A Page, A Brush, A Match...

At Alter Atlas, every day is International Women's Day. And we don't say that dismissively. We say it because we're dead set serious about it. Which is why we're writing this when you can hear us. One day after. Because it is easy to muster a powerful response to moral stimuli, but for them to retain their effect requires the development of a consciousness in which there is a new priority of values.

While the men around me paraded their guns, and were either whining, absent, grunting, or drunk, I was raised by four extremely intelligent, powerful, strong, independent women - My mom, my two aunts, and my grandmother. It is true that we need more public, female role models. Although, for me since the beginning, every woman I've met in my life had been admirable, intelligent, capable, strong women (and that's before you even ask them about what they've been through). Every male role model that I've had I have only ever read about in books or saw on the screen. So it was clear to me quite early that women represented real strength, and this male machismo hubris was a fair distance away from reality - my reality. We need only but to look around us.

My late aunt passed away from breast cancer, a rare disease in men. When my grandfather passed away, I remember my late grandmother hand calligraphed (yes, with brush and ink) his favourite book, word for word, page for page, on large sheets of paper. I don't remember her crying, but I remember she became quiet. For months, almost a year, I remember her stoic determination to finish writing the book, and she surrounded herself with these brushes, ink, and large sheets of white, translucent paper in her bedroom. All she would do was write, eat, sleep, and write again. You can imagine hand writing a book in Chinese characters is a little more complicated than writing one in English. After she finished a chapter, she would burn it, in silence. And she would continue to the next chapter. (The Chinese believe when you burn an item as an offering to the dead, they will receive it in the afterlife, a belief that can be witnessed across several other cultures).

That was and still is one of the strongest and most romantic gestures I've ever witnessed. And I personally don't know any man, myself included, who would have been even capable of doing the same.

I was seven.

In many ways, the world has changed since then. In many ways, it has remained the same.

Without women, Alter Atlas would not exist.

Any strength that we have, we have inherited from women.

Here's to creating the world where gender equality is a given, not an argument.

That's the world we want to live in.

 Fearless Girl. Bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbal. Photo by Federica Valabrega

Fearless Girl. Bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbal. Photo by Federica Valabrega


Steven Chu