Thanks for this piece. I read it because my wife and I have disagreed on Pantsuit Nation. She believes it has outlived its usefulness and people should be moving to action and not just be a congenial support group. I, on the other hand, think that as people fall off of this FB page (to hopefully go on to other social justice actions), this remaining cadre of women and men have a place to gather and will serve as a well from which to draw when various initiatives arise. Last I looked there were close to 4 million members of Pantsuit Nation. If only 1% of that group is energized to get involved in a particular effort, that is 40K boots on the ground that might otherwise not be there. So, I am not ready to kick it to the curb or belittle it in any way.
As far as accepting and believing versus just listening … listening is the first step; and if someone has not previously done that, I think we should applaud them rather than berate, as we encourage them to go beyond that stage. Listening is good but not nearly enough. The next step to me is validation, recognizing someone has a legitimate concern and that concern or experience is their reality. You don’t have to believe what they express is true, just that it is true to them and makes all the difference in their lives. No group speaks with one voice; so it is particularly helpful to actively practice this validation when hearing different opinions on the same issue. It gives you a good place from which to start “doing”. Then, as you listen to people, “listen” for what hits you in the gut — you don’t have to believe everything — but act on that which troubles you as wrong and needs remedy.