Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Interrupt a man.

My sweet little privileged boys playing in the show!
Every woman I know is on fire lately. Whether that means finally seeking out therapy or finally calling out nonsense and bad behavior when you see it, it means a change is not just a'coming; it is a'here. And I LOVE IT. It's empowering and it's a weight off my shoulders I never realized was there.

When my second-born was revealed to have a penis, I was incredibly relieved. I knew, right then, that his life would be significantly better than if he'd been born with a vagina. I knew that I'd have an easier job as a parent, not having to explain every nuance of dressing, catcalling, expressing yourself, being careful, being smart in class, but not raising your hand all the time -- all those things that women have dealt with and all the burdens we have shouldered. In that same moment of relief, I also felt massive responsibility to try to make these fortunate middle-class white males I would raise to try to understand just a fraction of what women go through on a day to day basis.

My #metoo anger comes out in frustration sometimes. My 5-year-old will behave like a typical impatient 5-year-old and interrupt me. When I'm feeling ragey, I'll respond, "NEVER INTERRUPT A WOMAN." I know that "never interrupt" would be good enough, but I add those two words because I feel some need to over-correct thousands of years of systemic sexism. My sweet boy is told not to refer to game pieces as "guys" or animals at the zoo as "him," because I want him to learn that "male" is not the default. I also want him to be a strong leader, but to recognize his own privilege -- and that he must offer helping hands to those not beginning life on a pedestal. When his friends in his preschool get upset that I make all the monkeys jumping on the bed GIRLS ("she fell off and bumped her head"), I feel a little smile of "now you know what it's like!" before obviously remembering that the 3-year-olds are not, in fact, the enemy.

But their parents are! Even if it's me.

Today I ask you to interrupt a man -- or at the very least call them out. Speak up for us. I've seen too many men out there going on and on about things they clearly don't understand, assuming that our powers are balanced from the get-go. They are not. If you're an artist on a bill with almost entirely men, SAY SOMETHING. Promoters seem to think that if they throw a few women on a festival line-up that they are being woke and making sure there is representation. That's not good enough! Don't make us compete with each other for a few token spots, while a bunch of white guys get to play the same three chords with the same beards and same flannel shirts and have the arts scene be okay with that. Don't make us sound ungrateful when we *are* the token woman: SAY SOMETHING. Don't sit back and agree with me on Facebook without doing anything about it: SAY SOMETHING.

And of course -- same goes for race. I'm not perfect, but I'm trying to get better. Know better, do better. If you didn't know before, now you do. It's okay to improve yourself. That's what we're all out to do, right?


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