I turn sixty today. I plan to observe it by joining with other women who are boycotting Twitter today protesting the suspension of Rose McGowan and other issues experienced by women on that site. So, I’ll wait to post this after midnight on Twitter in solidarity with the sisterhood.
Social media is an interesting place. It can bring people together in a variety of ways but it can also come at a cost. Women are subjected to verbal harassment and assault from a variety of online users, from men and women alike. And when reported, somehow the terms of service don’t always seem to apply. I’m choosy about what platforms on which I publish my work for just that very reason. I have no problem with dissenting viewpoints, but the venom with which they’re delivered. I learn from opposing views. I stop listening entirely when they’re delivered with vitriol.
The last year has been full of snow, smoke, an election that continues to bring terrifying deception and change, unfolding truth, and the greatest blessing of all, a grand-witchling to our family. The blessing of new life overshadows all else as the love she infuses into our family brings us ever closer. She is pure magick and we love her beyond measure.
The bees flourished and with luck and a milder winter they might survive until Spring this time around. Losing them all last winter was awful and to purchase three more colonies and then be blessed with two swarms on top of that was humbling. So, fingers crossed.
We added fifteen chickens to the compound, finishing their coop a few days ago, and a tortoise has taken up residence in the pond, and as I write this, a bird is circling my house, flying from one side to the other, trying to get in. Birds reflect the influence of Elemental Air and messages. Since it’s been doing this for over a week I have to consider what it’s trying to tell me; however, no amount of feeling in or direct communication on my part has resulted in any answers.
Of course, since communication is a two-way street, instead of a message sent to me, the bird could be reminding me of the messages I send to others. Typically, it’s ravens and not smaller birds, but this one seems insistent so I let it know I’m paying attention.
It would be nice if our president could be mindful of the messages he sends others. Our citizens in Puerto Rico would appreciate that, as would the rest of the country who will face a new health care crisis when insurance rates rise. He should be mindful of the message he sends when he promises changes that will benefit all when in truth, it’s for an elite few. He should be mindful of the fear he creates every time he treats the threat of nuclear war with a cavalier tone as if it’s nothing to kill millions upon millions.
The message sexual predators in the workplace send is that they can do as they please and women have to give in to get ahead. It’s what Rose McGowan and countless women were protesting when the news came out about the Hollywood producer’s disgusting behavior and when she received her twelve-hour suspension. Jamele Hill was suspended for two weeks from ESPN for expressing views they didn’t like. Although they can all hide behind terms of service and corporate social media guidelines, the fact is that few seem interested in exploring the underlying message of, let alone the reason for, the opinions in the first place.
Racism, sexism, sexual harassment, sexual assault, these are the issues that not only women are responding to. We’re not interested in hearing any more hate speech or watching as cars plow through protesters. We’re tired of experiencing harassment and/or assault of all kinds and we’re tired of burying children who should have outlived us, killed by police who have lost their way. Something is wrong here, and while it’s true that we need a respectful conversation, we have to understand that the situation is dire and it may take a little violation of terms of service to make our voices heard.
Besides, as this Crone knows all too well, women have been abused into silence long enough. Suspend us, if you dare. Because when we’re back, our voices will be raised in unison with women everywhere who have had enough of misogyny and oppression.
Know this: Women are a force to be reckoned with and we will no longer go away quietly.
Originally published at www.imsteppingaside.com on October 13, 2017.