I just said I was embarking on this big journey/project… And… who do I think I am?
Is fighting sexual assault (And to some extent just general sexism) gonna be my new “thing”?
I never really thought of that as my thing. I think there are multiple reasons why. For one, I don’t know if I’m “good enough” in this department to make a giant stand… I gave some male friends (some I’ve even worked with) who lift me off the ground with a hug when we say hello or goodbye. I have these touchy-feely relationships (and I love being lifted up!).
Now, we could argue that I can have whatever boundaries I want – even if that means they don’t include being lifted off the ground by practically anyone I know (because I love that). But could we also maybe argue that I shouldn’t happily encourage so much physical contact from men? Am I “setting a bad example,” or maybe am I “part of the problem”? (I mean, probably not? But I don’t know! See? This is just one of a giant pile of reasons that I don’t know if I’m the right person!)
I also worry that I maybe laugh at potentially sexist jokes sometimes. I work in TV which is such a relaxed business (in some ways, obviously in others it’s super intense). But, we’re all very familial. Life is relaxed. We take shoes off in the office. We joke and pal around like we’re friends. (Oftentimes we are!) But how much am I paying attention? I won’t laugh at some blatantly grossly sexist jokes, but how many am I laughing at? (Maybe too many? Maybe I’m not even noticing their sexist – as I don’t know how well my radar is calibrated.)
Then, I also kind of a while where I was thinking if I wanted this to be my cause because I think of all the other causes I fight for. And weirdly, it kind of feels to me like causes seem more “legitimate” when I’m not… well… then I’m not reeeeally super the one being affected in the largest way. I mean, we’re all affected, even on causes that supposedly don’t affect us…
For instance, if you think about the Black Lives Matter movement, obviously the people whoare by faaaaaar the most affected by that are black people. Black people are the ones being racially profiled. They are dying for no reason. It’s incredibly sad and needs to change. But, I’d imagine it changed everyone’s world a little the more that movement is successful – that having less fear and hate and such in our world, and having things become more equitable, probably makes things better for everyone, I’d think.
But, since the people who are in immediate danger are black people, and the movement is about black people (and I am not a black person)… when I do anything to help in that arena, it feels like I am clearly making a choice that I do it because it’s the right thing to do. Whereas, if I fight for “feminism,” I feel like that’s when some people say your judgement is clouded. “Well, you just want that because you’re a woman. And you want your world to be better.”
But, of course, misogyny really negatively impacts men as well. So, that’s one thing. Also, if I am a person who believes the world should be more equitable, why wouldn’t I apply that logic to women as well? Also, maybe I do want a better world for myself – a more equal playing field. Even if this were totally selfish (which I don’t think it is, but let’s say for a second it was)… Would that be the end of the world? We all spend a lot of time fighting for ourselves, trying to make our lives better, etc., so why wouldn’t we fight for the movement that could do that too?
So, I dunno. I dunno if I explained any of this right. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know if I’m the “best” person to stand up and say, “This is my cause!” And I don’t know if this will be my cause forever.
The only thing I do know is that, for me, when something giant happens, it sort of feels like the thing to do is to just lean into it. “Well, this wasn’t what I imaged my life would be. It wasn’t what I wanted. But it happened. So now, I’m just embracing it as best I can.”
Just like I never imagined I’d be talking about the importance of health insurance all the time – and then I had a heart problem that kept me in and out of the hospital for a year, I also never imagined I’d be talking about sexual assault and the issues that surround it.
So, I don’t know if I’m the right person. For the time being, I’m a person who’s talking about this stuff, and lifting up this cause as best I can.