Even when these guys married, they still married someone who dealt with this stuff solo. There might be stories and gripe sessions, but they tended to try to equate some part of their experience to the woman’s. Sure, you’re told to be beautiful, but I’m told to lift heavy things! Same, right?
Then, they had daughters.
Kids are very good at not dealing with their own shit. It’s not their job. It’s yours. Suddenly, you’re shoved into a toy aisle where there’s nary a Lego or car or building block, but instead, rows and rows of dead-eyed dolls. You realize how hard it is to find play clothes for a girl, because everything seems to be optimized for ‘cute’ rather than ‘comfort.’ You hear people compliment your daughter only on how pretty she is, and never on how smart or clever she is.
The girl goes to school, and you watch how she’s never called on. You hear someone insult someone else by calling them ‘a girl’, and it stings. Your little girl is awesome! She’s brave and smart and funny! Why would anyone use that as an insult? Then, you remember all the times you did it.And then, you realize that, all along, you’ve been a part of the problem.
the one thing that has stuck with me every day since my English teacher told me it in middle school is:
"When referring to someone, always say who they are before anything else about them, because being a person always comes first"
Instead of saying “the mentally ill man,” say “the man with a mental illness”
Putting someone’s characteristics (especially negative ones) before them is dehumanizing and rude. Don’t do it.
Note to self: Try not to be so hard on yourself. You’re doing your best and that’s enough. You are enough.