I am my sister’s keeper

MarchaŠ Grair

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me.”

Women went crazy for Aretha Franklin’s 1967 smash that demanded she deserved a little respect when she came home.

Few know a man demanding respect from a woman originally recorded the song. Franklin then remade Otis Redding’s version of “Respect” as a defiant way to remind men respect runs down a two-way street.

Feminists everywhere accepted the hit as the unofficial anthem for their fight for equality in the household and workplace. The song came as the modern women’s rights movement bloomed. Women battled discrimination to take ownership of their talents and bodies.

In 1978, March was recognized as the month to celebrate women’s history and women’s rights.

Roe v. Wade was a new creature at the time, and girl power was more than just a phrase shouted by the Spice Girls. The word feminist was not synonymous with bitch, and sisterhood was a source of power.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of Women’s History Month.

The celebration would be irrelevant if Americans did not stop and reflect on the role of a woman in society today.

I took this thought with me when I went out to a local nightclub with my friends. It was a “girls’ night out,” and we were going to blow off a little stress on the dance floor.

The longer we were at the club, the more disturbed I was by what I saw.

The club transformed into a meat market right before my eyes.

Guys stood around the perimeters of the dance floor waiting to see girls dance for their pleasure.

They tossed verbal invitations to dance aside as they grabbed girls by their hips and pushed them as close as possible.

This was without as little as a hello.

Girls who rejected such invitations could expect anything from an obscenity to physical resistance.

A man who can treat a woman in such a way is anything but a man.

A woman who lets herself be disrespected in that manner is anything but sensible.

This is not only a message to the women reading, but also a message to myself.

A woman’s value is not in the lack of clothing she wears but in the content of her mind. Encouraging a friend to degrade herself is not only wrong but an assault against sisterhood.

I am my sister’s keeper.

We do not have to gossip about each other and fight over men who treat us like objects. We do not have to mistake promiscuity for possession of one’s sexuality. We do not have to accept a wage gap that goes unnoticed and unwarranted.

There is more to equality than laws that say it exists.

I think Franklin was on to something.

When a woman discovers the respect she should demand and give herself, it is definitely worth celebrating.

MarchaŠ Grair is a sophomore electronic media productions major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].