Monday, May 10, 2010

Pacific Women's Voices

I'm fighting the urge to say something stupid.  The Marianas Variety ran a story today about how women need to make their voices heard regarding the impending military buildup on Guam.  If they're implying that women need to stand up and rally against the influx of military men, then I'm offended by the shallow implication.  Why is this a women's issue? Isn't this an economic, cultural and government issue? Or, is this an issue because thousands of women might find themselves somehow entangled with young, burly men and by process of fornication dilute the Chamorro bloodline?  There...I said something stupid. I understand that there have been crimes against women on these bases and that there will be long range effects of the sex scandals for years to come, devastating effects that are not easily erased by an apology.  There is just something that makes me feel uneasy about the article.
Everyone should have a say about how they feel their community might change when this happens.  There should be programs put in place to boost the local economy and perhaps even to augment existing cultural heritage efforts by fostering understanding and tolerance, not animosity.  But, if women are going to be asked critical questions, let's not limit it to whether or not we think we'll be able to hold our marriages together when the troops come to town.  Ask us about what we think can be done to support entrepreneurship, especially among women of lower socio-economic status and those who may have to compete with a new labor force with greater skills.  Ask us what measures should be put in place to protect our children from the dangers of drugs and how we can help bring awareness of cultural priorities. We've got a lot of ideas about creative curriculum in the schools and we can probably tell you a thing or two about balancing the government budget too.  As much as I appreciate the attention to women's rights, I'd like to know what the discussion really entails.  What is it you want to hear from Pacific Women?
"I strongly object to the primeval notion that women should consider their college years as an opportunity to find a husband. Women, regardless of age, should have an intellectual curiosity that goes beyond wondering if their shoes match their purse."
-- HBI Member, Laura

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