Image: Amber Kay Photography
Yesterday, before Time magazine chose Silence Breakers as their Person of the Year, my friend and I were gchatting like we do almost daily, about the latest news related to sexual assault, male fragility, and the snails pace at which change seems to be happening. The conversation started with the latest politician to retire due to allegations and quickly went to our unending anger of the politicians that AREN’T retiring/getting kicked out/etc even though they’ve committed the same crimes (oh hai Donnie).
We share articles, we express our rage & anger, but we also keep each other in check. Amber Tamblyn wrote an amazing article about how quickly men seem to want this era of revelation to be over, so that we can “get back to normal”. “Not Ready for the Redemption of Men” is a must read, with too many quotes that we couldn’t even share between us (without basically sharing the entire article and plus NY Times doesn’t let you copy/paste anyway). It’s a great read, but it landed us both in a place we often end up: disappointment.
Frustration that Donnie still gets to still be our President, that an accused Pedophile is likely going to be an elected Senator (and that people, women(!), support & vote for this), that a disgusting man we both used to work with recently got promoted to a high level. Where are the consequences? Why is it taking this long and will it ever actually change? It’s mind numbing and sometimes very depressing.
But then my coworker said, “nothing is changing” and I couldn’t agree with her fully (though it sometimes feels that way, thinking that way can be dangerous). I told her, “think about how long suffrage took, how long civil rights took and a battle that is far from over … “. These battles started decades ago and are STILL being waged. The #MeToo movement won’t solve the patriarchal misogyny issue likely even in our lifetime, BUT that doesn’t mean progress hasn’t been made.
In 2017 we are used to instant gratification. We want things and get them rather quickly – news, likes, groceries. You name it, we likely don’t have to wait more than a day to get it. We aren’t used to fighting a battle that moves at such a slow pace. But the way I try to deal with that, when I get fed up and depressed at the lack of change, is the focus on the small things that I have directly impacted or done myself that HAVE caused change.
I reminded my coworker that she told me recently of the things her mom now reads, says, and stands up for. Things she would have never done, thought, or said before, had she not spoken to her mom on such topics. I feel similarly with my parents and my family – we have learned from each other and have all progressed on our views of certain issues thanks to the open dialogue.
And we have seen progress. Danica Roem is progress. A woman even having the nomination to run for President in America is progress. Women replacing men in board rooms, elected seats, and on TV (oh hey House of Cards) is progress.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but I told her to think about her own progress (and I think about mine too). I didn’t know what intersectional feminism was until this year. I had never gone door knocking for a politician until this year. I had never written about topics like white supremacy and feminism until this year. I’ve made progress and so has she and so have countless other humans in this world.
It’s just not always easy to see and even harder to quantify. This journey is long. There will be many more men falling from positions of power AND just as many staying in place (even when the evidence is obvious) and there will likely be a massive backlash against the whole movement … but small moments will help us win in the end.