In my seventies now, I remember the joy of celebrating the Roe v Wade decision that US girls and women had the legal right to choose what happened to their bodies. It was no small thing then, to Canadian girls and women, because we all share the traumatizing fact of our past as chattel, that is, the possessions of white men and boys in charge. Corporations had already determined to treat girls and women as bubble heads who wanted nothing more than to look good and be more popular than others. It was very much a case of the water temperature being turned up over time – suddenly, we found ourselves boiling in the murky idea that our body image and looks, our hair and our rumps, were more important than our minds and our spirits, our hearts and our self-determination. That 1973 court decision lessened the impact of profit motivated businesses selling insecurity and self-hatred to girls and women. At least the courts found us intelligent, responsible, and wise enough to decide a fundamental life choice for ourselves.
Now, even corporations are reacting to the court’s decision to reverse R v W; that’s how bad this current court’s decision is. The white supremist view that the ever-creative power of the Universe is white, male, and murderous toward those who haven’t swallowed this vile white supremacy lie has revealed itself in the highest court in the land. And we’re not having it.
Girls and women will not be infantilized – that is, made to believe we are children incapable of making life altering decisions. We are standing for the rights of those alive on the planet today, the amazing people who are resisting religious and legal infantilization efforts. We are powerful. We are well informed. We know how to work together to take down those who continue to believe – despite all evidence to the contrary – that white people should be in charge of the entire world.
Suzanne Methot, an Indigenous researcher, writer, and teacher, is the author of Legacy: Trauma, Story, and Indigenous Healing. While her area of focus is colonization’s ongoing spirit killing effects on the remnant of Indigenous populations in Canada, she is also describing the ruthless belief system motivating colonization – the belief that white men have the right to dominate and subjugate other races and all children and women the world over. The self-hatred this belief system inspires in its targets – indigenous peoples, all people of colour, and girls and women – is so subtly systemic that we miss its mechanisms – education (at home and in schools), and religious beliefs (everywhere). These mechanisms of transmission (conscious and unconscious education and religious beliefs) have been outlined eloquently in Methot’s vitally important study of Indigenous genocide and cultural decimation wherever colonizers set foot.
We need such research-based knowledge now. People shouting at one another adds to the polarization that white supremacists use to achieve their main goal: to divide and conquer. We need to unify now, more than ever, under the banner of our collective humanity, intelligence, compassion, and wisdom. The world’s girls and women hold up half the sky. The world’s girls and women enrich our understanding of science, literature, sustainability, and justice, but only when we have the legalized right to determine our present and future courses of action.
We are on the move now, to take back from patriarchy’s increasingly feeble hands the right to self-determination. We are on the move now, to rediscover the incredible joy of working in communities to secure this right. We are on the move now – all colours, all races, all genders, old, young, rich, poor. We are on the move to disassemble the last vestiges of patriarchal privilege, composting these oppressive approaches to human and greater-than-human life, and nourishing respectful, reciprocal ways of being in the world for the betterment of all.
See you on the streets, metaphoric and actual.
Until next time