March is women’s history month. The thought has occurred to me that—though it sounds a bit simplistic—that the word we use to talk about years, and events in the past is HIStory. What about HERstory? History is not female. History is male. This month is a time to look at the female experience (which includes people who identify as female, call themselves a woman), to discover the feminine energy and stories of the past.
I don’t want to lean too heavily on the opposition between male and female, man and woman. I heard an ad for a podcast that looks at ‘women owned businesses and the unique challenges that they face’. I hope one day that women owned businesses are no longer ‘special’ or ‘unusual’. But today, and for all of human history, they have been unique because they are not normal, not prevalent, not easy to run.
There have been women who have done important work to bring women’s stories, issues, and battles to a larger audience. Jenni Earle bandanas have celebrated two impressive, never-to-be-forgotten women.
‘still I rise’ bandana
In the spring of 2021 we released a limited edition bandana with a mantra based on one of Maya Angelou’s most famous poems, Still I Rise. We don’t sell the limited edition bandana any longer, but the proceeds from sales went to the Loveland Foundation—a nonprofit dedicated to providing therapy to communities of color, particularly Black women and girls.
Maya Angelou was an author of essays, poetry, and plays. She was a civil rights activist, and received more than 50 honorary degrees. Her work brought the Black, and Black woman experience to the forefront of literary, cultural and social justice dialogues. We’re still talking about her today, and we should never stop.
Maya Angelou simply told her truth, not to belittle others, not to cite victimhood, just told her truth for the telling, because it needed to live outside her mind and heart.
Read Still I Rise
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
She was known as RBG. That’s how major this woman was, we called her by her initials because they sounded like a title, a mantle, a crown to be worn. “The Notorious R.B.G.” she was called.
She was the second woman on the Supreme Court (after Sandra Day O’Connor) and she was the first jewish woman on the court. During her legal career, which began when she graduated joint first of her class from Columbia Law School (while she was a mother), she was an advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. Her dissent of a legal case resulted in the first piece of legislation that former President Obama signed, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.
RBG’s dissents (what judges write when they disagree with a case) became well known, hence the mantra for this limited edition bandana we released in 2020.
She passed away on September 18, 2020.
Jenni wrote these words the following month:
what i hope to learn from RBG: stay curious and open.
There are many things that I love about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As I went back over her legacy in my mind a few things struck me:
she was ever changing
not rooted in one belief over another.
she sought to understand more and do better.
she didn’t have a strangle-hold on how she saw the world, she listened, observed, participated, studied and evolved.
The strength of her conviction was anchored in her tireless pursuit of what is fair and true. That is so damn refreshing. We should all take a breath when we are arguing our side of an issue, and drink in some of that RBG goodness.
Listen, really listen. Roll things around in our own mind and see what comes back to the surface. It might be that we think just the same as we did before OR it could be that we see a new sliver of light on the topic.
*Perspectives are supposed to evolve because people are supposed to evolve!
We are supposed to come to better understand our fellow humans and hopefully, hopefully take better care of each other and ourselves.
The gratitude I feel that a saint of a human like Ruth Bader Ginsberg used her talents and glorious brain to make our world better is limitless. She woke up each day and decided to look at the ways of our world with fresh eyes and peel back the layers of traditional belief and call bullshit whenever she saw it.
*By staying curious and open to the possibility that we don’t quite have it all figured out yet, she blazed trails and opened doors and handed each of us a ticket to a full, self-defined life.
we will miss you always! thank you Justice Ginsberg!
Celebrate these women, and celebrate the women in your life.