Just a Student. Just a Mother :This is what a Feminist looks like

me and my kid at her school

We have come a very long way…still, the struggle remains

I say much about this young lady in this photo with me.

She is my daughter – my only daughter, Gracie.

Gracie was raised, is still being raised, to be a Feminist.

I have done a phenomenal job thus far.

She is a girl in every sense of the word, but, she is also a very strong young woman, talented beyond words, kind hearted, and of course, just like her Ma….

She is Fierce as Hell…and Sheʻs Beautiful When Sheʻs Angry… (2014).…more than anything else – do not fuck with Gracie….

For real…donʻt fuck with my kid.

Fierce as Hell

The things that are happening in our world today are the things that we think we have fought over and were won many generations ago.

They were won back then for the things that were happening back then. Now, they are being revisited for the same things that those women fought, marched, protested for. We are still fighting the fight that was waged in the 1920ʻs with the Womenʻs Suffrage Movement that won women the right to vote.

Right this moment, I would like you, the reader, to please take a look at the headlines since November 2016 and up until now, in regards to womenʻs issues….

2Womens March LA 2017 1 Ilyene Nieto Credit
Photo Credit: Ilyene Nieto – L.A. Womenʻs March, 2017

When we do that, we find out that no rights are permanent (Sheʻs Beautiful when Sheʻs Angry, 2014) , and this current administration is taking its painful gleeful joy in making us know that while it is that we have rights, they do not care – to them, it is the throwback that has been there, looming and ugly and waiting for our daughtersʻ generation, a collection of Millenials who call the collective of Gen-X women “Mom.”

What D.C. has not been doing is going back in time on its own behalf and looking there, NOT at the rights that we won over control of our bodies, but, instead, at the fact that we are numerous, that we are not going to stay silent, and that more than anything else, we are going to continue to fight for our rights, and those rights of our daughters.

Period.

We have, to this point, chosen, above all, to make these young women who call us “Mom” KNOW that we are NOT going to allow those men in high political office – we are not going to let them take from our girls what it was that our own mothers put into place, even if it were that their only contribution was to become involved, as I recall my mother, both grandmothers, and at least my fatherʻs sister, in a conversation that was about our rights.

…for like, as far back and as long as I can remember, and always, my dadʻs sister would make certain that the others at the table KNEW that my cousins, Kisha and Gina, and my sister, Napua, and myself…that our rights as female citizens of the world, let alone these United States (more like untied) …Auntie Bernie, even at that time when it was not okay for a woman to opine, gave not one, not two, not forty shits about it…she still, in her very lovely pantsuit-and-an-attitude kind of way, that no way was she ever going to let us ever believe that we were less than our brothers and our boy cousins.

No fuckinʻ way…and to this day, she still does not.

What those conversations did for us “regular” women was made us think, when we were younger women, what it was that we did not know about who we were, what the struggle for equality, not only in the voting booth, but also, in everyday living and life. I watched this struggle, everyday, as a girl in my childhood home in Covina, California, while my mom would be there after her day at our bookstore, doing what were considered (and how it was said to me by her kid brother) “chick things”.

ME as a little fucker
My mother and I at her motherʻs house. The man in the background is not the one who made the statement that my mom and all women needed to stick with doing “chick things,” and college was, to that guy, not a chick thing. That guy never went to college, by the way.

My father never did this to her.

My father tried to encourage her to go to college and take a few courses, but even he, in that time in history, and even as his sister, my Auntie Bernie, who was, now that I can recall it – she was the most influential feminist woman in my life at that time – because of what they knew as being the normal thing back then….they sort of did not know what to do OTHER than converse about things.

The reason I was told that Auntie Bernie was bad is because not only did she fight against the norms expected of her by our society – she was also not worried about what folks thought of her, and she let them know.

What I was shown by my momʻs sister was markedly different.

What that woman showed me was a different, sordid equality that now is even MORE prevalent, because of the whole sexism thing and now we see, at least through this illustration, how it is that being a bully (read: abusive) was mistaken for being a strong woman.

When I was a kid, I was always impressed by my dadʻs sister, and afraid of my momʻs. Bernadette might have run her mouth like she did (and still does) but the other one?

Yeah…letʻs not go there, because I am writing about the TRUTH in Feminism, and not how it is that some of us chose to be tough guys as far as their contribution towards feminism went and still goes.

What I will say is that without that particular personʻs influence, I had no descriptor for what I know now was abuse, was normative behavior for that generation…it doesnʻt excuse it – it makes it that much more pressing for me to believe, to KNOW, and to take it out into the world as the thing that I was born to do, which is NOT just raise awareness about violence against women and families, but more – it is my duty to pass this all on to the next generation of bad ass women.

Starting with my Gracie and the young women who I spend lots of time at school with, teaching them these things that I have discovered and perhaps that not even their own mothers have any clue about. I have taken it upon myself, given that my daughter is a daughter and that I have watched her make intelligent choices, heard her cries when her heart was broken by the disappointments that life as a female human being in this world has not only brought her, neither me, but every woman who came before her, every one of them who stand and fight with her, and every woman who is presently a tiny little girl, and every woman who is not yet part of this consciousness….I have taken it upon myself to be very transparent with what I teach ANY young person, specifically that which I will instill into the thinking patterns of the young women in my midst and in my care as placed there by The Goddess.

