I’m sitting in my normal writing spot at a coffee shop, and I’m trying to focus on writing fiction. To drift off into that space. To be productive and get something, anything done today.
But I cannot. The systematic dismissal of a woman’s experience is happening today. It’s bringing back every time, large and small, that my own experiences have been dismissed.
I take it some of it out on my husband for his use of male patronizing language … “Make sure you” … “You need to stop saying” … And my guy is one of the respectful ones. What’s going to happen to us as a nation if we can’t figure out how to communicate?
Yes, I recognize the progress America has made. I recognize that dismissal of women could be, relatively, worse. But as Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in Between the World and Me, (and forgive me for the paraphrase), America is supposed to be better when it comes to equality. To life and liberty. That is the point of our country.
Then “This Land is your Land” plays over the speakers. And I cry. Because I still believe in Woody’s words. Or I want to believe it.
Recently, I watched a video cover of the song “Gracie” by Ben Folds where fathers are shown interacting with their daughters, and I was reminded of the good in men, their beauty and compassion and care. I was encouraged not to post anything about this for fear it wasn’t the right time.
But when is the right time to recognize the goodness, the kindness in each other? The guys who walk their daughters across a freezing river on a camping trip just to give them an adventure? The guys who tear up during a video about female empowerment at a middle school tour?
These guys are out there. One lives in my house. Maybe part of the solution is to let men know.
We see you being kind.
We see you holding out your hand for your three-year-old.
We see you running behind the bike.
We see you with the fishing rod.
We see you fixing the broken necklaces and sewing the stuffed animals.
We see you writing songs for your loved ones.
We see you.
And we want you to know that the face of rage isn’t all men.
We see you.
And this land is our land.