This is our truth, tell us yours
Earlier today thinking about International Womens Day I tweeted this.
Who do you refuse entry into the class of women too? WoC, trans women, disabled women, sex workers, old women, poor women, migrant women?
— waitingforNov19th (@waitinggirl13) March 8, 2015
It might be described as human nature to seek out those who most resemble us. Groups form around shared factors, interestingly research at MIT in the 40s suggested geography as being one of the most powerful factors in the formation of friendships. Anyone who, like me, has struggled to bond with the parents at the school gate will recognize that. Having given birth within the same arbiatary time period, and living in a school catchment area is seen as a reason to share common interests, to become friends.
My life improved considerable when I decided those completely irrelevant factors were, well, irrelevant. However I know I am an outlier, for most people it is enough someone looks and acts like them. This may not matter, indeed it does not matter when we are talking about friendship groups, it does however matter when we consider whose voices are heard in the media and elsewhere.
The school yard model of friendship seems to infect certain groups, only able to see the issues that affect those like them as mattering. We have middle class feminists talking about the glass ceiling when working class women are queing at food banks, and on the other side of the divide, Fathers for Justice fighting for the right to see their children, and ignoring all the children who suffer abuse at the hands of men. Of course the glass ceiling matters, of course being denied the right to see your children matters. However if you only care about people just like you, is it empathy or is it self interest?
This is not a new way of seeming to care, while in fact only uplifting those who share your oppressions. The parable of the Good Samaritan is one most are familiar with. I have covered it before here. Perhaps International Womens Day could return to its revolutionary roots if we all considered who we classed as neighbours, who we didn’t, and why. A revolution would be underway the moment we said, this person is nothing like me, and for that very reason I will learn what oppression they face and fight to remove it. A revolution would have happened when we considered not who is our neighbour but why some people feel they are not even allowed in the neighbourhood.