I see you. I have noticed your awkwardness. I hear your defensiveness in the way you construct your words or hide behind your best actions. It must be a little scary to not know how to act or what to say. I can imagine that must feel very unfamiliar. Especially since so many women have been trained (mostly by each other) to reassure you continually. I bet many of you didn’t know that. I can’t even tell if that is your fault, but I am mad about it and I don’t know who else to blame.
That's the thing, I am tired of blaming myself. I think we all are. So we need you to let us be mad at you. We need you to remember your goodness, on your own without our help even if you have made mistakes. You have to love yourself enough to hang on to your integrity at all times. You must do this even when and especially when you fuck up so big time you can’t stand to see yourself in the mirror. We need you to grow roots in these moments and stand tall and strong, so that we can rage in your face with the force of a hurricane until we are done.
If you can do this, If you can stay, It is very possible that we will want to stand with you when its all over. You will have walked through a fire with us and we won’t forget it. We will all be changed.
You will loose some things. It will make you sad. You men will all need to learn how to love each other for real. You will have to tend to each other as we women decide one at a time to give up that job and tend to ourselves. That might not sound fair. Maybe it isn’t, but neither is sexism. To be perfectly honest, none of us (including you) can survive another moment of this hideous oppression.
I don’t know if you guys know this, but carrying out all of the jobs of maintaining sexism in the world has been very hard on you. I need you to trust me, that you will feel better without it.
All of us have witnessed the absurd devices that men have employed to suppress feminine power. It looks exhausting. It looks like there is a cost of self for every tool you buy from the devil’s store to maintain this system. You have had to rely on weapons of economics, sexuality, religion, physical strength, mental trickery, and many others. Every time one of these weapons is used, men grow more confused. Aren’t y'all tired of that? Men, don’t you want your mind back? I truly want that for you.
I have noticed the altruistic ways that many men allowed their spiritual belief systems oblige them to participate in the systematic oppression of women. I have seen you enjoy your free time and you extra cash while I agonized over working late nights after taking care of my family only to make $0.78 on the dollar (or worse). Many of us women have been beaten, raped, lied to, denied the rights to make decisions about our own fucking bodies and futures, we have been endangered by modern child birth, we are still sold into slavery and on and on and on.
We have been kept busy scared and quiet. So maybe you didn’t notice? Or maybe you did but didn’t know how to extract your self from your position of privilege do anything about it.
Have you ever asked what you personally would have to give up or endure to live in a world without sexism? I am wondering (and I think you should know for yourself) what you are willing to let go of in order to have equality for me.
Listen, stay with me here. I see you and I still love you. I am just pissed. I have not forgotten that men have been seduced and manipulated by privilege. I can imagine (because I am white and have my own work to do here) how hard it is to want to extract yourself from it. I am fully aware that you have been experiencing the world differently from me. You see things differently.
Men, if we could trade places for a bit, it would be amazing! I would miss the closeness I have with all the women around me. You would get to know what it is like to be required to hold the wellness of other beings above your own. I could walk through the world without implicit obligation. I would know the horrors of war in a way I can now only imagine. You would know the tortures and joys of the female body. You would understand what it is to organize your thoughts around the possibility of assault at any moment. You would wonder if you were too fat or too thin or too blonde or too female or not female enough or if men liked you or women liked or if you should do something to be more anything. I imagine I would think of a ton of shit once my mind was done with all of that.
So listen, for what it’s worth, I still don’t blame you. I don’t actually think you asked for this construct. However, sexism is a problem that needs to be solved.
So, if you are a guy and you are wearing a “Time’s Up” pin or you support the #metoo movement or you are just trying to be a good dude, I am asking you to stay while we figure this out. If you are a man and you hear a woman tell her story about any kind of sexism she has experienced, please stay and listen and hold space. If you are a man and you get accused of being sexist, clumsy, pervy, aloof, complicit, quiet, handsy, abusive…etc., please stay and listen. If you are a man and you hear a story that a woman tells about her experience and you don’t believe her or you think she is wrong or you think she just wants attention, give her the fucking attention please.
We women as a group, historically, have not had much experience in telling our stories of sexual harassment, abuse and inequality. Many of you thought you were doing right by us the whole time and nobody told you otherwise. As you can imagine, we have not been trained to notice or speak of sexism. So many varieties of abuse and oppression have just looked normal to us for so long, we need to bring our stories to life so we can study them and to try and understand them. We can be expected to be in inelegant at times. Elegance is not a luxury we can afford in this moment. Please stay and help us process it. I believe it will be good for us both.
PS - Also, can you please not tell us we are doing it wrong, or correct us. We will work it out. We totally got this.