Respecting Aretha: Respecting Ourselves

Today, I am hopeful that Ariana Grande knows what to do, after she was disrespected,

While many were watching.

There are times when apologies don’t mean a damn thing,

But I know what will,

And, Aretha Franklin knew.

We can talk all day about what it is to be a queen,

But to be a queen, or like a queen, haven’t we learned that we MUST demand respect?

In this world, we MUST stand, and fight and be heard

A queen stands up for herself and for her people, even when it is clear that the fight could be lost.

As the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin taught us how to stand up and be heard; she showed us, like so many other cultural leaders have shown us, how to respect ourselves.

To know respect, WE must say it, sing it, and believe it,

We must tell the world that respect is ours.

And we must first own and embrace the respect that we desire from others.

We must spell it out,

R – E – S – P – E – C – T

Until we find out what respect means, for ourselves, as individuals and as a collective,

Ain’t nothing gonna change.

When we know respect for ourselves,

When we tell our loved ones and the strangers that we meet that it is their responsibility to “find out what [respect] means”

When we make our boundaries clear,

When we stand up for ourselves and fight for ourselves in our own lives and in our own kitchens,

And bathrooms,

And bedrooms,

And garages (Marissa Alexander),

And conference rooms, classrooms, and boardrooms,

And in any of the rooms that we occupy

That there will be respect for who we are and what we are.

When we refuse to accept the unwarranted and violent advances that the world tries to place on us in private AND in public,

Then we are respecting Aretha,

Just as we are respecting ourselves!

This I have learned, and it was not easy.

Now, Ariana, you’ve got the mic.

And it is okay to use it as Aretha once did.

Some of us are with you, but you must stand up for yourself. We cannot do it for you.

And, what you choose to do, or not, will teach others to respect themselves, or not.

© 2018 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

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About the Meaning of Sexual Harassment

If you don’t know what constitutes sexual harassment

It is probably because you never really had to know,

Until now.

Sadly, some of us had to know the meaning of sexual harassment before we even knew what it meant to be a sexual human being.

© 2017 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

Long Live The Truth-Tellers!

The current President of the United States believes that there is nothing wrong with sexual harassment.

 

Before he was elected he proudly boasted with other laughing men, “Just grab them by the p*say.”

 

Even then many women (and men) openly praised and supported him.

 

High and intoxicated with their momentary sense of power

 

They looked the other way

 

Denying the reality of who he is, what he stands for, and who he stands against.

 

Truly I have come to realize that some people, even whole groups of people, will openly participate in violating and demeaning women, which often leads to assaulting and destroying them and their dreams

 

And they will do it proudly, often with a twisted mob mentality

 

Even as it brings harm to themselves, to their children, and to many others.

 

Because it is easier to believe in a lie and a liar

 

Than it is to own one’s power when you’ve been told that you have no power – and you believe it –

 

Than it is to face the truth with dignity and with voice.

 

Yet, long live the truth-tellers.

 

The ones who have raised their voices

 

And who have put their lives and livelihoods on the line for what is right and just

 

They have made this world a much better place for all of us to be

 

And they have empowered some of us to be much better human beings

 

More, than those around us who will, unfortunately, in the long-run, choose to self-destruct, and take those who are like them (and some who are not) deeper into their own misery and shame.

 

© 2017 annalise fonza, Ph.D.