Dear Galentines, Love Each Other11:18 AM
|Artist website: http://shebanirao.com/|
As you may know, the day before Valentine's Day is commonly referred to as Galentine's Day - a day for women to celebrate the female friends in their lives. If you're unfamiliar with it, you need to watch more Parks and Recreation, but here, I've got you covered:
So anyway, I'm technically a day late in posting this, but it was something I wanted to talk about in my last blog post regarding Lena Dunham's personal endometriosis announcement. But to avoid packing too much into one post, I decided to recognize Galentine's Day by delivering the following message:
ENDO SISTERS, SUPPORT EACH OTHER.
Now, if you don't know why I'm emphasizing that in bold font, that's actually great. It means the infighting that's sprung up in support groups, Twitter feeds and comment sections hasn't been very noticeable, unless you're really involved in those realms.
But this is a message for all women, regardless of whether or not you have something like endometriosis. This is a message to ask women to stop tearing each other down, cease the petty arguments and build each other up.
When a bunch of articles came out about Lena Dunham, I read a shocking number of comments like:
"Must be nice to be able to take time off. She should just get over it like the rest of us have to."
"I have endometriosis, and I've NEVER had to take time off for it! She needs to suck it up."
"Wish I had that luxury. But I have to work ## hours and take care of a family and also feed a goldfish and make time to write mean comments like this one."
|Listen to Paul...|
Okay so, like, why are we saying to each other all of the things we're tired of hearing?
I would never tell another endo sister to "suck it up" because I went years being told the same thing before my pain was given a name. I would never compare my symptoms to another woman's and say that mine were worse than hers. I'd also never give a long list of my responsibilities, as if that invalidates her pain because now mine is more legitimate.
Doesn't this sound familiar to The Sick Games?
Women, when we fight among ourselves about anything - not just endometriosis - we weaken our message. We make it harder for other women to find a place in our community and get behind our movement. When so many women are being alienated in their professions, organizations, social groups and - not to mention - doctor's offices, why are we perpetuating this isolation by picking each other apart?
I get it. I really do. Sometimes it's frustrating when you've fought for something for so long, and it looks like it's just so easy for another person. It's why we got mad at those kids in school who didn't have to study but aced every test.
Or maybe you've been fighting to be heard for years and years, and it's frustrating to see a celebrity or another woman so embraced and given a platform to say what she wants. Especially if you still feel like you're being ignored.
Okay, sure. It's a little irritating for some. But doesn't that voice amplify your voice? Doesn't another story, another face and another experience add to the collective female and endometriosis communities?
We're all here to promote awareness for our illness, so that other women don't have to wait 10+ years for diagnoses. If we push a woman away from the endo community, that's one less voice making heard our mission. From an organizational standpoint, we can't afford to eliminate a voice when endometriosis is so little-known. But from a feminist and humanistic standpoint, we shouldn't be silencing or belittling other women.
So I'm asking not only endo sisters, but all women to lay down the gauntlet. If you see a woman in need, support her. Build her up. Show her that we're a family, and we're here for each other.
Stop competing for airtime because all women deserve a voice. Quit the nitpicking and take your sisters at their word. Please don't invalidate experiences that might not be like yours, and please don't belittle women who might have opportunities you currently don't have. Celebrate those opportunities and differences.
This Galentine's Day, let's all - myself included - do a little better at loving each other and supporting other women. Let's share stories that might be different than ours and celebrate what makes us all unique and diverse. Let's bring to the table more women who might not look like us, talk like us or live like us.
Because, as I've said before, we're all in this together. You poetic, noble land-mermaids.