Search This Blog

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Does not wisdom call,
   and does not understanding raise her voice? 
On the heights, beside the way,
   at the crossroads she takes her stand; 
beside the gates in front of the town,
   at the entrance of the portals she cries out: 
~ Proverbs 8

Most days I take an early morning walk. This time of year with days getting shorter and Daylight Savings Time still in effect it is usually still dark when I walk. There are several stretches of street in our neighborhood that are not well lit. I usually encounter others walking, some like me for exercise and others going to a nearby high school with an early start time.  Many of those I encounter are women.  My practice when approaching someone in a dark area, especially from behind, is to announce myself just to let them know I am approaching.

This morning in a particularly dark block, because the sidewalks are canopied by trees, I was coming from behind upon a young woman.  As usual I said, "Good Morning. Just letting you know, I'm behind you."  She replied, "I know." Without any consideration as to why, I walked on the sidewalk because I could. She intentionally walked in the middle of the street because she felt unsafe.

All of the #metoo postings in recent days, including my wife's and daughters', have stirred my soul and my memory. Regrettably, I remember instances, especially when I was a young man, when I intentionally and unintentionally disrespected women. I could write some of it off as socially acceptable behavior of "the times" but I won't.  Just because something is socially acceptable doesn't make it right. For too long male privilege has hidden behind the innocuousness of  "boys will be boys" while "girls should be who boys want them to be."

We men learn our unearned privilege early. One seemingly innocent memory is of my three older sisters rotating "doing the dishes" after meals while my brother and I only did them when we were occasionally paid by our sisters to take their turn. We were told certain jobs and professions were "men's work" or "women's work." And even though many men, like me, had strong mothers who really ruled the roost there was always the facade of "father knows best." 

There are darker memories of sexual exploits during the so-called "free love" years of my late teen and college years, some carrying over into young adulthood. In therapy I learned such behavior probably came from the repression of sexuality in a fundamental religious culture - still not an excuse. And of course there are the countless unaware and unexamined transgressions of privilege - the jokes, stories, suggestive language, lingering stares, and silent consent.

In my professional life I've readily and unconsciously enjoyed the privilege of higher position, better pay, and more benefits than women colleagues doing equal work. I still do, even though I say I'm for equality.

So the cry of my daughter in a recent #metoo post asking her male friends to "step the f*** up!"  prompts me to step up. Not so much to say "me too" but simply "me" because I am and have been part of the problem no matter how much I try to justify it.

To women reading this, I've never experienced the indignity and pain I hear in your stories and I ask your forgiveness for my part in helping create and sustain it. I'm not sure if I even know how to step up, but I'm at least taking a first step. Perhaps the best way is to sit and listen. All I know to say is, "Just letting you know I'm behind you, and with you." Also, I know that with you I am preaching to the choir, so please share this post with your male friends.

To Men reading - LISTEN! Sophia-Wisdom is proclaiming Her Truth among us.   

#StepUpForMeToo  #MeToo


No comments:

Post a Comment