If You Want to be Heard

You have to speak. No one can hear you if you don’t or won’t say the words, do the thing, make your presence felt.

I follow a lot of blogs because I find what they have to say is interesting. And, being a compulsive creature of a clean nature (that’s bs, by the way), I check up on them even if I don’t see a post for a while.

Gone. Disappeared into the ether. More silent than night.

Why? Was it so hard to say your piece?

After a few moments (and doing other things, when it frees the mind to do such fossicking), I discovered a pattern.

People let it all out. Once. Sometimes twice. And that’s all there is, all she wrote, all that’s necessary.

It’s not.

One post the other day talked about where the bullying mind-set came from, why people do it (can’t find it now, unfortunately).

We know where it came from. It came from the silence of the parents when the grandparents said things that made the ‘boy child’ special. More special than the girls. Treated differently. Better. They get more. All the girl children see this, absorb it, take it into their reality. It becomes.

That silence is a lie. It has to stop. You have to stop it. Every single person. When you hear someone say something like ‘what a special boy,’ or ‘he’s special because he’s the only boy,’ or ‘only boys can do that,’ you need to step in to change that scenario.

There is no difference between special when it comes to gender (lots of other things too, but we’re talking about one thing at a time, okay). You can say ‘Men have more muscle mass so they can do this or that or the other better than a woman.’ If that statement were true for every single male, maybe you could say it. You can’t. I can’t. No one can. Some men can lift a lot of weight, but many, many more can’t. Some women can lift a lot of weight (I used to throw hundreds of 70kg bags of wheat from the ground up onto the back of a truck in a few hours), and some can’t.

Some men can run faster than some women. Not all. Some women can run faster than some men. Not all.

Are you getting some of the point?

A man isn’t more intelligent than a woman. A woman isn’t more bitchy than a man.

It’s all a made-up paradigm that needs to change, and the only way to make that change happen is to do it yourself. One word at a time. One ear at a time. One interruption at a time.

I don’t care if you settle into a routine where ‘he does, she does’ because that’s what you’ve chosen. I’ve done it, I do it, it makes life easier. I do this, he does that. We’ve come to an agreed arrangement (pity he can’t cook better than me, though).

But there are too many times I’ve been dismissed, shat on and disregarded simply for being ‘not male’ and therefore, not good enough, not smart enough, not [you see it, don’t you? The pattern?].

I still hear people say it (Christmas seems to bring it out). They say ‘I have to get a special present for him; he’s the boy; he’s special.’ And when I ask ‘Why is he more special than her/the girls?’ I get this funny look, like I don’t understand the rules of the game.

I do understand. So I keep saying it until it sinks in. I say it louder if there are young girl children close, or young women, or young men who are about to become entangled with young women. In fact, I’ll say these things any chance I get.

I have no reservations about being the only one in the group to question the status quo – because it doesn’t belong, and it never did. I will never see a difference between what is physically represented and the concept of that physicality (gender, shape, size, colour, hair/not hair, etc.) being the thing that limits their capacity.

A man can be what he wants to be, and so can a woman. A man can be in a single-sex relationship and still be a man. A woman can be a parent, but not be a nurturer. A genius doesn’t need dangly bits to have a brain. A musician or singer or writer or politician or swimmer or soldier or [any person in any profession, trade or skill group] isn’t there because they are male or female. They may be ‘special’ in terms of following their dream, or their path or their destiny, but it’s not because of gender.

It never was.

To stop the bullying, the groping, the undeserved entitlement of one over another, you need to speak up when it happens. Immediately. You need to make your voice heard. You need to do it consistently, constantly, and with everyone you meet.

My name is a concatenation of two names, because if I write under a female name (please don’t tell me this doesn’t happen), I get treated differently.

I am Cage, gender undefined female, married to a man (even if I call him ‘researcher/guru’), a writer of stories and novels (and pack-leader to a dog), ex-foster carer to almost three dozen teenagers and a couple of toddlers and dozens of animals. I’ve built a shed and a house and a farm. I’ve fixed up several old cars (vintage and veteran). I’ve competed in horse shows from endurance to dressage. I’ve competed in triathlons and marathons and finished them. I’ve travelled almost every bit of dirt in Australia. I have something to say and it isn’t my gender saying it; it’s my humanity.

My stories are my voice; my blog is my voice. Where is yours? I’m willing to listen, all you have to do is be part of the conversation.

Yes, it’s off the cuff, unplanned like a lot of my posts, but that doesn’t make it less serious.

If you want to be heard, you have to speak up.

That doesn’t mean what zealots or extremists think – basically, I think they’re brainwashed as badly as people who follow a political party as blindly as a mole in a deep, dark hole and not thinking of the future that might bring to their descendants. That’s not enlightenment; it’s not freedom; it’s not the path to an open and enquiring mind.

I’d like it to stick, but it will take a lot more voices than mine alone.

Care to join in?

Bits of my journey ’til now.

56 thoughts on “If You Want to be Heard

  1. Thank you for this! It’s so refreshing to hear people encourage others to speak out. Every human deserves the same amount of respect as the next simply because they are human. What a concept!

