The Facts of Life

Bessie Coleman

I mention this often in my writing. That saying that goes something like this: The winners get to (re)write the history. If you’ve been a critical thinker, and done some self-exploration as well as educated yourself beyond schoolbooks and curriculum you are also aware that those historical narratives play fast and loose with the Truth more often than not.

I like to calls things as I sees them. Things that I have been told, things that I have seen with my own two eyes, experiences that I have had have run contrary to the historical narrative since I was a child. I noticed. I had questions. Sometimes I asked them of my parents, sometimes I asked them of my teachers. A lot of the time I went and found out for myself. But I found out.


In my previous ABW blog I posted a link to a story that was talking about how oppression for women took on the shape of banning women from riding on motor scooters, bicycles etc – at least ASTRIDE – which was the heart of the matter. I’m sure they could hitch a lift from a male and keep both her legs to one side and be fine under that law.

I’ve always looked askance at the side-saddle. Information on which I linked to next to point out, that before anyone talk about “third world countries” and their “backward ways”, at the height of everything that was deemed “civilized” and “right in the world and in the sight of God”- ie Western European Culture/Countries – women were pretty much banned from riding ASTRIDE then too.

Fact of Life: Women’s genitalia doesn’t hang outside the protection of the body all vulnerable. When we ride astride, on or horse or a motorcycle or anything else, we don’t hold the lives of future children we might have in constant jeopardy.

Severe vulnerabilities like that might could be called a weakness, or a liability. If anything, side-saddles and suchlike – including bans of riding things ASTRIDE – should be levied on those with what also could be construed as a significant design flaw – instead of on those who have no such weakness or liability or flaw.

I rode horses as a child. One of my first dreams was to become a jockey or a cowgirl. So I learned and studied about tack and understood about the history of horses and humans and thus learned about the side-saddle and you want to know what my first reaction was? I giggled because I thought it was the silliest invention I’d ever heard of up to that point. I stopped giggling when I realized that it wasn’t a saddle designed and created for people riding horses during that era, but specifically for FEMALE people.

Designed by the winners – MALE – who decided quite erroneously and for reasons not logical that it was us who needed to, and should utilize such a contraption. And a dangerous contraption it was too. The winners were fine with putting their FEMALE horse riders in increased risk on their say-so. Think about THAT.



A writing of an historical narrative might go something like this: We came, we conquered because those people were so uncivilized, heathen and unsophisticated. And we are the better type of people because how else would we have conquered?

When the Facts of Life say different. Read Guns, Germs and Steel or watch the documentary taken from same if you don’t already know.

But also of note in case you don’t know: What is deemed “civilized” and “heathen” and “better” is also determined by the winners. There were sophisticated civilizations that rivaled and in many cases surpassed Western notions of civilization that came so much later. Some that cannot even be replicated to this very day.

And what arrogance to assume no connection with the Divine ie heathen simply because you are blind to see or refuse to recognize a deep religious life because it takes a different form than your own!

End of Interlude.


Let us say that we live in an advanced society. I could narrow the field and stick to just my country – USA – but if you are reading this from whatever corner of the globe you happen to be in – you are living in an advanced society. Having access to the internet is privilege. We might like to think that damn near everyone is hooked in, but the reality is pretty clear. The Digital Divide I believe it is called.

But let us say we are indeed in an advanced society. Technologically at least. Some might say that the sexes need each other in order to procreate. In this advanced society, that notion becomes less and less.

For example. There might very well be enough genetically varied sperm in all the banks planet-wide to keep the human race viable and continuing if for some sci-fi reason or other every male suddenly disappeared overnight.

There was a while in high school years and also a bit during college where I dabbled with the idea of becoming a geneticist. I was fascinated by that field of study. I subscribed to the journals, I studied texts outside of any assigned curriculum and I learned.

I found a few studies that were done that showed that meiosis – sex cell division – had been initiated in experiments not by introducing sperm to egg, but by a spark of electricity. I’m not sure where those experiments might have gone, and if they were even followed up on or expanded upon.

The winners that rule the sciences wouldn’t want to follow a path of knowledge that renders them obsolete in the procreation process, I can imagine. I did a rough check. I couldn’t find anything. Although I do know the field that is working on wombs other than a female human being to hold, develop and bring forth human life continues. Interesting that.


The winners might put forth narratives that continue to keep the losers in their place. Even if most if not all of their narrative veers from the factual. It is not about accurate information, but doing what needs to be done to keep the winners in their places of power.

Attention is focused on serving the winners. What is deemed of lesser value, has less attention focused on it. For example. It wasn’t until quite recently, that it was “discovered” that females present distinctly different symptoms of heart attack than males.

Until then the default for determining if a human being was undergoing a heart attack was based entirely on male physiology. You may not want to think about how many women have died because of that, but I think you should. The winners had decided what to focus on.

In this country the statistics for maternal death are proportionately out of sync with what our overall level of medical sophistication indicates. What that shows is where the focus is. And where it is not. The medical field is fraught with hierarchy. Pediatrics, for example is deemed the “place” for female doctors. It is a field that is considered less than, say the surgical field. Less study, schooling, funding is spent in those areas deemed of lesser value.

Which brings me back to side-saddles. Heaven forefend females part their legs and ride ASTRIDE! Let us put them at increased risk of injury and death by making them use a side-saddle. Because that makes so much sense.

Pulling focus from, assigning less status to a field of science that does nothing but aid in the continuation of the human species because… well you figure out why. The same logic behind the reasons for and the use of the side-saddle are in play. To the detriment of human health and continuation. Perhaps a bit of hyperbole, but you get my point.

Cutting of your nose to spite your face, basically.


I write this today because I was woken up well before sunrise by my own mind mulling over THIS ARTICLE.

I wrote about this recently, and in truth, I touch on this often. As things stand right now, there is no way for a female to become Pope. I imagine, like the priesthood, there is a hierarchy among nuns. Popes are drawn from the position of Cardinal, by other selected Cardinals.

There should be an equal representation in numbers by whatever the female equivalent is (but I bet there actually isn’t but bear with me), and that position whatever it is, or maybe has to be created, can be in contention, like the Cardinals for the position of Pope.

It won’t happen in my lifetime if ever. The winners in that religious institution are fully entrenched, and it would take a serious paradigm shift for that to even begin to be conceived of, much less actually happen.

And all because…. why? That is what I want people to start to think about. To not simply knee-jerk react to my words. To take the weeks and months of introspection, research, prayer and discussion among those close and important to you in your life.

Pilots and Pontiffs.

It used to be inconceivable that a woman could fly a plane. 

Tell that to Bessie Coleman.

Sister Simone of Nuns On The Bus seems like she’d make an excellent Pope.


Now is the time for silent contemplation. Maybe what you were taught is not the accurate picture. Maybe what is in the history books, holds not the bare facts but are simply missives from the winners.
Find out about the lives of those who didn’t get to write their own stories. Now they have. So go read them. If you see one slice of something, expand your horizons and go explore the rest of the pie.
Now is the time for silent introspection, for quiet study, for face to face conversations with those people in your life. You might be surprised at what you learn when you just sit down with someone and ask them about their life, what they think about something, and what their perspectives are.
Humble yourself, and know that as varied and deep as your life experience might be, there is always room to learn more, and gain more. Listen more than you speak. Study on what you do not know.
Take a second and third look from other perspectives on what you think you already know. 
Quiet. Contemplation. The Silence of Learning.

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