While our forefathers certainly meant well and most likely did the best with what they knew about—insofar as writing The Declaration of Independence, what were our fore-mothers thinking?
During times of turmoil and history’s repeated tales of anguish wherein women have suffered greatly and have aspired and performed as much great work as men, we seldom hear about what our independence sounds and looks like to us.
Independence can be a tricky subject, no doubt, as it reveals so clearly what we want our dreams to feel like, leaving us right out in the open and vulnerable.
It is far easier to stand against the wall, flowered dresses pasted to the hinges of doors while we declare nothing at all, least of all our independence on any grand scale or hue of red, white and blue.
But this is my article, and as a woman, daughter and mother of three sensitive and feisty daughters, I shall lay claim to this pursuit of happiness and independent streak and right of ownership that I believe all females must attest to wanting and having.
So here it goes:
1. We have the right of ownership of our own bodies, and the right to our own body images, even if it may offend people of the opposite gender, or even people from the same gender, or people who do not associate with any gender.
2. Our work is valuable, whatever we choose to do, whether it be as mothers on the front lines, soldiers in the barracks fighting for the freedom of men or as cotton pickers or prostitutes who work to support babies, children, elderly people and others, as women have done from the beginning of time.
4. When we give birth to children, we should have the most glorious of parties and celebrations with cake and wine and flowers and fireworks, because we are rightly proud that we have been so amazing, because this is one of the most sacred acts on earth.
5. All girls should be given a Bill of Rights that states her unconditional beauty, worth and value as an independent human being first, and as a woman second—because that is what we truly intend at our core, to be fully realized as equal citizens of this world, and never as second-class citizens.
6. When we choose a mate, we should choose only men and women who makes us feel tall, free and more wondrous and miraculous when we are in their presence.
7. If we think that we have failed, we must gather many other women around to salute the bravery we showed to have tried in the first place, while they convince us to try again because our dreams are valued.
8. All mothers should be thought of us goddesses, because they are. They have the most thankless and hardest jobs among all creatures, great and small, and they should be worshiped for their noble state.
9. When we come upon each new year of age, we shall declare that we are more beautiful in every way, more valued and more powerful with our wisdom, sense of humor and years of feminine-bound glory.
10. If we are so fortunate to have sons, we should rear them and love them enough to tell them they are miracles and that their feelings matter, and that their greatest strength comes from being able to love wholeheartedly, and that it is not only a masculine strength, but a human strength.
11. When we choose a career, we should declare it as holy and as a calling, just as we choose being daughters and wives and mothers—for we have so very much to give in the way of talents and gifts.
12. For our elderly, we must love them and respect them deeply, for they have come before us and are showing us the way, even if we do not realize it. In doing so, we shall listen to their endless stories again and again, even when we have grown tired of hearing them, so that our children can learn from their wisdom.
13. Traveling should be a requirement and a rite of passage, as it shows we women the amazing adventures of other cultures, which enriches our lives and our ability to to be more adventurous, caring, nurturing and free.
14. When we are three and 13 and 30 and 103, we shall declare ourselves as being able to reinvent ourselves if we choose, because we are free to do so, and because we are miracles in the making at every given moment—butterflies with our cocoons ever-present.
15. When we die, we should be celebrated for all that we were, exactly as we beautifully were, and only in a purely authentic manner, because that is enough, in our true and honest essence, and we should lay the groundwork for future women that we are valued and valuable, in all forms and experiences.
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Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: elephant archives