Brass Ovaries?

What is this thing, Brass Ovaries? The answer is difficult to sum up succinctly, mostly because it is amorphous and evolving. In this space it is mine to define, so here, at least, it is an attitude, a philosophy, a way of approaching life at this time and in this place. And the hope that perhaps we can use that approach to act together and change some things.

Brass Ovaries means, in the words of the Urban Dictionary, a woman “that will not back down or compromise her principles.” That will do to start; the attitude I’m talking about permeates my life, and, it appears to me, the lives of most – perhaps all – women. It isn’t reserved for politics, although that looms large currently; it’s about life. It is about living our lives every day knowing we are going uphill and working toward equality and fairness anyway. It is rejecting the socialization to “be nice” above all, and to assert our right to be treated equally; to reject the socialization that dictates women come second, that we must sacrifice where men don’t need to, that we can be taken advantage of or harmed without consequence because of our gender, and, all too often, that we are disposable. It is continuing to put one foot in front of the other even though we know the task is onerous and the outcome uncertain, because the goal is so important.

So many things bring the phrase “What do I tell my daughter? How do I explain this?” into my head. I want to talk about those things here, to share them and get input and call for action. For much of my life, I did not consider myself to be a political being, or even particularly feminist, although I certainly believed in gender equality. But I didn’t get involved and do something about it. When I found out I was having a baby girl, the hurdles she would face solely because of her gender started crowding into my mind, and it became more urgent than ever to me that the world become a more woman-friendly place.

In January 2017, we went to the Women’s March in Washington D.C. I have never been so grateful to participate in an event. There was so much about the March that was wonderful. The generosity of spirit. The friendliness. The camaraderie. The law-abiding nature of it. The happy, friendly police officers. The signs! I loved so many of them. It was incredible being among so many like-minded people, women and men. A man who was there with his wife and two daughters told me that he was so glad they came, because they had been at home watching what was happening in our country on TV and felt alone, like they were “the only ones who felt this way”. But looking around at literally a million other like-minded people, all willing to travel to the Capitol and protest in freezing weather, made them realize that they have a vast amount of company, maybe even a majority. Our name is Legion. It felt great. It WAS great.

So that is Brass Ovaries in this context. That is why this website and blog are here. To build community. To get involved and call for action. To let us all know that we are not alone; we are here and we are not going away.

And now for the housekeeping: although I care deeply about others, what appears in these pages are my opinions and I speak only for myself. I take my cue regarding conversation from a professor I once had who made some very controversial statements during a lecture – many hands shot up at once. He looked out at the room and said that he would be happy to answer any questions or discuss any points of view, but he would do it outside of class, and only with the promise not to damn him to hell, because only God can do that. Following that example: voicing opinions in public inevitably reveals disagreement. Discourse and disagreement are healthy and necessary to our way of life. However, if you wish to interact with me, you must be patient and you must be civil – because only God can damn me to hell.