Africa is Much Bigger Than You Think
Women are expected to be the definitive voting group in this election, 100 years after winning the right to vote. Our voices, our votes, and our stories will shape our future and the planet.
Look at how complicated voting has become and ask yourself why. In whose best interests is it to complicate democracy? Facts seem malleable, science is negotiable, distrust of the press is deliberately stoked, and our President lies.
Ironically, mothers have largely been the primary influence on children’s experiences, self-image, and world view, and yet our own stories are often minimized and discounted.
Women carry generational stories for our families and communities, yet know that words can be weaponized . History books and leaders have used them to control the narrative, influence us, guilt us, and erase women and their contributions.
I’m not suggesting you approach the world as if it’s all a conspiracy, that you pit us vs. them, or question the validity of everything. No one wants to live in that world.
However, you must think critically, consider the source, and ask yourself why something is positioned the way it is.
Is the timing significant, is it a diversionary tactic, are you being manipulated or discredited to some end? Who does it benefit for you to believe something, and when a statement feels untrue, do you honor your instincts to question it, or do you go along to keep the peace?
Many people probably don’t realize that Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator’s flat map created in 1569 is still the one we use today. Even Google Maps uses it though the continents and countries’ sizes are skewed in favor of the Western world.
The problem is that the earth isn’t flat, so making a flat representation causes distortions, namely some nations appear larger than they are. For example, Greenland appears the same size as Africa when it’s actually 14 times smaller.
Africa is way bigger than you think: its 20% of the earth’s total land and more massive than the United States, China, and India combined.
But, the Western nations don’t seem to mind the inconsistencies. No one is too motivated to fix an inaccuracy in their favor, so the lie becomes the truth in an oversimplified way. I mean, have you ever questioned a map?
We see that phenomenon play out in so many ways. For example, how many of you have looked at a family tree and noticed that the male’s details are in pen while the female’s are in pencil? Wives or daughter’s names or lifespans can be a little fuzzy.
It might have been common practice to record birth and death certificates of men, or to have medical or government-issued documents and property ownership through male lineage, but think how much history has been lost or discounted because of it. We all suffer when we only know one side of the equation.
As women, it’s always been important that we share our stories. Our stories connect us and preserve precious memories, but they have a greater purpose too. Our stories reinforce universal truths. They are how we retain our power and protect our humanity.
You don’t have to be qualified to share your story; you don’t have to wait for an invitation. Your truth and personal power have nothing to do with status or titles. No one’s truth is more or less valid than yours, not even the President’s.
The #metoo movement is one example of what can happen when women come forward and speak out. It can reveal how broken and dysfunctional a society is or how strong and resilient a gender is.
If your life is significant or insignificant, extraordinary or ordinary, that you were here, what you saw, what you did, how you lived, what you stood for and against contributes to women’s collective experiences today and tomorrow.
What we believe about the world reflects what we think about ourselves and vice versa — what we believe about ourselves reflects what we think about the world — Our stories matter. We matter. Women matter. Mothers matter. Girls and daughters and grandmothers matter.
Embrace the opportunity to elevate women and make life better for all of us. To achieve gender equality, women need to tell our stories, interpret our truths, be a part of and influence the conversation, and claim our space, even when and especially if it’s hard. Resolve to share your story, and please vote.