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HAWMC Day 23: My Night with Gloria

It's Health Activist Choice Day again. So, what do I want to say? Well, there's this post I've been trying to write for a while now, but can't really seem to get a grasp on what it actually is. So, what I'm going to do is just force myself to write about it, and hopefully I turn out something worth posting. Let's see what happens.

If you follow me on twitter and/or facebook, you probably read at least one of my (many, many) posts about my getting to meet Gloria Steinem. It was a pretty amazing day. I got to attend both an informal Q&A and then a more formal lecture later in the day. I was lucky enough to ask her a question in each setting. In response to my first question she told me to believe in myself. I mean, it's not a big deal or anything.

...Okay, she was telling all of the young feminists in the room, but she was looking right at me when she said it. And let me tell you, when your idol looks you right in the face and tells you to believe in yourself, it suddenly seems like an extremely simple task.

But back to Gloria. What I noticed more than anything else while hanging on her every word was that she has this incredible, almost uncanny way of being able to just name things. She just says it. For instance, in the second, more formal lecture setting, and after she was introduced, Gloria strode right out to the podium and pointed out the inherent hierarchal implications of such a space. She quickly dismissed it, though, saying that we would try to just have a conversation in spite of it. The entire room laughed at her funny joke. But... it wasn't a joke. Not really. In one sentence, she redefined the implied meaning of the space. In short, she's just as wonderful as you always thought she was.

Since that night, I've been thinking a lot about how much easier life would be if we could just name things like that all the time.

"Yo, this space is mad hierarchal. I'm not crazy about that. Let's move past that and just talk to each other, okay? Cool." 

"Actually, I feel weird about terms like "handicapable" and "differently abled." I'm disabled, dude. It's fine to call me that."

Wouldn't that make life easier? To be given the space to define things. I'm not saying everyone will agree all the time, but that's what inspires conversation. In fact, that's when we're able to figure out how to even have a conversation about something. I freaking love that moment. I live for that moment.

So, maybe that wasn't so pointless after all. What do you think?


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