I wish I could listen to an auto mechanic without wondering if he’s lying to me. I wish I could go out at night by myself without worrying about being raped. I wish I didn’t have to endlessly fight against the beauty ideals I’m told to obtain. I wish I could more easily find a church where women are valued as leaders (…more than just of “women and children.”) I wish I could watch a comedy or sitcom that doesn’t have sexist jokes. I wish Christian guys wouldn’t use sexist jokes and then defend themselves by saying, “you know I’m just kidding.” I wish I could drive on the highway without getting honked at by truckers. I wish I could listen to the radio without being diminished to my body parts (“shush girl, shut your lips. do the helen keller and talk with your hips.”) I wish people would stop misusing the Bible to defend their beliefs that belittle women. I wish Aristotle didn’t say that “we should regard the female nature as afflicted with a natural defectiveness.” I wish I wouldn’t be judged as “weak” or “overemotional” when I cry. I wish tradition didn’t expect me to display my purity by wearing white on my wedding day, while my groom displays nothing of the sort. I wish it wasn’t true that my large, state college didn’t have female bathrooms 50 years ago.
I wish the gender wage gap didn’t exist (in the United States women currently earn only 77 to 83 cents on men’s dollar.) I wish the confirmed 20% of women in the U.S didn’t suffer from an eating disorder. I wish the confirmed 25% of women in the U.S. weren’t sexually abused. I wish the confirmed 25% of women in the U.S. weren’t physically abused. I wish it didn’t take our country 234 years to allow women to vote – and even then women had to be 30 years old, as opposed to men voting at 21 years.
There are still countries in this world that do not permit women to vote.
I wish the world didn’t prefer having sons over daughters. I wish sex-selective abortions didn’t exist in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Pakistan and India. I wish India didn’t have the most distorted sex ratio in the world (due to the sex-selective abortions.) I wish dowry didn’t exist (hence the reason for India’s sex-selective abortions.)
“More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century.” (Kristof and WuDunn, Half the Sky)
I wish it wasn’t said that women born in South Africa are more likely to be raped than learn how to read. I wish it wasn’t more likely for women all around the world to be raped after a natural disaster. I wish the rape of women and girls wasn’t being used as a military strategy.
According to the UN, at least one in three women in THE ENTIRE WORLD “has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.” I wish that wasn’t true.
I wish female genital mutilation didn’t exist. I wish adultery would cease to be the woman’s fault (because in many cultures the entire reputation of the family is dependent on her purity.) I wish women would no longer be killed or tortured for committing adultery (even though often times they are inaccurately accused of doing so.) I wish Afghanistan didn’t try to pass a law that would force women to obey their husband’s sexual demands. I wish monks weren’t considered “dirty” after being touched by a woman, by even merely accepting an object from a woman’s hand. I wish women could make eye contact with men in other cultures and it not be considered her “coming on to him.”
I wish females had equal educational opportunity. I wish women weren’t treated as slaves to their household all around the world (“If the women in Africa stopped working the entire continent would shut down,” – my African brother-in-law.) I wish women weren’t covered, hidden, smothered, silenced by burqas. I wish the gap between women and men caught in the cycle of poverty wasn’t so vast (women are poorer than men in all racial and ethnic groups.)
…I wish fewer people were so ignorant and apathetic. I wish more people would understand what the word “feminist” actually means, and I wish everyone would declare themselves a feminist and live like one.
I wish more people would be like Jesus. Jesus, who treated women like they were valuable and worthy. Jesus, who “never made women the butt of his jokes, who never portrayed women as more vain, more emotional, or more irrational than men. He never said that women were more prone to theological error. He never suggested that women were less intelligent, or less capable than men.” (Rich Nathan.) Jesus, who came into this world by way of a woman, who performed his first miracle for a woman and who first appeared to women after his resurrection. Jesus, who declared rights for women and defended women by saying “LEAVE HER ALONE.”
Sometimes I feel the weight of what seems to be all the used and abused women around the world, it catches in my chest and I can barely breathe. So few people seem to understand the true atrocity of it all and I’m often left feeling quite isolated with this burden. There is no greater time I desire for heaven to come to Earth than when I sense the suffering of females in this world. When I think about how the daughters of God – with all their beauty and compassion and motherly love – are beaten like ragdolls, having their bodies invaded and cut open, treated like nothing more than an object, like a slave – and when I think about how easy it would be for me to be one of them – there’s nothing I want more than to crawl into the arms of Jesus and know that I am safe, we are safe.