An Embarrassingly Patriotic Post from the U.S.A.

After work today, I went to the gym and got some exercise. It was a typical late Friday afternoon there, with about 10 other people. When I’d been there 20 minutes or so, I realized I was the only woman in the gym. It was just me and 10 guys, all of us just trying to get some exercise and do something good for ourselves.

I gulped when I thought about how safe I felt. On a day when women in India have to worry about being groped (at best), or raped and killed (worst) on a public bus, on a day when girls in Pakistan have to risk their lives to learn to read, on a day when women in Afghanistan wear clothing that covers every inch of their bodies except their eyes, on a day when teenage girls in other parts of the world were sold in marriage to 70 year old men, on a day when a woman in Ireland (Ireland! that beautiful country!) dies of pregnancy complications because the Catholic patriarchy prefers to let a woman die rather than perform an abortion that would save the women’s life, on a day when women in Saudi Arabia will finally be granted the right to vote (but not till 2015. Let’s not rush this!), and when supposedly the majority of Saudi women themselves do not think they should be able to vote, and on a day when women in Egypt can’t travel without their husbands’ permission (don’t you suppose the pollsters were men too?) . . . ON THIS DAY, I went to my job in pants and a sweater, worked for a paycheck, drove to my gym, put on shorts and and a t-shirt and then comfortably jogged and lifted weights in front of 10 men who are accustomed to being around women who have a voice and rights in our society.

For me, it was a good day and I am grateful for it. I’m lucky to be a woman in America in 2013. We American women fought for these days and we are still fighting for them, and if the religious right has anything to say about it, we’ll fight many of these fights all over again. As gobsmackingly stupid as our people and our government can be, I’m proud to live in this great country where I can vote and even drive a car.

(Did you know that Saudi women are also not allowed to drive cars? I guess they’ll have to WALK to the polls once they’re finally allowed to VOTE in 2015.)

 

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