So yesterday as I was wearing my Vagilante costume on the subway, I met a small, rather meek woman named Sunene. As we rode the subway, me standing and her sitting, she stared at me. No expression, just a stare. A look that I took as disapproval or perhaps confusion. As people exited I sat down in the recently vacated seat next to her. And as our eyes met, I smiled at her. She smiled back.
"Did you go to the march yesterday?" She asked.
"Yes I did. I went to Washington DC" I replied.
"What was it like? I heard it was really
"It was amazing. There were so many people. But now we have to figure out how to keep that momentum going"
"I agree" she said
I asked her if she went to any marches.
"No." She said "I didn't, but women's issues are really important to me. I just don't know what I can do."
"Anything you want to" I said.
She looked at me for a moment and said
"Thank you for doing this".
The doors opened and it was my stop. I quickly asked her if I could take a photo and include her in a blog post . She beamed and said "sure!!"
So here is my shaky, out of focus, hurried photo. I myself, will cherish it.
The thing is, in all my felted, ruffled, pink pussy glory, I really identify with Sunene. For most of my life I have lived thinking that my single, personal voice wasn't that important. That anything I had to say, someone else had already said so what was the point? My political views were that of complacency and I felt generally impotent to effect change in any way. I was comfortable. I've never known desperate need, even though I grew up very poor. There has always been systems in place to assure that my needs were met, and while it wasn't always easy, and sometimes we were cold, and housing was dicey, I was never hungry.
While I have been severely disillusioned with the way our government was run, I never felt compelled to take any kind of real action. Again, I thought there was no point. What could I possibly contribute?
That was until I heard a man who was the republican candidate for president of my
Country speaking of sexually assaulting women, so casually and flippantly. Then I heard him pass it off as "locker room talk". Then I watched as a large portion of media normalized it.
It was then that I had to say something and wow, did I have something to say. I didn't care how many other people were saying it. I couldn't keep silent. I would not be complicit in my silence.
Now, I know I am not someone who will likely ever get a bill passed through congress, and I may not have the most eloquent words, but my voice can still resonate a song that can make a ripple. I became the "pussy that grabs back" and consequently, The Vagilante.
I am one voice. I am one pussy among many and I can march diligently each day as The Vagilante in solidarity with each woman, reminding them in my own unique way, to be vagilant. Like Sunene, I am still finding my voice. But now I know that I have one. That in fact, we all do. And each one of us, when we speak out, make a difference.