I have a damn loud voice.
Like, real loud yo. I know, it might be hard to tell around here because of poetics and stories woven, but that’s the truth.
I am one of the loud girls, and that’s one of the reasons why I came to this three-day conversation about feminism. It was one of the stirring things because, well, a lot of the other things in this conversation was handed down to me without my realizing it.
I’ve been criticized for being loud my whole life and it’s not just about using my inside voice. It was about the category of who I am supposed to be wrapped up in how I am supposed to sound and what I am supposed to say. It was often about what was too intimidating or not mysterious enough for men. Sometimes it still is.
But, I kept laughing loud and cracking wise and sitting in the parlor instead of hiding in the kitchen. I still do.
Because though I have cried my tears over the years about being too loud and too much, I was never silenced. By my environment and my own stubbornness, I was given volume that’s more than about mere sound and I think that is a kind of privilege, too.
I guess my heart came into #femfest for the loud ones– the ones like me who, just by being, are too much to handle, even if it’s loud by just being different, by resisting gender stereotypes.
But now I’m thinking more and more about the stifled.
Over the past two days, I have read so many stories (still reading!) from those who felt silenced and unheard, and I’ve been blown away.
And I read this from J.R. Goudeau about her Burmese refugee friends:
They have voices. They have a lot to say. They have opinions and values and desires and dreams. And I can’t begin to fathom what those are.
I have no more right to speak for them than anyone has a right to speak for me.
And this from Esther Emery about fixing:
Don’t let me silence you by speaking your story for you. Let me make room for you to tell your own.
And many others who kept weaving voice in because it’s so important in a conversation about feminism.
Because so much of patriarchy is about who has the mic.
And who doesn’t.
It’s such an obvious thing, but so shocking to me all the same.
It makes this bigmouth want to listen, makes her hope she’s not talking over anyone who needs to be heard.
Today’s post is the third and final post as a part of Feminisms Fest, and we’re talking about what we’ve learned from the whole experience. Head over to Preston’s to get the rest of the action.
But today’s meditation on what it means to have a voice or be voiceless leaves me with a lot of questions: how to advocate, without further drowning out the suppressed? how to make space, so others can build? how to leave our assumptions at the door, and walk offstage if needed? or, is this conversation about ‘voice’ just an abstraction?
I would love to hear your thoughts on what I’ve mused through, and how you’ve reacted to the voice(lessness) theme during #femfest. Let’t talk it out.