Say what? On making time to fight sexism


On a recent trip, I saw this t-shirt worn by a man between the ages of, I’m guessing, 17-23.

And so there is no wonder why there are so many of us out there carrying signs like this:

I have been lucky enough to grow up always feeling and believing that anything is possible for me. This is not to say that I haven’t experienced my own-gender inequalities, I haven’t my own stories of embarrassment and shame for staying silent when the conversations took a turn toward the sexist worst. Particularly when I was young 20-something new teacher who needed to get along with a predominantly male faculty, I would either try to infuse some girl-power humor or….leave.

But when I saw that t-shirt, I just couldn’t believe it. I had thought we had evolved. I mean, I have been reading the news, I know the war on women’s healthcare is on, but the times are bad Bad BAD when sentiments reach the t-shirt industry….because, you know, it means it is selling and which means the trouble is deeper than I thought.

I have tried to find ways to think this is funny. Big Man and I joke about the roles we play within our home. But we can do this because we have spent years in conversation delicately working out what gets done and how it gets done and in the end we don’t care about the who and the how…we just want things to get done.

For so long, I have worked under the notion that these ideas begin in the home. Big Man is crucial in how my daughter will expect to be treated by other men and how my son will treat women. I have long understood that a). in a life partner, I chose well, and b). his parents clearly did something right.

Apparently, this is not the case in every home.

And so…..where are the parents of this world, and what exactly are they doing? Or is it that the forces of our culture overpower what begins in the home?

There is much parents can’t control, and what their almost-adult sons wear is only the tip of that iceberg. But something just isn’t right. That the t-shirt was made is one problem in and of itself, but that it tickled what is clearly a warped funny bone is a different beast entirely.

In the end, we have to own it. We have become idle, complacent, and my personal favorite…busy.

Until this shirt (and all the ugliness that goes with it) is erased from this world, I am suggesting to the company that they make a 2 for 1 special. Any man who buys such a t- shirt will receive a free t-shirt for the woman in his life.

I say fight fire with fire.