The 8th of March is known as International Women's Day. In Germany people are now calling it "feministischer Kampftag" which translates to 'feministic fight-day', which is inclusive of everybody and especially marginalized groups.
Today is IWD (International Women’s Day) and women all over the planet are coming together, discussing, exchanging information about gender equality and women’s rights. IWD is even a national holiday, at least in some countries.
It's a good day to fight the system.
In the early 1910s women were protesting and demonstrating in order to be granted a free and equal right to vote. Which in this day and age is quite shocking to think that half of the world’s population wasn’t allowed to vote government and leadership.
On the other hand, it adds up when looking at other areas where women are still disadvantaged or when they were 'allowed' working without permission of their husband (1958, but until 1977 they could only work when still being able to keep up the household & marriage), opening their own bank account (1958), criminal prosecution for intercourse without consent (1997).
I have to say, being born in 1992, I am grateful that above is not my reality. However, the patriarchal structures in our society that we were raised in are ever present, although sometimes hidden to us. Because sexist and misogynistic behavioral and thinking patterns are deeply rooted in our society, and for the longest time, we just accepted and played along with the prejudice, stereotypes, judgement, jokes, hurtful comments, et cetera. To be honest, it took me so long to unlearn what we consider normal circumstances and realize that actually, what was going on is not ok at all. For me, it is particularly hard to recognize injustice when it happens to myself; I am better in understanding when other people are being treated unjustly. Same goes with speaking up about it.
People who are happy with the status quo will say - look how far your’ve come. True, at the same time let us think about the gender pay gap, poverty among the elderly that mainly affects women, also because of the gender pay gap, and unpaid care-work for raising children. And what about the overproportional responsibility for contraception, medical support in general and reproductive rights as well as bodily autonomy? Just to name a few aspects that are omnipresent, but that we areliving with; for now.
So, yes we came a long way since the first protests in 1911. Still, there’s a lot of work to do, and we owe it to the girls and future women on the planet to make their life better by seeing and fighting injustice now.
What’s more is we do have a responsibility to use our current influence to uplift all marginalized people.
Feminism & Intersectionality
‘Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.‘ - Fannie Lou Hamer
When talking about feminism, we need to acknowledge intersectional privilege as well. Everyone of us is more than a gender, we are diverse by attributes like visual appearance, physical and mental health, heritage, education, job, character, age, sexuality and many more. Unfortunately, because of biases, racism, ageism, ableism and so on, people consider some attributes as better than others (for example white people vs POC, hetero- vs homosexual, cis- vs transgender). It is not an excuse, but these thoughts and patterns are instilled in us through the way we are growing up in our society. The first thing is to learn about our own biases and then question ourselves.
This graphic is from a Canadian website, hence the languages of privilege are English and French. You can swap the word Power in the Center with Privilege.
Understand your privilege
I invite you to check your own privilege with above graphic - go through the diversity categories and see in how many aspects you’re more privileged than others.
I am a woman, so I am clearly in a disadvantage to a hetero, cis white middle aged male. However, the only aspect that differentiates me from this guy is my gender. Now put yourself in the shoes of someone who is marginalized in more aspects, e.g. ethnicity, sexuality and ability.
Let us please use our privilege to uplift everyone, everyone who is marginalized, oppressed, is denied living their truth and have to fight everyday to be accepted.
Let us please challenge the status quo, even if you’re quite comfortable where you are. We owe it to the world.
Why am I writing about feminism and what does it have to do with Yoga?
Because feminism important to me. And it became more important with every passing year, every situation I encountered, with every experience that makes me more connected to myself and therefore, my environment.
Through Yoga I have met like-minded, big-hearted people who care deeply about people, equality and tolerance. We all share stories and experiences, we can relate to each other and even if a situation is strange to us, we can at least listen and try to understand each other.
Through Yoga, I have learned to connect to myself and others, to be vulnerable, to open my mind and most of all, how a great community can lift you up!
Talking abut lifting each other up - I've created a Spotify playlist in honor of the wonderful females around the planet. Let me know your favorite songs to feel empowered and I will add them to the list.
Sending love & power,