#yesallwomen: why i kid

One of my friends had a really insightful comment after she read my last post on this subject - #yesallmothersofsons.

I was honestly surprised to see that so many of my behaviors are universal -- like dialing 9-1- on my cell phone or holding my keys in pre-stabbing position. Until this weekend, I'd thought I was just an oversensitive weeny. So, while I totally see what you're saying about #YesAllWomen's lack of an action plan, I sort of wonder if this is part of step 2 -- communicating with a larger group of women in a non-threatening way. I, of course, don't see a million-man march on the horizon, but I sort of wonder if bringing a critical mass of women into the conversation isn't enough, in and of itself, to make a difference. 

Nailed it. 

She started me thinking about how many women share experiences that are terrifying, enraging, humiliating, or anxious, and how #yesallwomen has brought those women together under the umbrella of respectful sharing. 

But women share other things. 

We share funny, exasperating, eye-rolling, joyful, bizarre experiences too. 

I started noticing when I was walking on that common ground - women would get this, I'd think as I heard my voice pitch up when answering a call from an unknown number. I thought it was funny. I started writing down #yesallwomen jokes. And immediately wondered if it was super-offensive (rather than just dancing-with-the-devil hurts-because-it's-true offensive.)

The danger in satirizing a social movement is of course the chance of cheapening that movement -particularly #yesallwomen, which aims to shine a light on the subversion of female power. Could someone read my joke, and feel that I'm playing into the "women's issues are so cute" belittling-of-women construct that we've been trying so hard for at least a week now to tear down?

I really hope not. A lot of women have made themselves vulnerable on social media, telling stories of assault and abuse, making public the kinds of humiliations that never stop burning. Those women deserve respect and honor for speaking up, not to become the butt of a trying-to-be-funny blogger's joke.

That's not what I'm trying to do. 

I'm saying, hey, we have every right to be scared and angry, and it's important that the world understand why 50% of its inhabitants live in fear and anger. Why we have had to grow strong enough to get through each day under sneaky, intimate attack - the kinds of interactions that we walk away from thinking, I feel really bad about what just happened, but I'm not even sure why...

I'm ALSO saying I believe women are strong enough to laugh at ourselves. We're strong enough to air it out when we're silly, sneaky, or petty. And that common ground that's so pockmarked and pot-holed with peril also, from time to time, bears a bloom or two. 

That's all I'm saying. 


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