Monday, January 20, 2020

Support Other Women by Trista Hendren

Painting by Leticia Banegas

We will always be considered inferior to men if we don't bind together and re-discover our power. Since we are behind in nearly every way economically, we must carefully consider the money we do have—and use it to support each other whenever possible.

Terry Tempest Williams wrote that, “The sin we commit against each other as women is lack of support.”(95) It is critically important that we support each other spiritually, emotionally and economically. Just the simple task of buying a feminist book penned by a woman—or a piece of artwork created by a female— is an investment in yourself, your children and your grandchildren. It also supports a project that empowers other women and enables the dreamer to continue her work.

It also gives women more ability to break away from the systems that support the gender pay gap. When women open their own businesses, they have more flexibility and opportunities for growth and income.

I believe women must radically reconsider every single dollar they spend. The fact is that woman-owned businesses, writers and artists need money to survive. We have to reallocate the limited funds we have if we truly want to see changes in women’s lives globally.

This is what it comes down to for me whenever I think about making a purchase: who is benefiting? Will this item or service make my life better—or my children's lives easier—now or in the near future? Am I supporting a person or business that is in alignment with my values? Will this purchase destroy Mother Earth or harm Her inhabitants?

I don't have all the answers. I still have not found a way around Amazon or a woman-centered approach to Facebook. Both solutions need to be found as soon as possible. I would also love to see a global emergency fund put into place for women. We can all help each  other when the inevitable emergency pops up. I can't think of a single woman I have ever known who has not been stuck at some point in her life.

We must also ensure that no woman, anywhere in the world, enters her crone years in poverty. The crone should be relaxing and reflecting on her glorious life—not slaving away at McDonalds or living in her car. When we accept that a crone should live like this, we also lose her immense wisdom.

We cannot accomplish any of our goals for liberation if we do not understand how money functions (96)—and most importantly, if we don’t work together. Our individualistic lives are killing us. We need to work together and fight back—hard. We can’t change everything today, but we can find creative solutions to make our individual and collective lives easier. We can live communally, share resources and refuse to spend one-penny on anything that does not empower us as females.

Until we have economic equality, I urge you to consider how you spend your money—and do it in a way that honors yourself, Mother Earth and your sisters around the globe. 

For example, if you go out to eat, patronize a woman-owned restaurant. When you need a gift, search on Etsy first. Begin to prioritize books, CDs and art created by women. Every-singleplace we spend our money has the potential to change our world. As Kathleen Dean Moore said, “Deciding we won’t drive to that chain grocery store and buy that imported pineapple is a path of liberation. Deciding to walk to the farmers’ market and buy those fresh, local peas is like spitting in the eye of the industries that would control us. Every act of refusal is also an act of assent. Every time we say no to consumer culture, we say yes to something more beautiful and sustaining. Life is not something that we go through or what happens to us; it’s something we create by our decisions. We can drift through our lives, or we can use our time, our money and our strength to model behaviors we believe in, to say, “This is who I am.”(97)

Even if you are limited financially, you can still support other women by sharing their work on social media. A few other ideas:
• Ask your local library to carry books by independent publishers and self-published women authors.
• Go to museum and art exhibits by women. Buy their art whenever possible.
• Offer to baby-sit for a new or single mother. 
I spent years not being able to do anything social. When you are truly broke, there is no funding for a social life. If it were not for my mother, I would never had done anything fun for many, many years. It can be painful to be left out in this way, so if you see a sister who seems to be struggling, you might offer to help. If you have money to attend an event comfortably, pay another woman's way as well.

We can refuse to participate in our own economic subordination. If we work collectively, we can also reallocate money and other resources in a way that works for everyone.

Excerpt from How to Live Well Despite Capitalist Patriarchy

95 Tempest Williams, Terry. When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice. Sarah Crichton Books; 2012.

96 Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms by Amanda Steinberg is an excellent read.
See also, “Sri Sraddhalu Ranade on Money: How it works and why it doesn't” on Youtube. 

97 Democker, Mary. “If Your House Is On Fire: Kathleen Dean Moore On The Moral Urgency Of Climate Change.” The Sun; December 2012.

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