Let Them Say It Best

We've all witnessed how opinions and conversations have devolved at the highest levels of leadership these past few years. More specifically, one of our President's bullying comments toward a female reporter really bothered me. I felt angry at the blatant disrespect he showed, and it made me think of the women in my life whom I love and want to see respected. I tried to imagine how they must feel in this political climate, but I can't really. I'm a white dude. In order to better understand how they're experiencing this time I've decided to simply ask them how they're doing while I take their portrait. Underneath these portraits are their own words, sharing about their favorite aspect of being a woman. I figure that if we're going to better understand and support those who are being disrespected or oppressed around us, we should just let them express what they need and feel themselves. Let them say it best. 

Xochitl Lopez

Xochitl Lopez

I grew up in a heavily male-dominated environment. I tried extra hard to be taken seriously as a person and leave everything that resembles being a woman behind. 

At a young age, I learned that I was never going to be good like the man and that being a Latina meant I would have to overcome even more obstacles in life. I conditioned myself to not sound bossy, to hide my emotions, and most importantly to speak properly.

I was known as a quiet/shy kid but what people don’t know is that I kept quiet because I was embarrassed to speak. I had a heavy Mexican accent (now it mostly comes out when I’m mad) I held myself back. 

I was brainwashed to believe that women are less than men. 

It took me a long time to finally accept myself. 

At twenty-three years old without shame, I’m proud to be a LATINA BOSS WOMAN who has an accent and my grammar still sucks!!

I am LOUD.

I am highly opinionated 

I am emotional. 

I’m emotional because I care! 

I guess all this makes me a NASTY WOMAN.

We are in the age of time were WOMEN are finding their voice and standing up for themselves, but most importantly women are standing up for EACH OTHER! 

I’m glad to have had found my voice and I won’t stop listening to the women around me tell their story.🖤

“We all move forward when we recognize how resilient and striking the women around us are.”

- Rupi Kaur

Julia Rae Jackson

Julia Rae Jackson

Understanding the importance of Woman has been such a counter-intuitive thought process for me. I grew up with a sort of gender ignorance (or perhaps in a more positive light: neutrality). However, this has made it difficult for me to put words to an empowered definition of being. This project has given me a chance to reason who I find myself to be in both this socio-political climate and my personal life. For me now, being a woman has almost nothing to do with how the world sees me; I see it giving me reason to manifest my own powerful inner work through self-discovery, sometimes a painful challenge that requires the practice of fearless expression that I am only just learning. Does this not give me gender autonomy? Can this not also serve to strengthen the whole of my community? I like the idea of not valuing myself based on being a woman. The current assertions of gender are limiting to our social development; I believe that the more I intentionally pull truth from myself and share it, the more we can learn a more open idea of what existence means outside of our perceived physiological properties. So as a woman, I am part of a whole and thus I have something important to contribute.

Jamie Lee Finch

Jamie Lee Finch

I:

Believe me

I was born to balance the scales

and they may be delicate, but

I

am

not.


I contain the bodies

of the billions

of the women I’ve been before

within me;

bought and sold

beaten, starved, and saved

as if any of the each of us

ever needed

saving

at all.


Lest I forget messiah is man

and I am moon

hung here

holy

only

to reflect the sons

of god


no light left of my own;

skin wilted

waiting

in the dark,

soaking and shivering

somehow

singing

because this was my dream.


Somehow

this was supposed to be

my dream.



II:

Woman, wake:

you’ve been sold a story, so

read it carefully to learn

your sin was found in

simply saying

“yes”

and “more”

and “please”.


Earning isolation

for your curiosity;

they tried to tame you, make you

safe

and stale

instead -- they set you

free.


Now Heaven’s body

hovers

and in her orbit, all will be;

for fewer words

shall prove themselves

more dangerous than

“She”.