#REFUSE: Let’s Show Them A World Without Women

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 Dametown.com  // Women – it’s time to stop fucking around. Maybe literally.

In the ancient play, Lysistrata, the eponymous heroine persuades Grecian women to stop having sex with men until they stop the Peloponnesian War.  Lysis-sisters all over Greece assemble and swear an oath to withhold sex from husbands and lovers until both sides sign a peace treaty.  

Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. (I’m looking at you, Nancy!) Though written a couple of millennia ago, the idea of women unifying for a cause still resonates today. Thousands of years later, women continue to get the short end of the stick; half the population is still not getting respect, autonomy, equal pay or equal treatment.

I’ve written about the importance of protesting and activism before. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty fucking impatient. The last two decades have seen some impressive social progress. Gays can get married, star in movies and host popular mainstream talk shows and drag contests.  The country voted for a wonderful black President.

But women, if you thought the race was run, stop and take a look around. America can’t elect an incredibly qualified woman, even when she’s running against a famously corrupt, mind-bogglingly dishonest ignoramus. Judges make excuses for men raping comatose college students. Over 80% of women report having been sexually harassed, and an estimated one in five women will be sexually assaulted at some point in her life.  The country of “We, the People” still just can’t let itself ratify an Equal Rights Amendment, whose frightening premise is merely that women should be treated as citizens as valid as our men.  

If anyone’s on the fence as to whether or not the fight for gender equality is behind us, turn on the news. Our national leader runs beauty contests and sleeps around with porn stars and nude models, and somehow still manages to find time to grab women’s private parts, brag about it, and then deny it by calling them too ugly to grope if they speak out about the behavior he described.  

If misogyny needed a cartoon avatar, a greasy and bumbling hulk to exemplify every caricatured characteristic, we have one – and America voted to make him our leader. The political party dominating our democratic institutions is now slithering its way to rescinding whatever protections and rights women do have, including taking away women’s control over their own bodies and destinies.

Wholadies, time to get in formation. We’ve hoped for change. We’ve pleaded for change. We’ve asked for change – in louder voices, with signs. We’ve demanded change – with knitted hats and ruder signs. Crickets.

We’ve tried MLK, so now I want to move up to another letter in the alphabet, to X – as in Malcolm X. He said, “No one can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”

Well, we may not be men, but we need to stop dicking around. As Malcolm X said, “Power never takes a back step — only in the name of more power.”

I’m not talking about withholding sex, and I’m not talking about violence (though I remain flexible).  Women: I’m talking about leveraging the power of refusal.

world without women

What if instead of marching, we all just stayed home? What would happen if one day, women just didn’t show up? What would happen if women everywhere didn’t show up for work, didn’t show up at school, pick the crops, care for the sick, take your cabs, prepare your meals, buy your products, use your services, watch your TV or click your links?  

If they won’t follow our logic, then maybe they’ll follow our money. You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) at the lightning speed with which people will come around to your way of thinking when they lose money, lose votes, and lose business by losing women’s presence and participation.

Women, if we band together, we DO have that power. The world needs us. Women need to strike back by going on strike. There is power in unity and power in action that goes beyond the type of protests that the oppressor can just ignore.

Another Malcolm maxim tells us, “I just don’t believe that when people are being unjustly oppressed that they should let someone else set rules for them by which they can come out from under that oppression.”

While we wring our hands, stew in outrage and hurl invectives in disbelief while watching MSNBC by the hour, the judges are getting confirmed, the laws are being passed, and our rights and human value are being trampled.  The tramplers ignored our pink hats and went right on packing the courts for years to come.

Women: Serious times call for serious action. I like hashtags as much as the next person – hell, I love them – but our rage-fueled slogans urgently need the real power that comes from commitment and adamant action.  

#Refuse is a start – let’s follow it up by the type of refusal that leaps off of our screens and blossoms into action via a powerfully unified and committed refusal.

Who’s with me?

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