The State of White Women
Erynn Brook

You made me cry. Here in Canada, safely distant from Trump. You made me cry.

I found out Trump had won in the mammography suite, from another patient. I almost fell over. I had been refusing to watch the news or look at FB for the past year bc he makes me physically nauseated. And for my (fragile) mental health. I continued to do so until a friend sent me a link to the Pussyhat Project.

Aha! This is something I could do! I am at home full time with a disability, and I also live in a small, white city a couple hours drive from anywhere that has marches or protests or anything. But I can crochet! I immediately cobbled together all the ends of pink yarn I could find and made a pussy hat. With pink tassels! I even couriered it to a pick up site in Toronto so that somebody could wear it to a march. $26! But it would represent me! I felt good. My sister asked me to make her a pussyhat, and I decided I wanted one for myself. This was great! A way I could contribute when I can’t go out and protest or organize or even meet new people.

Then that photo. And the explanation of how trans people felt that pussyhats were oppressive. “But they aren’t!” I wanted to cry! “You don’t have to have a pussy to wear one! They are for people who have a mental pussy! Who can see what is wrong with Trump and want to make sure he knows he is not wanted!”

But it was still there. Trans people and women of colour find them oppressive. I can’t just tell them, “No, you don’t bc I don’t want you to.” They just do.

And, of course, bc I am a white cis woman, it was all about me. I also struggle with Major Depressive Disorder which actually explains the depth of my reaction. I blamed myself and spent the next 3 days in bed crying. “How could I have done something so insensitive! Now I can’t contribute at all! I can’t do anything right!” Same old, same old. My demons.

When I came up for air, firstly, I tore apart the 3 hats I had made, oh so lovingly. Secondly, I decided I need more education. So for the last several weeks I have been reading. Educating myself on other people’s stories. Not just analysis from alternate perspectives. Those yes, but also the stories from people are don’t even have the luxury or time to think about perspectives and or time to change the world. People who are just surviving day to day. Now it is my DUTY to change the inside of my head to be able to SEE what is going on in the world. I can’t change it until I can SEE it.

And now you have given me an idea of what I can contribute to the cause (if I can get on the clinical trial for a new treatment and it actually works), when I get out there at the protests, organizing, contributing again. I’m a former labour activist who has negotiated contracts, talked management down from firing people, inserted myself between male union members and hecklers to keep them from coming to blows, so being a Nice White Lady shouldn’t be a stretch for me. It’s good to know I have some use again (yes, I am also working on my self-worth issues, but that’s a different article).

Thanks so much for this!

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