Women, I’m agitated.
A g i t a t e d.
And my bottom line, which I’ll get to, is: It’s really, really, really important that we, as part of our definition of being self-possessed women, have our collective financial acts together.
What happened was this.
For lack of an iPad or magazines, I watched Dr. Phil on the flight down to Vancouver and my stomach has been quietly churning ever since. It featured a young woman, now 23, who had videotaped her father, a Judge, whipping her with a belt under the guise of “discipline” when she had been 16.
This was in 2004.
Not 1955, 1765 or 1800.
It was a barbaric, violent act against a woman to begin with, but two further aspects have me nearly choking down vomit.
1. The first was the mom, who later was clearly remorseful, but at the time, do you know what she said to her daughter? What she said was: Lie on your stomach and take it like a grown woman.
WTF TAKE IT LIKE A GROWN WOMAN? What’s that supposed to mean? What?
2. The second thing that sent me over the edge is that a sizeable portion of the online commenters not only thought it was ok, “kids these days need discipline”, but thought she was in the wrong for posting this and shaming her father. I know, I know, I know that online commenters tend to be the oddballs of society with time on their hands — or so we should hope, anyway, judging by the quality of most online comments. But still!
So in 2004 we have judges who think it’s ok to whip their teenage girls and mothers who think women should lie on their stomachs and take it, and a whole lot of folks who think that it’s justified to use height, weight, strength, belts against 16 year old girls. In North America.
I’m obviously not ok with it, and I’m hoping to hell you’re not ok with it either. Not at all ok with it. I hope society steps up, and with due process, seriously sanctions the father, the judge. I hope society overwhelmingly condemns this act.
But I doubt it will.
I doubt it will, because women are still not equal, or perceived as equal, or perceived as powerful. If we were, would a man dare to treat a woman like that?
Which brings us back to us women and money.
Being organized with your money isn’t about that great holiday. It’s not about feeling good about yourself. It’s sure not about buying Fluevogs (which is not to say I don’t!)
BEING ORGANIZED WITH MONEY IS ABOUT POWER, AND DON’T ANY OF US FORGET IT.
Our place in the world – such as it is, and after engaging in this episode I’m wondering if we’ve come that far after all – has been, and will be, hard-won. It’s been won by women courageously facing scorn and criticism and derision (not unlike that heaped on #occupy folks) who persevered in insisting women should vote, even at the cost of being brutalized in jail. It’s been won by women who wore themselves out being both moms and career women. It’s been won by women who endured harassment and quietly continued to do good work despite a hostile environment.
We’ve come this far. Let’s not fuck it up by complacency! And since money is power (witness who drives public policy), all I can say is that we women need to get very serious about our money, get serious about being savvy, and get serious about using our money to shape our society. Until we do, it will still be ok to whip young, vulnerable girls with impunity.
Forgive me in advance for how uncharacteristically direct I’m about to be below. Here goes:
1. If you’re not spending time to effectively manage your day-to-day money, your priorities are out of whack, and you’ll soon be out of the game if you’re not already.
2. If you think money is not important, or something you are too good for, you are kidding yourself. Money is a powerful energy and if you’re not in control of it, it’s probably in control of you.
3. If you think managing your money is about “creating the life you want”, your vision is too small.
Last, a confession. I’ve grown complacent myself. Over the past couple years, having significantly more than enough for my needs, I’ve been lax on my active management. Oh, I’ve set up auto-donations to causes, I seek out fair-trade/organic, a blend of truly worthy and feel-good, but I’ve lost sight of the Mammon aspect – that money is power. And I can wield it. And I’d damn well better.
And I will. Over the coming weeks, I’ll post (amongst others) what I am personally doing to make my own finances even more robust and, God willing, effect social change.
Photo Credit: European Parliament