But You Have Brothers

On the internet, I said “men are garbage.”
And they said,
“But Meghan, you have brothers.”

No matter if I’m in Maine or in Chicago, I get catcalled most days, like my body is the rent I pay to exist in this world.
And they say,
“But Meghan, you have brothers.”

One in five women has been raped. And instead of compassion and support, the conversation turns to skirt length and blood alcohol content, when the one thing that all rapes have in common is a rapist.
And they say,
“But Meghan, you have brothers.”

A person’s income is affected by their race, sexuality, gender, and disability, and then we’re told that the pay gap doesn’t exists.
“But Meghan, you have brothers.”

More breath has been given to asking if #MeToo has gone too far than asking ourselves how our culture has allowed those men into positions of power. We question the survivors: Why didn’t you say something sooner? While every internet comment proves WHY.
“But Meghan, you have brothers.”

I distrust men in positions of power, because a teacher spent a whole year harassing me. And another made me feel responsible for being sexually harassed onstage.
“But Meghan, you have brothers.”

I’m damned if I have kids. And I’m damned if I don’t.
“But Meghan, you have brothers.”

Government is largely male, largely white, largely straight, largely cis, and yet, they have the authority to tell us what to do with our bodies. And when we run for office to correct this glaring disparity, we are too shrill, too ambitious, bitchy, bossy. We want it too much, but, also, somehow, not enough. And we stand under the biggest glass ceiling, still unbroken, having to remind young girls that their dreams matter while a man who has bragged about sexually assaulting women prepares to take the oath of office.
“But Meghan, you have brothers.”

We live in a culture that thrives and profits off of women’s silence.
“But Meghan, you have brothers.”

We live in a culture that seeks to invalidate marginalized voices.
“But Meghan, you have brothers.”

We live in a society that inextricably links violence with masculinity.
“But Meghan, you have brothers.”

Women’s value, identity, and humanity are defined by the men in their lives.
“But Meghan, you have brothers.”