The hurricane has been and gone. We lost a tree, but not life, limb, nor accommodation. We are lucky. We’ve been the lucky ones and even though there may be some unpleasant gardening related costs in our future … well, no-one died. And that’s not true across the country.
We were in the privileged position of not having to leave our house yesterday, and so we didn’t. Two people, in cars – they probably thought themselves safe – crushed by falling trees. You just don’t expect that.
I suppose we hardly ever really expect Death when ze finally comes calling. No matter how prepared we might think we are.
And now the unexpected boon of an extra day off work, right in the middle of my feeling exhausted and worn and a little sickly, so, cool? Yet more advantage for me, at the cost of others?
I’ve lived a privileged life. I mean really. From where and when I was born in the world through genetic gifts of intelligence and moderate enough looks (why do I feel the need to justify and qualify any self-complimenting? Especially around appearance. No, I’m not model material, but neither have I struggled with having people be attracted to me. I’m just fine 🙂 ).
I complain. Who doesn’t complain?! About the areas where I’m less than privileged: mental health, gender, not a whole lot else, but those two are biggies. I may not be in the 1% but I’m definitely in the 10%.
Anyway, the “Me Too” campaign picked up some momentum yesterday and I cycled through a whole range of emotions. Asking myself if I didn’t have bigger things to worry about. Feeling pissed off with the attempt of one man to be an ally whilst throughout his whole post referring to women as “females”. Feeling a bit annoyed with an unseen pressure to join in. Feeling guilt about not joining in, or bandwagoning if I did. I don’t have too much more to say about the whole thing at this point. I guess it’s notable that a lot of menfolk really did seem to take note, that they really hadn’t felt that YesAllWomen experience this to some degree or other. Even if they knew it academically, maybe seeing so many, such a variety of women saying “Me Too” and maybe that will have done something, something small – the seed of change that will grow into something bigger in the coming generations.
And it’s for us too, the womenfolk. Not just “we are not alone” but “this is not okay” and we don’t have to keep normalising it. We don’t have to keep accepting it and doing the dance of not disturbing the universe.
Maybe, and it’s probably true, those men who most need to hear it won’t. The strongest “OMG” responses have been coming from men who were already “The good guys”, and I’ve heard reports – though thankfully seen none of this personally – of people getting NotAllMened! and ButMenned! and even more direct attacks than just Seasoning – but I think these are the indignant howls of privilege under attack. A thousand memes may never change the minds of those staunch MRAs, or even those for whom the status quo is just dandy, thank you very much, who benefit to much from ever wanting things to change, who may never directly harm a woman physically, but who support rape culture in their minimisations and demeaning comments, and in everything they accept in the space around them.
I don’t think we’re going to change all of those minds in anyway quickly, but what we’ll do, and why it’s important that even the very best of us get better is that we’ll raise the average. And thus we’ll change the accepted norm, and it will stop taking “having a daughter” for men to want to treat women with respect.
And – back to all of my privilege – the same goes for me. Everything that I hope for good allies to women I need to cultivate in myself as an ally to people of colour and the LGBT community and probably loads of groups I’m not even woke enough to be aware of.
I need to notice and listen and believe. I need to not make a single excuse or start a single sentence with “But you have to …. ” or tone police or assume that my experiences in life can inform me about someone else’s.
Because I want a fairer world, I just do. And I may not change a whole lot in my lifetime, but I can sure as hell polish up my own little corner a bit better. I can be part of raising the average.