Because I was a Girl Once
By ChrisJay, Mobilization Associate IJM Canada
March 8th is the UN’s International Women’s Day. This year’s theme, "Empowering Women - Empowering Humanity: Picture It!" envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination. To celebrate this day, IJM Canada has developed a #WomensDay blog series leading up to March 8th. Check back daily for new posts and new thoughts from IJM staff and guest contributors.
A little over five years ago it was confirmed that I would become the mother of a little girl.
There was something in me that was not OK.
I always said the gender of my children made no difference to me but in that moment of time I was afraid – her gender mattered.
I was afraid because I was a girl once.
I lived in the same city she would live in and coincidentally even on the same block.
As a child I often tried to prove how feminine I was not. I prided myself on my ability to be rougher, faster and better then all of the boys my age. I was determined to excel in everything I believed a girl should not be.
Maybe girls were weak, maybe lower, they cried, they cared for children, they didn't have the power that the world thought was strong enough. They were nice to look at, good for sex, entertainment and deserved little to no respect. Music, print, radio, television and the community that I called home were a reflection of the biases and experiences dictated by popular culture and formed into my fact and almost permanent perception.
I was afraid because I was a girl once upon a time or two.
But regardless of me she was coming and causing me to see that I had been living with misunderstanding. Somewhere in my study of "Women 101" I had missed her organic strength, her authentic voice, her unique song, her contagious grace, her pristine purpose and most importantly her intrinsic value.
I missed that she needed to be herself and equal.
My daughter would need a name and it was the first gift I ever gave to her. When you translate it you call her "nothing missing, nothing lacking, nothing broken, always moving and constantly evolving". You call her "Woman".
My prayer for my daughter, women, and girls all over the world is for equality, a new knowledge of their value, an uncompromising spirit and the strength they will need to be a catalyst for the change their heart desires.
In conjunction with this post to mark International Women's Day I will be sharing with my social circles the work of International Justice Mission Canada specifically their efforts in fighting sexual violence for women all over the world. I will be using the hashtag #womensday, posting a selfie wearing purple to mark the day...and challenging you to do the same or similar!
I'd love to know how you will be celebrating and promoting awareness for women all of the world. Leave a note in the comments or tag me in whatever you are involved in on the day!
ChrisJay is a Hip Hop Artist based out of Toronto. She also serves as a Mobilization Associate for IJM Canada.