Sexism in the Movement
from No Compromise Issue 15

I am a womyn, a warrior, a peaceful voice for the revolutionary change. An intelligent, experienced organizer. I am compassionate and courageous. Sensitive and delicate, demanding and controlling.

I am a womyn, and that matters. It matters to me, and it matters to you, too. We've been raised in a society where that matters, and we can't ignore that.

Sexism exists. Here. And also in the wise-use movement, in the evil corporate world, in our schools, in our families. I shouldn't need to explain this to you. If you don't see it, maybe you should stop and look for it. Learn to recognize it. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not there.

We need to learn to listen. If someone voices a concern about power or oppression, it needs to be taken seriously. It should not be denied. Laughed at. Disregarded. We all have different levels of consciousness. Sensitivities. Experiences.

We need to respect each other, and ourselves. If you think something is offensive to you or others, you need to address that with the speaker or the group.

We need to understand we aren't perfect. No one has a monopoly on the truth. This means understanding that we'll all say things that are offensive. Prejudiced. Biased. Wrong. We need to learn to accept criticism. We need to learn how to give criticism. And we need to learn to force ourselves to be heard.

Womyn - We need to learn to support each other. We need to recognize that some of us are lucky, but many of us carry scars of abuse. Pains from violations. Rage from being forgotten. Devalued. Degraded. Betrayed. We need to understand our different backgrounds. Different views of what a womyn is or how a womyn should look, act, or be. We need to see that although we are all incredibly STRONG, sometimes it comes out in different ways. Our strength comes from fighting, but also from loving. Listening. Surviving.

Men - If you feel threatened, attacked, or placed in a category you don't enjoy, well, now you know how it feels. But, that is not my intention. I want this movement to grow. In order to make that happen, the womyn as well as the men need to be empowered.

We need to learn to question ourselves and others who might dominate discussion, meetings, media, conferences, e-mail lists. Are others being left out? Does everyone understand what is being discussed? Could newer activists have some creative ideas? What can I do to make everyone included? Has everyone spoken? Who is speaking for the group, and who is speaking at the conferences? How can I change in order to make everyone feel empowered? Thinking or talking about these issues doesn't divide the movement. The movement has already been divided by these issues, whether people realized it or not. Now we are using our voices to work towards uniting again. These discussions may challenge us, and may be difficult for us and our egos. However, the challenge is necessary and the difficulty shows us that we are having passionate discussions. Constantly working through these issues will only strengthen our movement and save more lives.

I am a womyn. I will not be silent.