Men, we need to talk

Time to dust of the old blog, because there’s some shady shit going down. The leaked SCOTUS draft was enough to bring me out of my pandemic-induced ennui, so let’s go.

First, if you haven’t already done so, please look up your local abortion fund at the National Network of Abortion Funds. Organizations need money more than anything, because when Roe is overturned, 26 trigger states will immediately limit or eliminate access to abortion. Women of color, poor women, and young women/girls will need help either obtaining pills for medical abortions or will need transportation and lodging in states that will keep abortion legal. If you care about women’s lives, donate. Can’t donate? Contact these orgs anyway, because they almost always have some volunteer work you can do from the comfort of your own couch, such as writing postcards or text banking.

But we need to talk. Actually, no, men, you need to listen. I found out about the leak in a funny-sad say. On Monday night, I’d just kissed my son goodnight and was getting ready to take a shower and go to bed myself. I was exhausted and had a very early morning the next day, and I try to completely unplug from the real world at night. My husband came up to our bedroom as I was getting ready to shower and showed me his phone with the Politico headline:

I gave him a look that said, “Why do you give me bad news right before I go to sleep?” He’s a night owl, I’m an early bird, so this happens sometimes. He’s learning.

After a rage-shower, I did some Googling and didn’t really find anything else. I figured it was a hoax or something, and decided to watch an episode of Outlander before going to sleep. At about 9:30 p.m.

The next morning, after my very early meeting, the Internet blew up. It wasn’t a hoax, this was real, and it was probably happening soon. To quote Geralt of Rivia:

I could go on talking about how this makes women and AFAB children less than full people, and how it will disproportionately affect people of color and poor people, and how this isn’t about babies at all but about punishing women for having consequence-free sex, but there’s so much out there that I’d be wasting my time.

No, I want to talk to the men. All the men. Even you, feminist ally and supporter of reproductive rights. Even my husband, who is as much of a feminist ally and supporter as a man can get, and knows when to sit down and listen. Here’s the thing: you will never get it. You will never understand. As I walked through my campus and the surrounding downtown on my way home yesterday, I couldn’t help but resent every single man I saw. I started to feel guilty after seeing a male friend on the sidewalk and unleashing an earful of anger. As I walked away, I wondered if I should send him a message apologizing; perhaps he didn’t know what was going on since he’s a busy guy, or it probably wasn’t so prominent in his mind because he’s a dude and he’s not directly affected.

I didn’t send that message. Next time I see him, I’ll probably explain a bit better why I was so short and raw with him, but that it was justified. That he has the option, like every AMAB person, to not experience every event in their day through this lens of losing bodily autonomy. As I went about my day, I noticed some of the women on my campus seemed a little less carefree than the day before. I looked into the eyes of the woman who sold me a yogurt at the cafĂ© and I think I saw a bit of despair in her eyes. When I saw my niece’s birthday on my calendar in a few weeks, my breath caught in my throat a bit.

I may have read too much into my interactions yesterday. I was very emotional, tearing up at times, wanting to scream into the void at others, but mostly wanting to take every man by the shoulders, shake him, and yell, “Don’t you see what’s going on?????? Doesn’t this scare the shit out of you?” But you see, cisgender men have the luxury of not worrying about this. Sure, they have sisters, daughters, wives, AFAB friends, but this will not affect their person. They will only feel the terror and insult second hand. That horrible lens just doesn’t exist for them.

Am I afraid for my own health? Not yet. I’ve got 2 methods of very reliable birth control, considering another pregnancy would severely damage my health or kill me. (I do worry that contraception will be the next thing to go, but I don’t have the headspace to worry about that yet.) I also know that I have the resources to travel, to another country if necessary, to obtain a safe abortion. No, I’ll be fine. That’s not the point.

I’ve got 5 nieces. I have friends with AFAB children. I’ve got pregnant friends. I’ve taught countless women in the classroom over the years. I’m scared for them. And guys, I can’t take anymore “whataboutism” online, okay? It’s time to sit down, listen to the women and transmen in your lives, and trust us. Then, when we ask you to donate, do that. When we ask you to march with us, do that. When we ask you to take care of the kids so we can go to DC and march, do that. When we tell you that our country is looking more and more like Gilead, believe us.