Part I: Grandmother Versus Daughters
My three daughters and I stayed up late to watch the Eurovision song contest the other night. We thought that since Israel had high chances of winning, we should be there to support Netta Barzilai, the young, energetic, and out of the box singer that Israel chose to represent it at the Eurovision.
We were proud of Netta and Israel with its alternative choice.
I appreciate Netta and stand for her message of accepting the differences among us. Still, my teen age daughters remind me in a critical and hurt voice how I—their mother—brainwash them weekly that they should exercise, lose weight, be fit and look good.
Looking and feeling good is a family value passed down to me from my grandmother Yvette who during the summer season in Greece she would get up early in the morning, go for a swim at the Vouliagmeni beach of Athens and only then would she get to her shop "Creations Yvette" in downtown Athens feeling in great shape.
Yvette's bodily and mental shape was boosted with the morning swim, and she placed it high on her day's agenda!
My daughters accuse me that I am not progressive enough, in that I have not shed, nor let go of the expectation for me and my daughters to have a thin, fit looking appearance.
In holding this perspective, they argue, I am not enlightened enough to assert to the world that neither my size, looks, nor external appearance limit me.
And this is in my mind Netta's stage message and I repeat it for it to sink in every cell, muscle, and tissue of my and your body as I find it to be healing to all women: I won't let my size, looks, and appearance be a limit to what is possible for me!
Part II: In Pursuit of "I Am Not Your Toy" Messages
"I am not your toy" argues that women have not been created to amuse, entertain, and please men. Netta and fellow women are not here so that men will play with us as their toys. Women are not men's toys.
"Look at me, I'm a beautiful creature," Netta asserts. And in this I think Netta means look at me not only externally; the whole of who I am is beautiful. I am beautiful inside and beautiful outside, and if you are judging me and other women only by our looks you are missing the point, and being stupid.
"I think you forgot how to play." We learn life as kids through play.
We explore different characters, and take freedoms.
The freedom to be young, old, dress up, try out a different gender, age, race and this role playing, this authentic playing builds us. It builds our bodies when we climb up on trees, and play outdoors and builds our characters.
Playing is essential to who we are, and when we only play on our smartphones, what results is the line, "you're stupid just like your smartphone."
Part III: The End of Patriarchy
Patriarchy; Patriarchy it seems also stood on the difference in body size and strength between men and women. Men were the big, heavy and strong and women were the smaller and weaker in terms of physical strength.
But we are not just our bodies, we are creatures, who have bodies, but are in essence beyond the physical. Our woman power lies not just on our physical strength, but also on our emotional, spiritual and mental build up.
Patriarchy is crumbling.
"I am not your toy" is about women taking their deserved place in the world, not as toys but as beautiful creatures, who have come here to bring their share of wisdom and leadership, contribute their gifts and creativity, side by side with men.
Patriarchy is crumbling in that women are refusing to be used and abused, and assert their right to be fully themselves and in their power.
"I am not your toy." It is no wonder that the song placed first with tele voters in the Eurovision song contest, as people chose the message that resonates with their hearts. Let us hear it loud and clear.
Women have come here to play too, share our gifts too in life's playground. We won't settle for less than playing as equal partners, hand in hand with fellow women and men.