I just want to take a moment to thank all of you on this side of the rift.
Not so long ago, I might’ve ended up on the other. Our culture had battered me with so many messages about how women were and should be treated and should react to that treatment that I thought all that shit was normal. Upset because some dude cat-called you on the street? Chill out, girl! Didn’t get that promotion? Well, most women just can’t hack it like dudes can. Why did that idiot stay with her abuser? Why did she get drunk knowing she could get hurt? Where does she get off saying women aren’t equal – we totally are, and if we aren’t, well, it’s probably our fault, ladies! Hey, I’m one of the guys. I’m not like those girls.
Being one of the guys really can insulate you from a lot of bullshit. It also allows you to perpetuate the worst of our culture rather than recognizing problems and fixing them.
You brought me out of that.
Watching you fight the good fights, listening to you explain how it actually is, investigating the evidence you presented, woke me up to some ugly realities. Some of it I didn’t want to face, but watching you battle these entrenched attitudes and all this wrongness, I couldn’t let you do it alone. I couldn’t just stand by and let you struggle to make the world a better place by yourselves.
So yeah, I write a little about it. But the biggest difference you’ve made is in the way I approach other people in my life. There are things I don’t let slide now. There are myths I’m equipped to correct, and do. You showed me how, and you gave me the knowledge I needed, and the courage, and now because of you good people, there are some folks walking around in the world who are just that little bit more aware. Like me, they didn’t know. They didn’t know that so many of the things they’d heard were lies, exaggerations and stereotypes. But you’ve given me the resources to give to them that correct those errors. And a lot of people who were perpetuating those myths turn out to be good people, too, who are happy to change their minds, and grateful to know better.
We don’t often see the difference we’re making, down here in the trenches. Not with the chaff thrown up by those who like the status quo just fine, and don’t want to see it change, either because they don’t want to believe they’ve fallen for harmful lies, or because the present conditions give them advantages, or because they would have to face the harsh fact that they are in fact predatory assholes. Those folks are loud, and fling a lot of shit, and make it difficult to see the people who are quietly changing their minds.
You good people are changing the world. It takes time. It’s godsdamned bloody hard. Often seems like there’s no progress, and sometimes feels like it’s just getting worse. But don’t let despair lie to you. We’re getting there, even with the setbacks. The conversations we’re having now wouldn’t have been possible even a few months ago. People are speaking out who had no voice before.
I’m so glad you brought me around. I’m so grateful I was lucky enough to have been found by you. And I’m proud to be standing beside you.