Good Monday to you. This morning the New Yorker is reporting that the FBI investigation of Kavanaugh ordered on Friday is looking like a sham given the ridiculous limits the White House has placed upon it. The self I worked to rebuild all weekend is feeling like garbage again, and so I’m writing this post.
Many women are having a very, very hard time right now. Their struggles are not abstract, though undoubtedly many of us are very concerned about the state of our representative democracy and what the last few weeks mean for the way our SCOTUS system works. Instead–or, rather, in addition to those concerns–many of us are reliving past trauma. We’re seeing confirmed that that nation does not care about women or about sexual assault, that the rights of men (particularly those of privileged backgrounds, but truly what’s happening fits a very common pattern–google Steubenville rape for an exploration of the ways in which women’s accounts are demeaned, though ultimately those rapists did face prosecution). We’re seeing, yet again and on a massive platform, that women’s words don’t matter like men’s words do. It’s gutting, ongoing, and unlikely to stop.
If you’re a male ally, I ask you to please consider these thoughts before you proclaim your allyship with those of us mired in very deep, real crises right now:
- Don’t publicly frame the problem as “it could be your wife/mom/sister/daughter.” In so doing, you’re suggesting women are only define by their relationship with men. If this tactic works with fellow men, it’s a way to begin to talk about women as actual people but please don’t do it in front of us. We are people, and that alone verifies our humanity.
- Call out your people. Men often dismiss women’s claims (I watched a fun thread started by a high school friend last week in which men trashed her as she revealed she’d been assaulted as a teenager–“why didn’t you say anything?” “women lie all the time.”) Gross as it is, men are much more likely to listen to other men. When I was stalked and harassed by a former boss, it only stopped when my then-boyfriend answered one of the stalker’s umpteen calls and asserted that I wasn’t interested. Since we live in that system, the best form of your allyship is talking to other men about why women are feeling as they do and the realities of rape and “false reporting.” Check out this post and this fantastic twitter thread, featuring other links.
- Check in with the women in your life. Don’t be patronizing or condescending, but saying, “this week is garbage, and I can only imagine it’s worse for you. Let me know if you need anything,” could go a long way.
- Similarly, be mindful how you frame your internet rage. Just posting “I’m so angry right now” may well add to the pyre for women, who are a whole host of emotions because this all impacts them directly. Seek to express yourself with sensitivity–offering to join us in burning things down will feel far more like allyship than just you sputtering.
- Seek education. The more you know, the better equipped you are to fight.
- And lastly, always appreciate this gif which you’re likely seeing a lot right now: