Yesterday was International Women's Day (heading some of the obvious "but what about the men?" comments - International Men's Day was on November 19th okay). Often, even as a woman International Women's Day is a time for me to do a privilege check. Things aren't perfect but for the most part I feel happy and content in most of the interactions I have with other people on a day to day basis. However for some women things aren't so lucky, and it is for those women that International Women's Day remains necessary.
Taking this to a cause that resonates with me personally, I have a sister who is a twenty four year old woman who has a disability. It was with great pride yesterday that I was able to attend an exhibition containing her photograph. The exhibition titled "See me as a Woman" photographed by Ciara Drennan showcased at the Riverbank Arts centre in Newbridge. It was a slideshow consisting of a simple black and white head shot of 38 individual women, with a quote alongside their photo from them on what it means to them to be a woman. The 38 women involved all happen to have a disability. As I sat in the room yesterday with most of the women and their friends and families, disability didn't matter. All that mattered for those six minutes was the 38 wonderful faces and their beautiful thoughts on what being a woman meant to them. All that mattered was the sense of community and that everyone in the room saw these women as women, not women with a disability. I exclude the Daddies from that sentence as they will always see us as a little girl regardless of age, disability or no disability. What was important to these women? Mostly the same things that matter to every woman - ranging from their strength, their independence, their physical appearance, to their hatred of periods. When the turn came for my sister's photo to be shown she had simply said she loved dancing and her boyfriend (to much good natured jibing).
See Me as a Woman ran last night for one night only but I would very much love to see that exhibition and others like it to gain more prominence.
It is vital that we see all people as a person first.
youtube is acting up for me at the moment, I'll try to embed the video later but in the meantime it can be found here: See me as a Woman