I’ve shared many times before about the grief and betrayal I feel about women’s oppression.
It is still shocking to me that, for MILLENNIA, men have had the appalling belief they could OWN women. That, spanning many religions and cultures, men have claimed women are NOT HUMAN BEINGS and that they did NOT POSSESS A SOUL. That women had to ASK PERMISSION for the most BASIC things like opening a bank account. That hitting your wife was a completely LEGAL thing to do 100 years ago. That IN MY LIFETIME, raping your wife was perfectly acceptable.
Women have been betrayed and consumed by their men, who were supposedly the “protectors”.
Now, I am observing a much different, much more uncomfortable role of my own. This time, I AM IN THE OPPRESSIVE MAJORITY, with a long history of abuse. It is likely my ancestors before me were not kind to people of color. It is likely they were cruel and entitled. Why would I say that? Because probability says so. It was the norm and they weren’t exempt.
Much of the unthinkable oppression that happened to women, happened tenfold to people of color. And, they are still dealing with inequalities and oppression as we witnessed in the despicable George Floyd murder.
So, here is the reflection I cannot shake.
There are very specific ways I desire men to show up in healing the collective sexist trauma we have all experienced. There are actions that show me true caring, support, and desire for my own equality. These are the same ways I get to show up for my fellow people of color.
I want to be heard. I want men to listen with compassion and patience, not defensiveness. I don’t want to be told my trauma doesn’t matter now because it was in the past.
I want to be seen as a human being, not as an object. I want men to admire my mind, ideas, heart, and passion, instead of my body or resources to consume.
I want to be seen as my own source of empowerment, not as needing another savior. I don’t want to hear about men “empowering women” through their kind words and actions. I want to hear about men confident about women empowering themselves through their own grit and resiliency.
I want men to care enough to get educated about their own subconscious fucked up patriarchal programming. I don’t want to hear about how I should be happy now that it’s not as bad. I don’t want to hear about how you’re not part of the problem because you don’t rape women.
I want to be defended when I am not present. I want men to call others out who make “locker room comments”. I want men to be brave enough to hear “Lighten up man. It was just a joke”, and “You don’t have to take it so seriously”, and “You femme or something?” and “You’re such a homo.” I want men to have the courage to hear these things without flinching when they take a stand for women.
I want men to SPEAK UP, publicly, about fucked up norms like male entitlement, men’s violence, and attempts to control or suppress women. I don’t want them to minimize or dismiss it. I don’t want them to see it as a private issue, but a collective one.
I want men to be leaders in male groups where my voice does not carry. I don’t want them to be shy or hidden about their allegiance to LOVING women, not just consuming them. Silence in relationships and groups of assumed male supremacy feels like a continuation of generations of betrayal.
The things I want from MEN as women begin to heal generations of sexism get to guide ME in the way I get to SHOW UP in this race conversation. All of the above things I WANT translate to the way I get to BE. None of us get healing without radical responsibility for our own shadows and wounds. How are YOU going to SHOW UP? facebook.com/groups/iamunapologetic