I know that the work we do — whether we’re professional activists, or just people trying to make the world better in our everyday lives — can sometimes be frustrating and discouraging, and can feel like we’re beating our heads against a wall. So I thought I’d share this email I just got from someone who responded to my recent pledge drive. It’s making me spring about the apartment going, “I can do this! I’m making a difference! This is totally worth it!” I hope it does the same for some of you.
I had already written this before I made my donation, but I hadn’t gotten around to checking it for the eleventieth time and sending it (perhaps it would have made more sense to do it the other way around, but hey):
After thinking a lot about how I was going to say this (and editing it about a thousand times, because this will probably be written so terribly no matter what I do), I just wanted to say thankyou. My contribution for PZ’s “why I am an atheist”, with my not-so-sneaky thankyou to you, might not get posted for, well, forever. So, I thought the least I can do is bother to email you personally.
Along with Jen, you’ve been a major factor in my coming to feminism, and as a man, coming to see my privilege for what it is (and more importantly, breaking through the denial after that realisation). You’ve also been amazingly insightful and interesting when it comes to sexuality, which as someone who’s straight also brings out another area of privilege for me. That, and making me think about my own sexuality, and being reassured that having different aspects of my sexuality and preferences that differ from the “expected” way (ie. moderate conservative, like society is here in the rural parts of the UK, or expected “normal” male sexuality) is not a bad thing.
Anyway, I can definitely say my life is a measurable amount better thanks to you to the point where a simple “thankyou” doesn’t really cut it. Being a person lacking in social confidence, surrounded by people who almost all have opposite worldviews to your own is difficult at times, but that’s why I love the internet. I hope you keep on blogging (and everything else) for a long, long time, because you’ve made a huge difference so far (especially for me).
Jim — thank you so much. This is what I live for. You totally made my day.
It’s especially encouraging — as it so often is — to hear men say they appreciate the writing and the work that I, and so many other people, are doing about feminism. The fights in the atheosphere and skeptosphere about feminism and sexism and misogyny have been painful and ugly, and I know a lot of us get very down about it. It’s really good to be reminded that the work is paying off, and that lots of people are getting their minds and their hearts changed.
We can do this. We’re making a difference. This is totally worth it.