    When I was younger, I had a guy who stalked me for about four years, give or take. Maybe not stalked per say, but at least harassed. Anyway, at one point, my dad sat down with the guy and my pastor to talk about the situation. The guy said I was lying and being dramatic, so the pastor sided with him. From that point on, nothing I said seemed valued.

    My mom and I were talking about this a couple weeks ago and she said she wished I would’ve said more and that she wished she would’ve known what to do. Hindsight is always 20/20. I didn’t say anything because I was trying to be nice. I was trying to be selfless and understanding. But he needed to respect what I said and I needed to do a better job of telling people what I needed. I wish someone would have encouraged me to speak up and keep speaking up about things I felt were wrong.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great post. Love this: ‘A man can be what he wants to be, and so can a woman.’ This is one of the many vignettes I try to teach my kidlets, each and every day. Doesn’t matter what genitalia they possess – they can do and be whatever the hell they choose!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We notice it with the presents: toys for boys, toys for girls. But my daughter doesn’t want a doll, nor a dress. She wants to be like her big brother – who doesn’t want sports stuff, nor “action figures” (dolls) – and play with animal toys.

    Oh, and don’t get me started on the casual racism disguised as “concerns about crime” conversations that happen at family events.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Racism is the definition of a person by race; racialism is the denigration of a person by race – they’ve even taken over the word and strangled it. I am not a race, I am a person who comes from a variety of racial backgrounds. As does everyone else. There is no purity in race.
      My ‘kids’ came from a variety of background; some had dark skin, some not; some had multiple language skills, some not. they became accountants, truck-drivers, farmers, foresters, foster-carers (so proud); some married, some didn’t; some into same-same relationships, some not; some readers, some not.
      That’s how it should be. Choice, validity, respect, value. Not much to ask.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Here, here! I ask my nieces these questions and regularly gift them things (like books) that tell stories of women following their dreams in things like STEM fields to hopefully help them understand they have a voice and should use it. I wish there was a love button on here because I’d use it. Hell of a way to ring in 2018. Love it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You said so much here. I have to reread it and think about it in sections. Raised, to stay silent and keep your eyes to the floor, part of me (the one that does’t want to take any more risk) doesn’t speak much. You’ve given me something to ponder. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Evil and entitlement move in because silence is not a force of any kind. Silence is permission for the worst of things. These are things I think a lot about because I may be vocal in my immediate life but I tend not to be controversial in my blogging. I wonder why that is? Thank you for a wonderful post.

    Liked by 2 people

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  8. I have noticed some of the bloggers that I was following have stopped posting also and I do wonder about why that happened. I am a child of the 50’s so things were different when I was young and my brother and I were always treated differently from the way my sister was. I never thought too much about this, I guess I just accepted it as the way things were supposed to be, but your post did make me remember being treated different from my sister. I hope that one day that this treating different genders differently will disappear. This was a great post, thanks for writing it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think people/bloggers feel the need to speak, and then say a few words. I don’t know what stops them, but when I re-read some of the posts, it came up as a pattern. And being a pattern-seeker (programmers looking into problem resolution strategies do that), I saw what could very well be a level of repetition. Get it off your chest, get embarrassed or feel guilty, and slip away quietly. Well, I’m watching. I’m waiting for the next path of choice. I’m reading the journey so it’s not a path to travel in solitude.
      And I only wait so long before I whistle a ‘hoy to see where you are.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Good and insightful post. I remember once, many, many years ago, saying something to a female coworker and being surprised by her reaction. What I said to her was, “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, but a woman can do what she wants.” When she got angry with me, I asked her to explain why what I had said upset her. She took the time to do so, and that was one of my first lessons in sexism. And it’s a lesson that I have never forgotten.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m impressed. Most people would shrug it off. I’m glad you didn’t. It makes a difference. Every single person who takes notice, who sees beyond the ingrained dirt of ‘societal expectations’ is making a difference. We are all different, and in that difference lies our similarities. We are human, we all come from the same place, and we have a choice about what we say and do and demonstrate to others.
      Welcome to the bandwagon.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting point of view. I agree with many things you’ve said, yet my principle is that if there needs to be a change, it must come from within the problematic group of people. We can only motivate it, take it for a spin and question their viewpoints. Yeah, speaking about the problem is important when there is a problem. The only person you can change is yourself, so that said, it is futile telling others they need to change. That sort of approach can only backfire and take away the problematic group from the debate.

    I would also like to mention that we have more of a tolerance issue, since people grow intolerant to far to many things these days. Without tolerance, there is no understanding your counterpart and that shuts down the conversation.

