Speak Up, Hashtag & Wield YOUR Power

| by Katie Morris, Co-Founder of SpeakYourStory |

I recently started watching a period drama about the lives of 4 women code-breakers from WWII. It’s 1952 and these war-winning women are bound to silence and completely marginalized in the post-war world.

These four women are heroes, yet sidelined and patronized. They are patted on the head and ignored.

These brilliant women are stuck performing roles of middle-class house-wife, spinster, the sexually-harassed single waitress, and the abused wife.

There are other women in the story, those who go out walking at night by themselves. These women are kidnapped, raped, and killed.

According to society in 1952, these “other women” are asking for it. They deserved it. There’s nothing “good people” can do.

I watched all of these women – the heroes, the victims, the marginalized and ignored – and my spirit cried out for justice for them all.

Because they are me. I AM because of them. It is inescapable – I see myself in all of them, and often imagine me as stuck and silently screaming to be heard.

ME – Katie – headstrong; quick to aggression but even quicker to love; heart on my sleeve; demanding; sensitive. A warrior. Sometimes too loud, almost always too animated.

I would have been POOR.

UNMARRIED.

FIGHTING HARASSMENT.

DYING to be seen and heard for who and what I was.

I would have been RAPED.

SILENCED.

BUT I WOULD HAVE FOUGHT.

I would have fought with the unwavering spirit of a warrior.

I think about these women who came before and so wish I could re-write the story for them. I want to give them life with THE WAYS THINGS SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALL ALONG.

But the reality is, things STILL aren’t as they should have been all along. We are STILL fighting these outdated assumptions, roles and narratives. Men still abuse and silence us. Bosses still harass us. We are still expected to be sexy, attractive and CHASTE.

We don’t yet live in a world where physical and sexual violence against women is a distant memory. It isn’t even widely acknowledged as a devastating piece of our society. We are still expected to prove ourselves in ways men will never be asked to. Marriage and children still define a woman’s worth. Adventures are still for those “other women.” The women who walk alone at night.

I cannot sit by silently in this world where at least I now have a voice. So many of my foremothers and foresisters lived in isolating silence, but not me. I can speak up and hashtag and wield the kind of power they only dreamed of. And I MUST use it to honor them.

And so this week I will use that power to not buy a single thing for ONE day. Because not only do I have a powerful voice, but I have a powerful purse. I use my financial power every day when I buy lunch with a co-worker, pick up wine on the way home, order books on Amazon and go to the movies.

And this week, I will use my financial power to show the world my WORTH.

I will use my financial power to pay tribute to the women who came before. I am those women. We are the same, existing in different eras.

And I REFUSE to buy the silencing, marginalizing, abusing, ignoring for one more day.

Please stand and shout with me that you are #NotBuyingAnyOfIt!

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