|A Declaration of Liberation from Our Own Oppression
© 1998 Michele Toomey, PhD
Too often we feel that others have all the power and we are at their mercy. As children, girls tend to be taught to be good, and good means thoughtful, caring, respectful, and generous. Disapproval, rejection, and feelings of being bad are, therefore, strong inhibitors of girls. Girls are not usually taught to develop their physical strength, but instead think of boys as strong and themselves as "pretty." One of the great gifts of women's team sports gaining public attention, is the image of athletic women with strong bodies still looking like attractive, healthy women, and not thin waifs. However physical intimidation is still a potential silencer of women.
We are also taught that we need a man, to protect us, provide for us, and to love us, and that a man needs us to emotionally protect him, provide a home and family for him and to love him. This would be fine except for that twist of opposites that says, when men fulfill their role they gain superiority, and when we perform our role we are inferior. That is a trap for both genders, and as a result, men often end up controlling women and are burdened by them, and women end up looking to men to make everything outside the home happen and then become dependent on them. When we women find ourselves in that position we become victims of our own sexist approach to our power and ourselves.
This manifesto won't fit you in every way, but in whatever ways it does, grab hold and break out of your oppression of yourself. Declare your liberation from yourself and of yourself by yourself. Unlike physical oppression where another oppresses us, psychological oppression is kept in place by the oppressed. If you are not living as a woman of stature and integrity, this manifesto is meant to inspire and challenge you!