You may have noticed that I have once again been writing less. I wrote the intro to a series on Pixar shorts and then fell off the internet until Halloween. So, FYI, the series is still coming, but right now I’m having a hard time writing about much of anything and today you get to hear why.
I am angry.
Since the Kavanaugh hearings I have been on a low boil. It takes little to nothing to set me off right now. I watched Dr. Blasey Ford’s story play out with little surprise. I knew exactly how it would end. This story is overdone and predictable. It plays out every day in my life and in the life of the women I know. We all have stories of attack, abuse, and trauma. We all know that those stories will be diminished in order to preserve the narrative of the patriarchy. Nothing that happens to us is more important then the overall well-being of a man, particularly a white man over a certain age. We know that. Surprisingly, that’s not where my anger is coming from. My anger is rooted in the response of the ‘nice’ guys, the ‘woke’ guys, the ‘my daughter deserves better’ guys, because their reaction is no reaction at all.
I didn’t realize this was what was going on until I saw a friend post a link of Facebook. There was a song that came out in reference to comments about how hard it is to be a ‘boy’ right now. The song talked about some (far from all) the accommodations women make to their lives to stay safe. His response, “I had no idea it was this bad.” Really? REALLY?!? Where have you been living the fifty years of your life? Where has your head been that you have not heard the stories of sexual harassment in the work place? What language do you speak that you’ve never heard the term ‘casting couch’? Have you never left your house to hear the derogatory comments, pick up lines, and cat calls? Do you not watch tv and hear our politicians demean women? Have you seen no movies that depict women as objects to be acquired no matter what they might want? Have you never heard of date rape, dick pics, or online harassment? Where have you been? Because if you really don’t know about all these things, I want to live there too. The reality is, of course, is that I can’t live there. He lives in Dude-land where these things do exist, but they do not impact his life. I wonder if he asked his wife, daughter, sister, and mom if they knew things were that bad.
I am angry because there is no longer any excuse for the ‘nice guys’ of the world to pretend they don’t know this stuff is happening. It is no longer enough for guys to not behave inappropriately. It’s great that you don’t harass women on the street or put your hands on strangers. Good for you that you never made derogatory comments or threatened a woman’s job or safety because she wasn’t interested in you. It’s good that you can take no for an answer. It’s not enough. It’s time to man up.
It’s time to call out other men on their behavior. It’s time to have women’s backs. It’s time to listen and believe. It’s time to let go of the femme fatale myth and the notion that women accuse men of violence and assault because there’s something in it for them. It’s time to hear all the stories even when they make you uncomfortable. More than that, it’s time to hold other men accountable. It’s time to come out of Dude-land. It’s scary out here but you can do it.
You can walk with us in the anger and the fear. You can take the backlash from the other dudes. You can decide that there is another narrative besides the one of male privilege. You can let go of just a little bit of your safety so someone else can get more. Wake up! Pay attention! In the famous words from “Mulan”, Be a man.