What History Left Out of Herstory

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In honor of Women’s History Month, I have to out myself.  As an educated mba from one of the best educations in the country, I have been ignorant to the truth of our history as women. Sure, I know the facts… but that is not the same as knowing, or feeling, the reality. What I learned in history class didn’t come close to telling me the truth of what women have endured just in the last century, let alone the last three hundred, or two thousand years. I got the same scrubbed down version of history that you did — unless you were a feminine studies major — straight from the lips of a patriarchal society.  Oh, women couldn’t vote, so there was this suffrage movement and now they can. Oh, there was this thing called Roe vs Wade that made abortion legal. Oh, women were burned at the stake during this thing called the Inquisition. And yes, there was this other thing called the Feminist Movement that created equal rights. None of those were more than a few pages in any of my history books, how about yours?

And my female relatives growing up didn’t make me any wiser about the reality either. They came from the school of “that’s just how things were,” not the “you need to know these historical realities as a woman because we never want to forget where we come from, and what has been given by the women before us.” They didn’t make it part of their job as women to pass down the stories of women from generation to generation… and that is a big loss. One that I know after this weekend, I will not repeat.

This weekend — at the age of 39 — I finally got WISE! Sitting with 500 women in a hotel ballroom in Los Angeles at the Sister Giant conference, I tapped into and felt in my cells our lineage as women and I felt my heart ache, my eyes well up with tears, and my courage lift as I watched three movies that put me in awe at the bravery and hardships of what generations of women before me have faced.

I say ‘tapped into’ because as I sat there in that room, it wasn’t just
the 500 women that were there, it was also the 500 generations of women that
have lived before invisibly sitting in the seats. While I couldn’t see them with my eyes,
I felt them with every fiber of my being. I say ‘felt in my cells’
because I experienced the facts that used to sit in my head about women’s rights,
witch burnings, transform themselves from ideas to human realities.
When you see a woman being forced fed with the use of a tube up her
nose and a metal device being shoved in her mouth to part her lips and make her eat, suddenly the facts become about a person, they become very human, and your heart receives a message it’s not likely to forget — nor should it.

I let myself be affected this weekend by these films — something that I am not sure we always do. Our hearts are so closed off in our society, going about our busy busy lives. But to be affected is truly an act of love, both for the self, and for others.

If you are a woman, see these films, and if you know young women watch these with her, tell her this same history.  We are visual beings… and I Imagine the world would be much different if we sat and watched movies like this together vs. chatted mindlessly about the problems of the Housewives of Orange County.

Iron Jawed Angels
You can vote, you know that. But did you know that women were arrested, beaten, forced fed with tubes up their noses and tortured with the use of iron jaws to open their mouths and force them to eat when they called a hunger strike? Hilary Swank and Angelica Houston rock in this movie that made me cry, cringe and shout with joy.
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The Burning Times
Witch burnings.png
It’s estimated between 1million and 9 million people were burned, tortured and killed during the Inquisition — 85% of them women — in an effort to stamp out the goddess and pagan traditions and replace them with the controlling patriarchal structures. You can watch this 20 minute movie on You Tube.

 

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

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You might have heard the prophecy that it will be women that change the
world. You’ve most likely heard that the fierceness of a mother
protecting her child is like no other. These women of Liberia prove
them both. They stopped a war torn country from fighting because they
said “ENOUGH! No more war. We want peace.” If women with ‘no money’ can
stop a country from killing each other, what the heck are we capable
of?”

I am on board for educating myself as much as I can. If you have other movies or books or DVDs that you think every woman should see, please post it on our Madly in love with ME facebook page. Understanding our history as women is part of accepting and loving who we are. I know I gained great perspective from these films… it’s a lot easier for me to love myself and be compassionate when I consider I’ve never had a feeding tube forcibly stuck up my nose while being detained in a jail against bogus charges.

 

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