Saturday, December 25, 2010

Peace on earth and goodwill to Women

 (Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 25 December 2010)

What would the world be like today if it were three wise women who travelled with gifts to the see the king of the Jews in the Christmas story? What if the shepherds keeping watch over their flock by night were women and they were the ones who got to hear the angels announce the birth? What if it were a little drummer girl who played for the baby Jesus? What if a woman ruled the Roman world instead of Caesar Augustus?

At Christmas, why does everyone only make gingerbread men? If it were Grandpa who got ran over by a reindeer, would the song still be so funny? Why not build a Frosty the snow-woman? What if it were daddy who the kids saw kissing Santa Claus? And speaking of Santa, imagine how much more fun Christmas would be for little girls if there were a female version of Santa, too.

The good news is that, although traditional thought does not recognise it, all of Santa’s reindeer – Rudolf, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen – are female. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, “While both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid December. Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.” Therefore, according to every historical rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, every single one of them, from Rudolf to Blitzen … had to be a female.

Finally! We get to hear about some females during the holiday season (although I think many would still assume Santa’s reindeer are males). I think you get my point, though. Women are left out of all the traditional stories surrounding this celebration time of the year. This is just one celebration connected to one religion in our very big world, but it is a good example of how women have long been omitted from most historical accounts and traditional folklore.

The sole woman in the biblical account of the Christmas story is Mary, the mother of the baby Jesus. I am pretty sure the only reason Mary was included is because a woman was needed to give birth. However, think of how much better the miracle would have been if a man had given birth instead of a virgin. Just saying.

Moreover, if a woman was queen of Judea, instead of Herod being the king, I would bet my bottom dollar there would have been no order to kill all the little boys who were two years and younger so no baby king could rise to take the throne. My reasoning on this matter is similar to the reason I believe that if a woman were president of the US when George Bush went to war, there would have been no war – women seem to value the life of children more.

Therefore, I have decided to write my own holiday story that is all about women. Now don’t be mad, guys! You have plenty of stories, songs and prose about you. It is time for the women have some fun this Christmas. When you are reading my poem, please think of the classic poem by Clemens Moore, “Twas the night before Christmas.”

Twas the week before the New Year and all through the nation
Women were contemplating and pondering their station
What one does with one’s life is, after all, a great matter
So, best friends were consulted and thus began the chatter

One bright Girlfriend made it clear, girl don’t you marry for money
Yep, said another, as we all know, easy come easy go, honey
You gotta make your own way and be your own lady
‘Cause what happens if Mr. Right turns out to be Mr. Shady?

Don’t chase rude boys, said Bestie, they are nothing but trouble
If you think they are cute, you’d best change your mind on the double
Girlfriend said, hey, don’t forget to get yourself an education
That’s right said Sis, we know life ain’t no free vacation

Headaches and heartaches can be avoided when a girl thinks right
Don’t ditch girlfriends for a passing guy, keep your girls tight
A question is posed, but what if I find a guy who seems to care
Great answer Sis, you found someone with whom life you can share

But, said Bestie, you don’t give up your life to please someone else
If he truly loves you for you, he will want you to be yourself
He won’t ask you to give up your family, your career or your friends
He would never scare you, beat you and leave you to mend

Girlfriend said, my Christmas wish is that in the New Year
No women are physically or mentally tormented and living in fear
All the girlfriends piped in, yep, that is my Christmas wish too
As they gazed at the fairy lights, the feeling of love was strong and true

In her red dress, Santa stopped by to see the girls and drop off their gifts
Sis picked up a snow globe of Frostie the snow-woman – it gave her a lift
As did the smell of baking gingerbread women that wafted through air
The girlfriends gave a group hug; grateful for the friendship they shared

These were three very wise women; of that there was no doubt
These ladies know just who they are and what life is all about
The table was set, the candles aglow, food aplenty with all the trimmings
The girls joined hands and declared, peace on earth and goodwill toward women.

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