    Still, you’ve said far more truthful things here. I like reading your posts, and here it is, comment on them when I feel I need to speak up. 😀 Be positive, that way you’ll lead by example. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ‘come from within’ – yes, I agree; it must come from within, but what if they don’t see it for what it is? I tend to be a bit pushy, a bit demanding, a bit of a pack leader personality. Which is probably why my foster kids called me Sarge. Seriously. They had the courage to be able to say to me I was coming over too hard. I learned from it; tolerance from both sides of the fence, once you can see the fence for what it is. I thought I had to be ‘in charge’ and my actions were a demonstration of that. It wasn’t necessary. Being able to communicate, disagree, even argue, was more important; to respect a person, to give time and value to their views. Not easy, none of it. We had to learn to laugh our way through some tough times.
    I don’t tell people what they should do, I ask them why they do the things they do, and if they can’t explain it because that’s just the way it’s always been, I’m happy to put the questions to them so at least the younger people who also hear the conversation can see that it doesn’t always have to be that way.
    I love a good discussion! Especially when this is started with missing some of the people I follow and wondering what happened to them, where did they get to after saying such interesting things? I wanted to find them, I wanted to hear them say their words. And here we are opening channels of communication.


  12. Being as sheltered as I am by the necessity of staying home with my kids, it’s not often that I come across discrimination in the real world. I certainly speak my mind in the virtual one, as you may have noticed. 😛 Hehehe. The day I shut up is the day I can no longer speak. 🙂
    Great post, Cage. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  19. I have been bullied, I have written about it, I have also written about Bulimia,and anorexia. I always taught my three sons to be fair and honest and kind.
    Reading you you brilliant blog I am glad I did . Thank you for such an interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Right on! I am currently reading a book in which I found a quote by Gloria Steinem ” be the man you wanted to marry.” I like it for two reasons. !) I think I am the man I wanted to marry (I am a woman physically) and 2). I raised a daughter who did not even need to be told that. Good post. Thank you.

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  22. Thanks for the message. Here in the USA there’s an expression, You raise the girls but Love the boys. Meaning girls are brought up to be more responsible whereas boys get to flake off and do whatever. Boys are Princes and girls here to serve them. Sadly many of these stereotypes are carried from one generation to the next by women.
    Here it is 2018 and not a lot has changed. Society, the media, culture, traditions, the church all push us into gender types and specific identities.

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  23. The gender issue is one of many our world faces … I see ‘HUMANITY’ as your key word here … we are all part of that hallowed group! The environment, intelligence, and DNA play roles in predispositions, but I like your premise and conclusion — here, in 2018, I believe, gender inequality has shed much of its dirty laundry. HG Wells ‘Time Machine’ would take me to a much enhanced technological age but I doubt it would make a stop at Utopia along the way, notwithstanding, ‘Eloi’. This is no way ‘con’ to your ‘pro’. Women have been an important part of my life and thank God for some very ingenius differences in the gender world. If I’m allowed, women are the most beautiful and I suspect, the smartest, among the humans I have encountered in my long journey … I’m just saying! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • yes, it was the focus here, even if it wasn’t intended as such at the first sitting. I’m happy if people want or choose to be who they are, but to be maligned for their choice based on gender is a waste of intelligent discussion. A brain is what matters; thoughts, feelings, choices. to be validated to for your input, not your appearances. And it applies to all, not only women, not only men, and maybe even not only human, but the world community as a whole … hmmm, that may be another discussion topic for later …


  24. Most of the victims want to share as it helps them to heal, but they stop as they see no point. They feel the world is not gonna change with just one person crying.
    Then they see a ray of light and it gives them hope and they feel like trying again.
    Then mountains start crumbling.

    I have seen it happening. It takes generations for the mindset to change but you can see the differences.
    I was born & bought up in India in the 80s & 90’s. The attitudes are changing, values are shifting. A huge majority is still stuck in the past & they are trying to take us back to the past. But you can see a paradigm shift. Things cannot be the same as they were.
    We just need to keep sharing our stories because stories make what we are. They build our values & question our assumptions

    Thanks for being the hope, the ray of light to many people of this world.

    Thanks for being the inspiration for people to share their stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I like the gender game you’re playing. It was quite frequent in the 19th century for women to write under male names if they wanted to have their books read and published.
    Much before, in Shakespeare’s time, all the roles were played by men only. And today, lots of play directors frequently do the opposite. I like this modern approach which opens lots of new interpretations.

    Liked by 1 person

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  27. HelloCage. i came back to read this a second time. I think it is so very important to speak up. We, you and I , live in places where we can speak up. If we lived in the kingdom of Saud or another totalitarian regime we might not be able to speak up. Or if we did speak up then we could be ‘disappeared’, imprisoned, flogged in a public square….. So I believe we must speak up. I do not do much speaking up in my blog other than to tackle to occasional political issue in dressage ( ie changing the Grand Prix test) but in my life I do speak up and have for many years belonged to Amnesty International and speak through their Urgent Actions. I also write to my MP and sign petitions and so on and so forth. I liked your post Cage and I think it is important. Very important.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope it inspires people who want to speak but feel as if they’re alone. the more people speak, the more ears hear. We have to find a way to stop people being ‘disappeared’ for knowing they have to speak despite the risks – and now there are more eyes than ever on the actions of those who once thought they had the power to stop others from speaking.

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