Recently, I’ve been researching my ancestry. While uncovering all the layers and connections in my heritage has been thrilling, I’m also dismayed at how hard it is to find out about the women in my lineage. Census data is often centered around the head of the household, aka the cis gendered man.
The way we keep time, in a white masculine centered linear way, has erased many people from our history. When researching part of my husband’s heritage, a person of color in the US appears as a great grandparent during the time of 1800s Louisiana, but outside of knowing that — this ancestor was not named. Therefore, this person is and will remain unknown forever.
Naming and labelling is what people, like me, do as we comb through archives and give documents and people and chronologies context. Yet, what happens when we look over a person or an experience because of gender, race, or status?
They, or it, gets erased from history — erased from our personal history.
Or, on a more optimistic note, they get hidden and maybe one day one of us will stumble upon the information and know where to put it in history.
This is why keeping time and managing time is of importance, now. You can’t change how the system was set up in the past.
Yet, to take a feminist stance now is to commit to changing how we fundamentally understand time. As Elena Glasberg says: “Feminism is often understood as the movement produced to counter a masculinized historical normativity, much as the postcolonial arrives late — after the breakup of the empire — to both political consciousness and knowledge production.” *
Let me pause here to say, when I talk about time management I don’t mean ticking off your list of things to accomplish. I define time management as the intricate system of managing your life, how you live every day, and therefore what legacy you will be leaving for future generations to come.
While we live and walk in a world that is flawed, binary to a fault, and often unforgivable in it’s horrid ways of understanding humanity — I truly believe we can make a change, now.
The path to understand the feminist in all of us is clear: to break out of the patterns of old that has left us or anyone invisible. Now we’re all being called to reconfigure time and how we use it.
How will you answer the call today?
* Elena Glasberg. “Refusing History at the End of the Earth: Ursula Le Guin’s “Sur” and the 2000-01 Women’s Antarctica Crossing.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 21, no. 1 (2002): 99-121., page 100 Accessed July 15, 2020. doi:10.2307/4149218.