Saturday, June 06, 2009

Women in Black

In an on-line support group I'm in (all women, but not by design), we have a running joke about donning our black pants, black turtlenecks and black sunglasses, grabbing absurdly large and destructive armaments of some kind, and avenging any wrongs perpetrated on one of our members. We are the Women in Black, setting out to make a more perfect universe, and Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones should quake at the mention of our name. Hell hath no fury, indeed.

The thing is.... it's hard not to notice that most of the wrongs are perpetrated against women by men. I am not a man-hating feminist. Moreover, I think that's largely a myth. All feminists come with fathers, most with brothers (I imagine), and certainly some with male partners. Some feminists ARE men, forcryingoutloud. But, for the love of Mike, it's sort of hard not to notice the pattern.

Certainly, you all know that I believe I was treated very ill by a man I trusted. I imagine that trust issues will now haunt me for a good long while, possibly forever. His actions were brutal. He knows that. He knew that when he was doing it, but felt entitled to act that way anyway.

FOUR women who are dear to me are in relationship-drama. The drama ranges from dire to worrying-but-probably-nothing. And it is all perpetrated by men thinking (apparently) that they can have bloody well whatever they want. I've had it.

Men who are dear to me and men who are not, these are the rules.

You don't have to go all Promise Keepers on me, but if you made a promise, keep it. If you must break a promise because the keeping of it is more destructive than the breaking of it, do that with as much gentleness and integrity as you can find.

YOU are not the center of the universe. Sorry. Your mother didn't lie, exactly. You were the center of HER universe, but she sort of thought you'd figure out that you weren't the center of the whole bloody thing. Work on that for me, would you?

Treating your wife as a partner and a friend is not some post-apocalyptic violation of all that is true and holy. Grow up. You can't be all things to all people. Honor your wife's giftedness. Respect that she can do plenty of things you can't do -and let's discount the obvious stuff like have a baby. She has talents and gifts and wisdom you don't have. This fact does not threaten your virility.

And about that virilty. We like it, true enough. But it's not the only reason we love you. Seducing a 22-year-old won't help you relocate it. She doesn't think you're hot; she wants a father figure. Give it up and come home.

We will warn you a few times when you break these rules. But there is an end-point. After that, I'm calling my friends. We're getting our black turtlenecks out of the laundry basket and getting to work. Don't say I didn't warn you.


Rapunzel said...

Andrea, reading this brings tears to my eyes, and unearths once again the anger and frustration at the men who have wounded me over the years. It's hard not to put them all in one big women-hurting pile and discount the entire gender but eventually, ever-so-slowly you trust again. Not the same, though, not with you whole heart. At least, not in my experience.

Thank you for a thought-provoking, head-nodding post, my friend. My black turtleneck is washed & ironed, ready & waiting. Just say the word.

Andrea said...

A washed and IRONED black turtleneck!?!? We'll have to make you our fearless leader!!