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“All my Sassy Ladies”

June 29, 2013

Yeah, this one goes out to the girls. I pay close attention to gender roles, maybe because of the focus on gender equality in the U.S. or because I am a woman; either way, I find them fascinating ways of reflecting a society’s norms and behavioral expectations. Since most of my living abroad experience to this point has been in predominately Muslim countries, I have gotten to see the unique ways that individuals have confronted society and religion on gender and equality.

Madagascar is a horse of a different color, and I am pleasantly surprised and encouraged by how equal women are here, at least in Ampondralava and compared to other places in the world. For instance, women are in charge of household finances. They also work equally as hard as men to bring food to the table from the field. A picture pops into my head every time I think about gender roles here. One evening, sitting with my neighbors, I watched as a young woman rode by on her bicycle in a hot pink spandex jumpsuit, rocking gold hoops, a 50 kg goony sack of rice balanced on the top bar of her bike. That is women’s empowerment in a nutshell here. Sexy. Stylish. Going the distance.

I feel right at home with the women in my community, all of whom have led much tougher lives then me, and all of whom are fierce, sassy, bold individuals. I have already come to love them and their spirit and am constantly inspired, amused, and in awe of it. I am so glad that I was brought up in a home where I was encouraged to speak my mind and think for myself. It has made me a strong and, some might say, salty, woman. I feel right at home with my Ampondralava ladies.

I guess I love all this sass because it makes me feel like there is an energy that I can tap into in my community and use it to (hopefully) make a difference for the bettter. So Beyonce loves “all the single ladies”, I love the sassy ladies All my Sassy Ladies!

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