How Babywearing Reignited my Activism
This morning I felt defeated. The news doesn't seem to be getting better and all of a sudden I felt stuck and incompetent.
I have been extending so much energy in to advocacy lately and getting nothing in return. But isn't that often how it feels at the beginning?
In college I was a strong activist. I was part of several activism groups and organized and went to marches and protests around my school and down in DC. I saw some momentum and change, and then I stopped seeing it and I gave up. Really. I stayed a member of a local PIRG chapter and did small time community work, but I felt like I wasn't making any kind of big impact for all the work and effort I'd put in to raising my voice.
I didn't realize then, that the small scale community work was making a difference, did make a difference and there was no giving up.
Post college life took me by the horns and any sense I had of purpose to serve and fight was buried under early 20s life, and then mid 20s life and then marriage and children and a house.
But now here I am. Thrown in to a time in my country that is scary, and different and I'm finding my voice again.
But it isn't just that.
I've also joined a community of babywearing parents and care givers. A large community that exists all over the world. And one in which I've learned a lot. Not just about carrying Ava in different ways and different carriers, but about social justice and human rights issues.
It has helped reactivate my desire to be an activist and advocate. And so I stepped in to this unexpected election result with that part of my brain already turned on. And immediately sprung in to action, see previous post for resources.
And then, late last week my advocacy voice went in to overdrive.
Let me back up and explain. After having my second child I have embraced and fallen head over heels in to the woven wrap world. I love wearing Ava. I love wrapping her to me in beautiful woven fabrics. I love carrying her in different ways and exploring and trying out different carriers, fibers, brands, etc. I love the people I've met in this community, I love it all. I love what I've learned from watching discussions of social justice issues in this community. I love and embrace all the messy as the industry itself works to move forward as we uncover wrongs and human rights issues. And yes those issues are in the babywearing world.
A weaver and wrap creator I have followed, supported and come to admire opened a large can of worms recently. She made a statement in support of a brand that had been called out for racist naming and cultural appropriation of wrap design. When asked to explain herself, she didn't. When called in to discuss it, she didn't. But many members of her community did, and I was one of them. Because she wanted to turn away from the discussion she removed it, and us from her community. I jumped in to action. I wasn't going to sit by silently. It wasn't about me, although I was pissed, it was about her silencing voices of many different women. Over the next 48 hours I pushed hard, I talked to her, to others who agreed with me and supported me, to many women who did not. I think I opened a few eyes. I felt productive, but drained.
And then she shut us all down again. I saw hope, I saw a positive outcome and it vanished in to her in ability to open up, change her point of view and embrace a messy way forward.
The wrap of hers that I had cherished, had carried Ava in more than any other wrap was tainted. There are pictures of us together in it that I'll receive soon from our shoot with my dear friend Max. Not the one in the photo here. I'm working hard to frame my viewing of those images as positive. That wrap meant a lot to me. When I carried her at that shoot it was still a wrap that meant home and comfort, one that came from a woman who embraced simple values and a slower more peaceful way of life.
I don't think many of you reading will get it. And that's okay. But it is a part of my activist story. I mailed that wrap off to someone else yesterday morning. Another mama who will love on it, who maybe doesn't know or doesn't want to know the story of why it is leaving here.
I share this because it is contributing to where my head is at now.
To work, to push, to speak up loud and CLEARLY and not be heard. It is mind boggling to me, frustrating and infuriating at times. But then it also feels lonely, confusing and defeating.
But there are others like me, there is a community of women who fight this way, who push, who will not stop ensuring that human rights and social justice are a part of the babywearing conversation. I'm a part of that community and I will continue to speak up. I have no other choice. It isn't about me. It is about the women who cannot speak up. It is about the women who have been silenced their whole lives. I will continue to learn and fight for their voices and the betterment of our world as a whole.
So while today I'm down- tomorrow I will rise again. And fight for this, for our country, for our environment and human rights.
But I need something to kick start me back... so dear reader, any suggestions? Seriously. I need a little push.