And I have let them know, each and every one of them – “YOU ARE FEMALE. YOU ARE BAD ASS. YOU DONʻT HAVE TO TAKE ANYONEʻS SHIT…I will stand and fight with you. I will lend my voice, my talents, my words, my energy, my emotion, my passion and MY LOVE FOR BEING A STRONG AND BEAUTIFUL FEMALE LIVING ON PLANET EARTH…I will give to you, every single one of you, this knowledge about this wisdom that you each so dearly need to know and to have…”

1_No Longer Silenced Meme

Fast forward to Now, when it is that I have this beautiful girl named Gracie calling me Mom for the last 19 years, and add to that, this group of young women I attend school with who refer to me as “Auntie Rox,” and of course, just “Rox.”

The title of this writing may confuse a few of you, because indeed it points to the things that a lot of people would think run smack into the face of what Feminism is all about. (“Just”…think about it….)

2_REVOLUTION

Yes…it IS about the symbolism of burning bras all those years ago, and it is about the significance of those women known as The Lavender Menace, 

It is about a book entitled Our Bodies. Our Selves. It is about the 2nd Congress to Unite Women, The Chicago Womenʻs Liberation Rock Band as well as the New Haven Womenʻs Liberation Rock Band, is about an organization called W.I.T.C.H. and Betty Friedanʻs Feminine Mystique that even now is studied, used to teach other women and their children, including their sons, what is the Truth in Feminism and more – what being a Feminist actually is.

ilyene_credit_ericka_wasko_1

I have been called many things….”you are just a student”…”you are just a mother”….you are just a girl.

Just a girl…Oh Really?

I might be just a girl, but, I am a fabulously gifted one (and it was my other half – A MAN – who told me so and tells me so ALL THE TIME), and I might be just a girl, but I am the strongest female in your life (and I have survived, just like my Gracie survived, being a female in an abusive familial situation that would have rendered lots of men mentally ill). I might be just a girl, but I am that girl who will get up in your face, tell you that you are a no good mother fucker, make you explain your words and when you refuse to, I go get the others who are also referred to as being “just a girl” and together with our brains and our mightiness and fuck yeah all those Goddess-given curves…Iʻll go rally the others and show you the dumb ass that you are…male, OR female, because equality does not have a gender.

just a girl indeed. 

I might be just a girl, but, I have given birth (three times, even, and it hurt like hell), meaning that I created life with those parts of my body that a whole lot of male human beings think were placed on my body so that they have a place to deposit what is their reason for being (which I get but still….it ainʻt a promise just because you have a marriage certificate and it ainʻt a promise just because you are a dude and it ainʻt a promise because that man I love and those sons I love and that young man I call son-in-law and all those other youngsters at school who call me Auntie might think I am insane when I state these things but)….I get it, and so do all of the folks in my life, and none of them get the reason why to this day, women are still not considered to be actual whole people (think about that) (laugh…itʻs funny…partial people…hahahahahaaa) and if the ones who still think that the only reason for being is only to leave their own legacy …get over it (did you learn nothing from your mom?).

I might be just a girl but this girl turns heads with her antics and this girl screams loud nʻ proud to the world that I might be just a girl but I am not just any girl. 

My other half would tell you this.

My sons would tell you this.

best thanksgiving ever

Gracieʻs boyfriend and best pals…they would tell you this.

tommy gracie jeremy graduation day

Shit…I AM TELLING YOU THIS!!!!!

To All The Women of The Planet….

We have a lot of work to do, all over again, because the world over, it seems that even now, in a day and age when  international business leaders have online executive meetings from their high rise apartments everywhere on this planet, we are still fighting for the right to be fully human, with fully developed rights (not just fully developed breasts), and fully respected freedoms, just like the guys have.

We can sit idly by, wait for others to do this for us, or, we can again make history.  (I Am down for it, are YOU?)

We can take our own selves and our lives and our freedoms that are, regardless of what rights these idiots think they can take from us…..we are who will make it all happen for us, and we are who will stand in the face of conformity, of division and of inequality that no longer exists on paper. Yet in the collective energies worldwide, it all still exists. 

We can choose to be those women amongst the crowd, pushing our way to the glass ceiling with a sledgehammer and our attitude, and out of our mouths come the words that sound like Helen Reddyʻs I Am Woman  ,and with the kick ass rock and roll attitude by a bad ass guitar shredder, jamminʻ her tunes, named Orianthi with According to You. 

We can choose to not be scared to challenge and march in DC again, like we do every time we have that chance to, each time choosing again to take that chance.  It was the women before us who made it possible, just like the women in my generation are continuing to make it possible that Gracie, Bianca, Mindy and Jennessa also have that same open door that we have had for longer than I have been alive. 

We can Be Fierce and Intimidating, vocal, loud and proud, and we can do it straight, LGBT or donʻt know or give a fuck about either of those things (and yeah…I know..you will decide that this coming Tuesday hahahahahahaaa…..). We can wear the tuxedo at the wedding and we can be who gives the bride away because yeah….lots of us been there, done that and have the right, since we – their moms- physically gave birth to them, to release our girls into the Wilds of Life instead of “giving them away” to a man and if those daughters wanna wear anything but white then so the fuck be it.

Same thing goes with the thought that if those daughters want to marry someone elseʻs daughter then yeah – FUCK YEAH! SO THE FUCK BE IT ! 

Pretty much…we can take up the broomsticks, the cauldron, and the fuckinʻ screaminʻ, jamminʻ and rock nʻ rollinʻ energy, and unlike we could not or did not with our mothers, march with our daughters….

…that way, Grandma and Auntie Bernie can see Gracie on TV…

That way…everyoneʻs Grandmother can know that their struggle, even as it persists, is being handled by us now, their daughters and granddaughters.

ʻCept for Auntie Bernie….she can handle just about anything – that lady has bigger guavas than a lot of men I know….

Oh yeah – they arenʻt guavas haha

THEYʻRE CALLED OVARIES !!!

#LosAngelesKahunaRox

#TheCrabAndTheFish

 

 

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