Still I Rise


I’m about to begin the mammoth task of responding individually to all the comments on my previous post. I think saying thank you is almost redundant, but here goes: thanks so much! I didn’t publish that post to get compliments however, but to assert my position. I also think the article I linked, Better Homes & Bloggers by Holly Hilgenberg, was interesting. That’s why this topic is spilling over into a second post.

The more I think about it (and I don’t think I expressed this properly in my previous post), the thing that really bothers me about some of the comments Hilgenberg received below her article on Bitch magazine, was their dismissive nature. She’s accused of being ‘negative’. But the whole point of Bitch magazine is to examine popular culture in all its forms from a feminist position. That’s not being ‘negative’. Why can’t we ask how things like race, sexuality, and family or economic status influence which blogs by women are picked up and promoted by the media? I don’t get it, do people really think blogging isn’t subject to the same inequalities as other forms of media? Or that the wider media itself doesn’t focus on particular types of blogs in their ‘top 10’ lists, and the like? Isn’t it possible to both ask these difficult questions, as well as celebrate female success in blogging and business? I really don’t think probing these issues takes away from the success of women who create a popular blog, and it shouldn’t be a ‘taboo’ subject amongst bloggers. I also resent the response that when any woman dares to ask these questions, or raise this topic, she’s just ‘jealous’.

Okay, I’ve spoken enough about this. I can’t help but want to finish this post with a poem by Maya Angelou, who reminds me that different women and their stories and histories aren’t always shared, represented, or acknowledged equally. That’s not ‘negativity’; actually, acknowledging this helps the fight for equality for all women. Plus, it’s just a great poem (I hope it puts some fire in your step for the rest of the week):

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Image source: Maya Angelou by G. Paul Bishop Jr.