A Fight For Equality This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   First let me introduce myself, then I'll tell you my story. My name is Medusa. I know, it's rather strange for someone to name their child after such a wicked creature, but, believe it or not Mother had good intentions. You see three days before I was born Father was sent out by the Duke to kill the evil Medusa. In the end he was killed and Mother, deep in sorrow, named me Medusa so I would always carry the memory of the father I never knew. Also, I have thick curly, black locks which always remind everyone of Medusa's poisonous tresses.

Now, getting back to my story, a very dear friend of mine, Hildegarde had just been packed off to a nunnery because she wouldn't marry the old, gnarled man who served as her grandfather's assistant. Let me just mention that I, Hildegarde, and a few other girls had been meeting secretly discussing the evils of being discriminated against by men. Our name was Women of Athens Against Deadly Dictatorial Laws or WAADL for short. When the news of Hildegarde's tragic fate spread, we were outraged. We called an emergency meeting and decided to act. "We're sick of being pushed around by those pigheaded men. It's time we let them know how we feel. Girls, we have got to get revenge for Hildie!" shouted O'Deana, our leader.

We decided to chant our demands in front of the upcoming wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, where there would be many people. We met at the front of the palace one hour before the guests. It was quite a sight, all of us girls with our hair cut and wearing garments secretly removed from our fathers' wardrobes. I know everyone was nervously wondered what would come of our sudden revolt

At last the guests arrived and we began as planned. We stood, not allowing anyone to enter, and chanted in deafening tones our demands for equal rights for men and women. I stood with my sign reading "WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE: EQUAL RIGHTS FOR MEN AND WOMEN!!!"

At first I was nervous at the sight of gaily dressed women staring at us, flabbergasted. Then I was defiant and depressed at the sound of horrid laughter from the males. After hearing these men, many of the women joined our chants, which boosted my hopes. There were still many women who stood with the wicked men, but that didn't bother us. All we cared about were the women who were joining us. The Duke, hearing all the commotion, rushed to the palace gate to see what madmen were raising such a ruckus on this nuptial day. The Duke was shocked to find the women causing the riot. He immediately called for his guards who, on arrival, dragged us off to the stocks and locked up up.

The wedding continued, as planned while we remained trapped. Of course, we kept on chanting. As the people returned home after a day of revels, they stopped before us. We assumed that they had come to hear us, so we continued chanting, growing steadily louder.

Unfortunately, we were mistaken. They pulled apples and grapes and other rotten fruits from their pockets which they began tossing at us. We were scared, but we stood our ground, continuing to shout our pleas. That's what they had become now, pleas. We knew they would not listen to our demands so we stooped so low as to beg for the freedom that the boys our age took for granted.

Eventually the crowd moved on homeward, and we were left out in the cold. The beautiful, sunny day was slowly changing into a dark, windy night. No, it didn't rain; it poured. "The Gods are pouring buckets of rain of us as punishment for our evil behavior," whimpered some of the women who were quickly becoming unfaithful to our cause. Finally after a long night, in which none of us slept, the Duke arrived to tell us our options.

"Either you will apologize for this masquerade and promise never to speak such nonsense, or you will be killed. Each of you can decide for yourself. If your life is precious to you then you will do the right thing," said Theseus. Immediately many of the women apologized and promised never to commit such a sin again; but some of us were faithful to poor Hildegarde and refused to apologize. Mind my words, some. More than two-thirds of the women had taken the cowardly option.

My mother arrived soon afterward with my uncle, Andreas. Uncle Andreas told the Duke that there was no way he could kill me because I was just a child. "A girl of sixteen cannot distinguish the difference between good and bad," said he. He had another strong argument, "What would possess a child with such a wholesome background to act so crazily? Nothing could. Nothing but a villainous name like Medusa." The Duke agreed.

So here I am at home with my mother. I am twenty now and I have refused to get married. Of course that doesn't really matter, because no man would want to marry a feminist. I also refuse to cook and clean, leaving my poor mother to do all the work. Thank you, Mother. Thank you very much for taking care of me. Only one thing has changed since the riot. My name is no longer Medusa. Everybody felt that I must have a new name because Medusa is so evil. So I have been re-named Portia. Of course nobody would consider my feelings about this name change because I am only a girl. I think Portia is a very beautiful name, but I still call myself Medusa. So if ever I am mentioned in a history book, please call me Medusa. I have written this, the story of one very important incident that has changed my whole life, because I know that in the future there will be many other women who will share my beliefs. Some will be scared of the men and therefore will do nothing to change the world, but others will not be afraid and they will stand up against all mankind. This is for them. Good luck and my God help you fight for our cause until there is a time when the only differences between men and women will be merely physical. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Hayley S. said...
Apr. 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm
W-O-W!!! i loved the moral you rapped your story around and i liked how you were very real-life in that women won't win on the first try! I can't wait to read more of your work!
 
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