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Monday, July 4, 2011

Women and Freedom

Happy Fourth of July

We are so incredibly blessed to have the good fortune of living in the United States. We have freedom, the right to do as we please and the gift to say whatever we want. I appreciate and acknowledge this good fortune daily. I share my appreciate with my children and expect the same gratitude from them. I speak of other countries and the difficulties that people endure. I show them women in the middle east who can not even show their face let alone speak freely. I can't fathom the thought of being covered up like that. However, if my eyes were showing I think I could manage to get some things done in my favor. I don't want to ever find out.

I was in Turkey ten years ago and I remember being fascinated by the women who filled the busy streets. They were covered in head to toe in black and they walked in little groups. In the Blue Mosque, forget about showing any leg, no skin exposed is a strict rule. This was a bigger problem for my former husband as he was wearing shorts that he had to convert into a long skirt.

He looked very comical with the blue sheet that he was required to wear to enter the mosque. They have strict rules and he certainly wasn't going to argue. I love Turkey, the people and the beauty of the country, but I was in a foreign land. I would love to take Christopher and Giavanna there. The people of Turkey are the warmest people that I have ever met. So gracious and incredibly friendly. I have many Middle Eastern friends and one day wish for the opportunity to travel there one day.

Last week in the Times,there was an article about three women who wee arrested for driving a car in Saudi Arabia. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, car must be driven by a man. Ladies, can you imagine not having the freedom to jump in your car and take off. This is a basic freedom that we enjoy and often complain about.. Shlepping our kids everywhere- sounds like a drag until you can't do it. How does that society function- Do the women just stay home and the men take care of everything. What do they fear- well actually I know what they fear. A woman with intelligence, good looks and freedom can indeed be a threat to many males. The more educated women are the more chance that there voice will be heard. In the US, more women attend college than men. Our culture is so incredibly different thankfully. In many countries, women have no rights and are incredibly abused. I cringe as I think of my sisters around the world who have no freedom. I think how angry I would be and how difficult it would be to raise a daughter knowing that her fate would be the same as mine.

I remember a scene in the second Sex and The City movie. The girls went on vacation to a Middle Eastern country and Samantha got into trouble for her promiscuity. She dropped a package of condoms and men wanted to arrest her. It was comical as the women who helped the girls get away exchanged black uniforms for hip city clothes. The middle eastern women were in heaven. It was a wonderful example of sisterhood. This goes way beyond clothing although I have to say, not having the freedom of expression in how you present yourself would be tortuous. Im still haunted by my navy blue jumper and saddle shoes that I had to wear for High School at my all girls school. It's taken me twenty years to enjoy navy. We were Prisoners of The Sisters of Mercy.

As you enjoy your family and fireworks and decide which sparkly shoes would match your tank top, think of your sisters around the world. In other countries choice would not be an option. You might be enjoying family but you would have never left your home and the sparkly shoes would only be a dream. Thank God we live in the USA. Thank God we can raise our daughters to be doctors, lawyers, real estate developers or whatever they choose. It is a gift of circumstance.

You could have been born in a country in which you have no voice, no choice and no sense of self. No driving, no shopping, no freedom and a sense that you have to be covered up because you are existing in a culture of insecure men who actually fear your power and intellect.
They fear your voice because it is the strength of your voice that will make change happen. They fear your body because they know your beauty will attract competition. They fear your mind because your intellect and determination will overpower them. I pray for women around the world and hope that one day they will have a voice and the freedom to live with vigor and gusto and hope.

Before you complain, be mindful of all that you are blessed with simply by being born in this country. God Bless The USA... Happy Fourth of July xo

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