Reading Lorde and hooks for class this week really put this whole idea of silence into perspective for me. Of course I was aware that we as Americans, or simply humans, keep 99.99 percent of our feelings and opinions bottled up inside until we one day lose it and explode… However, I had never really considered just how many things our society simply doesn’t allow us to comfortably speak openly about. I suppose I have always been aware that topics such as racism, women’s sexuality, and sexual assault are taboo in our culture but I had never really considered just how deeply this silencing can effect us as women.
Lorde writes about how we think the silence will protect us and that we believe staying silent will be less scary than going public with issues, but in reality the silence will not and can not protect you; you will be living in fear regardless. Nothing good comes from silence; silence is lonely, dark, and useless. Depression. Anxiety. Thoughts of suicide and self-harm. Women choosing to keep silent just further validates the patriarchy.
We need to break free. Speak out. Friends. Family. Strangers. Poetry. Writing. Music. Art. Anything.
I, for one, need to take advice form these powerful women. We are all afraid to speak our minds; we are all afraid of being wrong, being judged, being scrutinized. We are all so judgmental of ourselves that we expect others to view us with the same critical eye. We live in such a self conscious society and it’s limiting us. How are we to break down the walls of the patriarchy if we are too afraid to crawl out of our sheltered little holes and speak, act, or prove ourselves equal to men? We need to get out there.
Tying human trafficking into this topic of silence is much easier than it should be. The human trafficking industry is growing by the minute in the United States and few citizens are even aware it exists. News stations avoid the words “sex” and “trafficking” (especially when they’re together), and it’s rare to see a headline (let alone any article) in a newspaper revealing that the “Land of the Free” is actually filled with slaves. What is this silence serving? Nothing. It’s preventing women and children from being saved. It’s preventing survivors from speaking out. It’s preventing society from learning and putting an end to traffickers.
Silence is useless. Violence against women should be spoken about. Women’s sexuality should be spoken about. WOMEN should be spoken about. Silence is useless.