I’m rewriting a play that I wrote back in college. This play has to do with the power of young women and the psychoanalytical traits that high schoolers encounter. I’m researching. I’m scrolling through Twitter. I see the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls and my heart stops.
Only several weeks ago, 300 schoolgirls were abducted in Chibok, Nigeria. A boarding school was attacked. Girls were taken away. The media made little mention of it to start. Slowly it started to surface. People, government agencies, and our country became embarrassed for their behavior regarding the situation.
The story continues as I continue to scroll through my Twitter feed as images of the SFGiant’s, links to the Met Gala, and people posting anecdotes of their day surround me. I scroll. I see Amy Poehler’s face. Her eyes lock onto me. This is a woman I constantly admire. A woman I dream to befriend and aim to work with someday. A woman who founded “Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls” which co-hosted an online forum to educate people on the missing girls in Nigeria. I see this face staring back at me and I push forward.
I see people post the names of the girls that were abducted. I sit in front of my screen and share links, hoping that will accomplish something. I’m spreading the news. That’s something they are saying can help, but I feel nothing but helpless in this situation. Nicholas Kristof says “All of us can respond more directly. Boko Haram, whose name means roughly “Western education is a sin,” is keeping women and girls marginalized; conversely, we can help educate and empower women. Ultimately, the greatest threat to extremism isn’t a drone overhead but a girl with a book.” Education. A girl with a book. That is the key.
I ache. I ache for the missing girls and the education they aim to achieve. I ache for what their lives might become now. For their families, their fathers and mothers doing everything they can for them. For the pain that enrages so many of us. For the women who continue to fight day after day for their own education. Girls unable to receive an education. Girls that work for it harder than anyone else. That aim to be a better versions of themselves with the proper knowledge at their hands. My heart breaks to think of our priorities and what we focus on in our daily lives. What drives the news. Women's education clearly isn't it. What if a group of 300 schoolgirls were abducted from a boarding school in America. What would the headlines read? What would the media focus on? Is it worth to even fathom?
I start to cry. I cry for the life I have been blessed to live. A life full of opportunities, education, and limited fear. For the comfort to write this safely behind a computer screen, where I feel as if I am contributing to the world. Where I feel as if I am helping the situation. Where I am sitting on my ass with nothing but my words to offer you. I think again of the play that I am writing. It's a play about young women in high school wanting to know everything about the world, but unable to grasp it. I think that no matter where you are in the world, teenage girls are one in the same. Yes, we are all connected. We are all in this together, but we often forget that to be true.
It is true. It is also true that I can sit here and feel all these emotions over everything taking place. I can ache, and I can cry, and my empathetic behavior can overwhelm me for all that is going on outside of my apartment. But, there is something else that I find to be true: I am also a girl with a book. I am one of millions that have a power held deep within her. A knowledge and an understanding that can be threatening and intimidating to people. Some might try to shut me down. Some might try to excuse my thoughts because I am a woman. Some might dismiss my behavior and call me crazy for the feelings that I express. But, I can't help how I feel. This blog is primarily an expression of how I feel. It's goal is to connect with people and remind us that we are not alone. It is sought to be an expression of what I hold true; my belief that we all have similarities and stories that bind us to one another. That we have the ability to educate and guide each other. That we have a great responsibility to each other, which is to improve the world and protect each other from injustice.
Each of us are girls with books in our hands. We can be seen as a force to be reckoned with, and we must continue to educate and protect each other with that knowledge. I am thankful for people like Amy Poehler and Nicholas Kristof, and all those who continue to communicate and spread awareness. I am thankful for those that continue to speak up. And I am beyond thankful for all of those who continue to fight for education.
Copyright © 2018 Christine Drew Benjamin | All Rights Reserved