape Town. Of course the ANC was banned in those days, so we were told to say we were attending church youth group meetings. I became the president of a group called Pupils United For Peace And Awareness and managed to get Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica (now our National Anthem) inserted into our school hymn books, which prompted a visit from the security police to our headmaster. When the ANC was unbanned I became a card-carrying member. I jostled outside City Hall with the celebratory masses when Mandela was released.
My Mother and Grandmother are white. I remember going to a Black Sash meeting with my Mom and Gran. You know the Black Sash, right? Still in existence today, it started as a non-violent white women’s resistance organization peacefully organizing protests against apartheid. One night we had to hoist my Gran out of a church hall window as the police raided the meeting through the front door.
Willie Hofmeyer is white. He was under house arrest at the time I met him, but he’d often defy his arrest and meetings in houses and churches always had this underlying tension that the police would come. You know Willie Hofmeyer, right? He’s a white man who fought for freedom, democracy and equality in South Africa? Hofmeyr was elected to the ANC national list as a Member of Parliament in 1994.
Helen Suzman was white. Suzman stood as the sole parliamentarian opposed to apartheid for 13 years. Harassed by the police, her phone tapped, she would blow a whistle into the receiver to deafen her spies. As a young child I admired Helen Suzman so much. She gave me faith that it was ok for me, a white, Jewish South African kid, to stand up for what you believe in.
Ruth Hayman, South Africa’s first female attorney and an anti-apartheid campaigner, was white.
Ray Simons was white. She was instrumental in founding the Federation of South African Women and was their first national secretary.
Joe Slovo. Ruth First. Harry Schwarz. James Kantor. Harry Wolpe. Helen Zille. Alan Paton. White. There is no end to this list.
Rachel Dolezal, is white. Not black. She is a white woman. What an impeccable irony. That this women who works in civil rights is not ok with the color of her skin. What a sad indication that we live in a world where sometimes it’s not ok to be the color you are.
I look back at scores of white South African civil rights activists and I am so grateful for their fight. For allowing me to know that it’s ok to be white, and that the willingness to fight for what is right is not dictated by color, it’s defined by what you believe in. Rachel Dolezal’s parody of a black woman negates the powerful work done by white civil rights activists everywhere. Here she had the chance to change the world, to inspire generations of white youth to stand up for civil rights. But no, the message she chose to send is that it’s not ok to be white. That being black is a far better choice if you’re looking for a career in civil rights. Because who wants a white civil rights leader, right? Rachel Dolezal sends a message that color DOES matter. And isn’t that exactly what she’s fighting against?
So I’m gong to carry on being white. As I always have been. I am going to carry on admiring the leaders who made a change in my birth country, who risked their lives because they were white and fought for what they believed in. I’m going to carry on teaching my white kids that we are all equal. And I’m going to continue living my life with the understanding that I know who I am, I know where I come from and I am so very proud of that.
Was just reminded of the importance of saying you were wrong. It’s so a great message to send to your kids. We are not perfect beings. Showing flaws as a parent help our kids realize that there are more important things in the world to strive for than perfection. And it teaches them that admitting you’re wrong is the right way to respond. Own it.
How interesting that a symbol so poignant to Paris’ visitor is considered vandalism by its residents. Locks on Pont Des Arts are soon to be removed and apparent signs are posted detailing the closure of the bridge to do so. Removal starts tomorrow and I’m glad that we got to see it in person. Bittersweet!
Genius idea from this women run business in Rustenberg, South Africa. Repurpose School Bags takes plastic bags and turns them into backpacks that have a solar charging panel, providing kids with up to 12 hours of light by which to do their homework. Many kids in South Africa walk to school and have no electricity. Absolutely genius solution. What’s more, they distribute the bags by asking people to sponsor them, so in the end, no cost to the kids who really need them.
Great program. Genius idea.
My husband was recently looking for a more manly, huge-mega-never-run-out-size body wash and very excitedly told me that he’d found a huge bottle on Amazon.
This morning I got into the shower only to find this:
He says he didn’t even see that it’s called “Swagger” but at least now I know that he’s got some. Love ya, honey!
Loving the latest campaign on Sevenly – t-shirts that support Girl Up – an organization that raises money to buy bicycles for girls in Malawi so that they can safely attend school.
This weekend I did a little experiment. On Saturday night we went out, and I left my phone in the car. On purpose. Shocking, yes I know. I. Left. It. In. The. Car. I didn’t get to take any Selfies with my friends. I didn’t text anyone. I didn’t take any pics of the ugly sweaters that everyone was wearing. My husband had his phone (he NEVER takes selfies) so I knew the kids could contact us. And my money was in my back pocket with my lipstick. No phone.
On Sunday we took the kids ice skating at The Inn. Super cute, quaint and pretty hilarious. I took a camera. Yup, a little orange camera. And snapped some pics of them. I didn’t check in on Facebook when my hubby went to the loo. I didn’t tag my daughter on Instagram. Because my phone was at home. And my camera doesn’t have wifi. Hah.
I’m not trying to get all saintly here, but there was a mom at a table next to us whose kids were ice skating, and she spent most of the evening bathed in the glow of her iPhone. When the kids came to join her for dinner, they also jumped on their phones. The younger kid peered over their shoulders. I think there might have been a funny cat video involved. Ok, maybe I am getting a little saintly, but I felt sort of knighted. Yes, we all know I’m the Facebook queen, and I’ve always takes about how I love staying in contact with my friends. And yes, I’ll continue to use it. This isn’t something I’m trying to remove. It’s something I’m trying to moderate. It feels kinda nice. Like burning my bra or something. Liberated. Free.
So this week, try it. Even just for one outing. Leave your phone behind. Try it on for size. You might just find it fits 🙂