She Doesn’t Even Know

[A guest post by Rachel Guillot]

 

“You are settling”, she says,

but she doesn’t know how far I’ve come,

     how far we’ve come

how worn out we are from the fight

     to be seen and heard

How hard the ground was that we dug,

     have been digging,

          are still digging

With implements and wills of iron

Sometimes barely scratching

     the unyielding surface of hardened clay-like dirt

But inspired to keep going

     by just the occasional glimpse of the dark, rich, fertile soil underneath that hints of

     equality

She doesn’t know a world

     where girls are taught to be “sugar and spice and everything nice”

She doesn’t know a world

      where most churches misuse scripture to keep a woman muted and in her place

She doesn’t know a world

     where girls are encouraged to develop secretarial and housekeeping skills

     you know, so they can be useful

She doesn’t know a world

     where a woman’s greatest chance for success lies in her ability to marry well

She doesn’t know a world

     where only boys are athletic enough to be worth watching

     on the field or in the gymnasium

She doesn’t know that we have spent decades trying to silence

The voices in our head

     that told us we must be physically attractive to the opposite sex

          And yet not get pregnant or raped, God forbid

          Boys will be boys, after all

          And it is a woman’s lot to bear the brunt of toxic male behavior

The voices in our head

     that told us that it is the primary responsibility of the woman to ensure that her

     husband’s every need is met so he is not prone to wander.

          Apparently character only matters in females

And the voices in our head

     that told us that we were too prone to emotional decision-making

     to work in corporations or pastor churches or even, gasp, lead a country

          That we didn’t have what it takes to make the big, logical decision consistently

               After all, everyone knows how irrational women are during their “period”

     That even women don’t like working for women, because they are so catty, right?

Thank God she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know.

 

She doesn’t know she is standing on our shoulders

     When she anticipates a marriage and workspace without gender roles

     When she decides what to study in college based on her strengths,

          not her limited options

     When she takes out a mortgage or credit card in her own name, without a co-signer

     When she can boldly assert that rape is never justified, under any circumstances

     When she believes that her opinions matter

          To everyone

Thank God she doesn’t even know.

 

Copyright 2019 Rachel Guillot (submitted to Listen Softer on July 2, 2019)


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