This week has me thinking about fish and alligators and other scaly, prehistoric creatures, and that’s not just because I’ve had Mitch “Squid-in-a-Turtle-Neck-Face” McConnell and Orrin “Crypt-Keeper’s-Less-Handsome-Brother” Hatch popping up all over my social media. It’s because I’ve got evolution on the brain. I’m imagining what it must have been like for the first pre-fish creatures to suddenly find themselves with bulging sacs protruding from their sides or to experience the uncomfortable, needling sensation of something spiny and rigid unexpectedly running along their backs. I wonder if they flung themselves against rocks like melodramatic divas from a soap opera or flailed around in the gushy primordial sludge trying desperately to rid themselves of whatever transformations were taking place. No one likes change.
It’s a fact we are witnessing right now as the rotting Skeksis on Capitol Hill and beyond lurch along trying to staunch the heavy flow (double meaning) of progressive social evolution. Specifically, the move toward a culture that actually values women as fellow human beings, one that dismantles the archaic systems designed to repress and persecute women in order to replace them with practices, policies, and attitudes that support them instead.
It’s a lot, I know. We’re not even at the first pasta rehydration station on this decades-long gender equality marathon (they have those on marathons, right? I mean, why else would anyone run those things?), but we’re gaining ground step by sensible shoe-wearing step. At least that’s how I’m choosing to focus on what’s happening with the response to the assault allegations leveled at Kavanaugh, a response that has turned an incredibly serious, life-altering situation into schlocky, dinner theater farce (sorry hard working thespians serving up foie gras and follies in towns across America).
I’ll dispense with some obvious caveats: I believe Dr. Ford. I support the conditions under which she wishes to testify about her assault. I find it painfully, torturously obvious that the GOP has simply found their Lee Harvey Oswald to exterminate Roe v. Wade and will stop at nothing (much like all generic super villains) to install him on the court. That’s part of the reason for their attempts to sideline Dr. Ford, but the other part is good old fashioned batshit fear. Men who believe women are “less,” deserve less, or are going to somehow just decide to get back in line and help uphold the gender status-far-from-quo are a dying breed and they know it plain as they know their secret bank accounts in Zurich will not buy them a place in the new world vagina order, but I’m getting ahead of myself here. This is why they are pulling out so many tired, hacky tricks from their dime store Patriarchy Hocus-Pocus kits to try and hold onto their already precarious positions of power and authority.
Memo: We See Through Your Bullshit.
Previous Memo Updated: We. Are. Not. Having. It.
To keep from letting the blatant sexism, victim shaming, and stupendously feckless attitudes about Dr. Ford v. Kavanaugh issuing from inside the beltway (including the unsurprisingly offensive finger-wagging from the Sexual Predator In Chief—I’m waving a finger right back, can you see which one?), drive me to drink all the scotch, I’ve been leaching hope from watching the ways that women are showing up, speaking up, and pushing back despite what feels inevitable. In the end we might lose this battle, but we’re sure as hell not going to make victory easy.
We are literally insinuating ourselves—protesting outside the offices of swing vote Republicans—to make our presence and position undeniable. My social media feeds are cascading waterfalls of posts from women sharing their own assault stories, calling out debunked statistics and studies with responsible, credible information, and rallying around one another in support. This week I was introduced to my new spirit animal, Hawaii’s Senator Mazie Hirono who, when pressed about the critical influence of the four women serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee, responded: “Guess who is perpetrating all of these kinds of [unfair, unjust] actions? It’s the men in this country. I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing, for a change.”
Men, just shut up and step up will litter my feminist embroidery projects for the foreeable future. Thank you Senator Hirono, do you accept campaign donations via PayPal or perhaps in feminist embroidery tchotchkes?
History affords us with the luxury of the post mortem, of the deep autopsy that reveals the story of a body’s genesis and decline. But if even basic puberty has taught us anything it’s that seismic shifts are complicated, painful, and often unflattering (looking at you, regrettable bangs and turquoise eye-shadow), but absolutely necessary for growth. Though I’m not very optimistic that this will absolutely derail Kavanaugh’s confirmation, I am energized to see evolution playing out before my eyes for women definitely and for men, if they choose to give up what they know and adapt to what they could become.