Woman of Inspiration Day 17: Anita Hill
Fun fact for Hump Day: My High School graduating class was the first to start college with the world wide web. We were the test bunnies of this new way of communicating, collecting and sharing information. When we all started college we got our first email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Within a couple of years we had found a social platform and my first alias was born: alibi. Yep that was how it all started.
I was just 16, when this woman sat trial in front of America. There was no Facebook, no texting, no cell phones... no internet. I barely remember the details of this affair, but there is a stark image imprinted in my head of that long string of old white men sitting at a table across from this one beautiful young brilliant black woman. The reprocussions of her voice being heard changing everything for me and my generation of women. You see, in that moment we learned we had a voice and a right to be heard. We learned it was not acceptable to be subjected to sexual comments, let alone physical conduct: we were empowered.
Just 2 years after Anita Hill spoke for all women, I was apart of the women who spoke up. I had been harrassed by a teacher since I was a freshman. As an A+ student that entered high school from a homeschool setting, I had surpassed my parents' mathmatical education, so stood out quickly in my first Algebra class as way beyond my placement. This drew extra attention from the teacher. My curiousity to learn, accepted his repulsive looks and comments ignorantly as he gave me special permission to take both Alegebra 2 and geometry as a sophmore. I was young, I didn't realize what was actually occuring. Luckily, I did not have to have him as a teacher that next year, but as the head of the Math Dept he made every excuse to get me in his classroom alone. I still remember the dreaded walk down the hallway to that dark secluded room.
My junior year I as not so lucky, I ended up in his Trig class, then as a senior 1 of 2 females in Calculus, he was the only teacher. Just a month into the year, she and I had had enough. Between the 2 of us we knew a dozen young girls that he had harrassed but as the two smartest, we took the heat of it. Not only were we constantly being subjected to looks and comments but hiss style of teaching taught the boys how to carry on his crude behavior. The two fo us rallied 3 other girls to walk into the principal's office and tell him what was happening. We first went to a trusted female councilor and she immediately walked across the hall with us to Mr. Drake's office. We were heard. Our confidentiality was protected and after a long period of confusion for us as students, he was fired. After over 20 years of this behavior, we had ended the cycle. I know this because my mother was also a student of his and though she never admitted to him harrassing her, she was aware of it happening to girls in her class.
As a woman it is not IF you have been harrassed sexually, it is to what degree have you been victimized. To this day, I believe that is still true. I would love to say that was the only time I ever had to deal with sexual harrassment, but sadly it is not. I was luckily to have learned very young the power of my voice and stood my ground against many perpetrators. It shouldn't have to be that way though. Women shouldn't have to walk away from opportunity, and act a certain way to avoid being subjected to men using sexual references to hold power over us.
To this day, I lose opportunity due to my refusal to flirt my way into business relationships. The part that really frustrates me is the attitude one woman will give another for her success. We don't need to treat each other as sluts but we do need to find a way to move up the ladder together leaving the sex at home.
I look forward to the awakening this film will bring to the new generation. I believe we are moving towards a different world where woman can rise to the top without sleeping her way there. This is not an issue of men against women, this is consciousness to human dignity and acknowledging the wisdom of the feminine in all humans, and honoring it rather then suppressing it. Thank you Anita Hill for speaking your truth, for that, you are a Woman of Inspiration! Don't miss her powerful interview on the Daily Show.
There are just 4 days left in this short window to PreOrder the My Alibi Wonder Bloomers. While this empowering new fabric has gotten an enthusaistic response, only a few have placed an order. I have been selling Bloomers for 7 years now and personally, I am a trained frugal female shopper myself, so I get it. They are not cheap and they are sassy. Like many of you, I to end up buying my underwear at Target and my cute stuff from Victoria Secret is all gifts from my husband. Just saying that feels wrong, but it is true. It is a part of the cycle that I want to break with My Alibi. I not only want to empower women to get on a bike but I want to empower women to break the consumerist cycle of buying cheap crap and not feeling worthy. We have a long way to go as a society to spread financial abundance, but using our consumer dollars to support brands and companies that we believe in is our buying power. Alone we may seem small but together we can change the way businesses evolve. It is our choice. It is your choice.