Privileged, I May Be

I recently wrote a post that expressed my concern about being a conservative and feeling as though I have been silenced in the past year due to the Republican-shaming that has happened across the country. Once you reveal your red, you’re labeled all kinds of horrible things, most of which I didn’t even realize until after my post went live. Let’s just say, I fully understand the “nasty” women thing now. Fittingly enough, my post was taken down, because I shouldn’t say terrible things like “I’m conservative” – it’s highly offensive.

One thing that I was called by many people, who don’t know one thing about me, is “privileged.” And it made me think… In fact, I am – extremely privileged. I have so many rights, so many freedoms.

I am a white, Irish-Catholic, American who grew up in a middle-class home, in a safe area. That is truly a privilege. I was blessed to be raised by two parents, who taught my brother and I right from wrong. My Dad was a Trooper on the Rhode Island State Police. He was out day after day, night after night to fight crime and corruption in our beautiful state. My Mom juggled work and taking care of my brother Matt and me. My parents taught me the value of honesty, loyalty, family, love, kindness, and respect. My dad engrained the saying “it is nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice” into me – we said it every day. Growing up, I was taught that sometimes the people, who seemed to be the meanest, are actually the ones who need the most compassion, because you never know what could be happening in their life. I have lived my life in that way, treating everyone with kindness and respect. I grew up in a loving home, and I am forever grateful for that.

I got to thinking about what that word meant, privileged, and why everyone was calling me it. I started thinking about it a lot. I’d walk my dog, and think well yes, this is a privilege. I’d go to work and work hard, definitely a privilege. I’d enjoy my morning coffee and think that okay, here is yet another privilege.

So I am privileged. But, aren’t they, too? I mean all of the women (and, interestingly enough, it was only women) who were basically harassing me online; they all lived in America, too. Yes, some were very similar to me, and others were different than me. But, as far as I know they were all American. That in itself is a privilege. We have freedom. And not only freedom – we have roads, schools, hospitals, running water, grocery stores, electricity, freedom to date who you want, marry who you want, work where you want, the right to vote, to speak your mind (I guess with limits since my voice was taken away). We’re free and it’s so, so beautiful and important. This is the ultimate privilege.

This made me wonder why they were being so cruel. It made me think of the women’s marches and how they are fighting for their views, yet screaming at me for mine. I agree that these marches brought unity and hope for these women – and that is great. But, it wasn’t inclusive.

Walking around dressed as a female body part, with crude signs doesn’t help women rights. While I still respected what these women were doing and their intention, it didn’t make me proud to be a woman when they’re portraying themselves in such a way. It doesn’t empower women or make a good role model for our children. If you want to empower women, look around for other women, especially those who may be different from you and take the opportunity to help build them up, instead of looking around to bash and put them down.

I hope that none of those hundreds of thousands of women who marched for women’s equality are planning to go see 50 Shades Darker, or listen to mostly any of our music, watch our movies. I think it’s important if you are truly looking for equality then you need to realize where the source of inequality begins. The same group of people, our Hollywood elites and “role models” who are the ones telling us that Trump = Hate, those are the same ones putting women down, speaking about our bodies as tools and calling us terrible words and saying it’s fine, quite a fantasy actually, for a man to control us and abuse us. So if you truly feel that the march you took, the steps you took for women’s rights means anything to you then I hope you will not continue feeding the business that’s putting us there.

I agree that “privileged” can be a part of the environment that you’re born into, but it also can be much more. Being an American is a beautiful privilege in itself. Let’s help one another by learning from each other, supporting small businesses, inspiring one another, volunteering, and also fighting for women’s rights for those in other countries who truly don’t have any.

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