I wrote this post today so you will see this one phrase. And if you decide to read this post, I hope this one phrase sticks to you:
“She did all the things.”
In yesterday’s episode of Zen Parenting Radio, Todd and Cathy Adams interviewed Soraya Chemaly, Executive Director of the Representation Project and the author of Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger. I encourage you to listen to the episode. You can find it here.
Why am I writing about it today? The heart of the interview was a discussion about gender equity. Listening, I consider myself an advocate for gender equity, but I also don’t apologize or feel shame for being a white, cisgender man. Listening, I wonder what am I really doing to make change. Listening, Cathy and Soraya told stories of the reality, the difficulty and the tragedy of being a women unequal in a man’s world. Each story punctuated by “She did all the things.”
I wonder, “do I have to explain what this phrase means?” If there are women reading this piece, they surely don’t need me to explain. “She”, like most women, took “precautions” before she went for a walk, for a run, into the world. And still, “she” was attacked, abused, harassed, raped, murdered. She did all the things.
When I leave my house. I just leave. I DO NOT want my wife, my daughters, my mother, my sister, “she” to have to “do all the things” before they leave the house ever.
Many men visiting MenLiving have done or come to do “men’s work.” Try googling “men’s work.” The first 3 or 4 results basically have to do with the ManKind Project, a nonprofit training and education organization hosting “life-changing experiential personal development programs” for men. Good stuff. Hopefully, men getting more self-aware, more mature in their masculinity. The rest of the results are for men’s work boots and work clothing. Go further and you’ll get comparisons of men’s work and women’s work (these entries primarily reinforcing cultural norms). As I read these results, I feel like google is giving a head nod to “men’s work” and then telling me that real men’s work takes work boots and jeans.
At times, I think “men’s work” and even our efforts at MenLiving can lead to excessive navel gazing. How do we take the good energy we are creating in this self-work to serve others? Today, I am kicking off a small batch (if you don’t know what a SB is, you can find out here) to do “women’s work.” As I write this piece, I am not yet completely sure what that means, but I have a lot of ideas. I am hopeful other men (and women) will help me figure it out. We will do “women’s work” so she doesn’t have to do all the things.
If you are interested in joining me in this small batch, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org