Hell of a day to be writing this. Look, women don’t need a dude to be telling them what to do in the wake of Roe v. Wade being struck down by the Supreme Court. But men? We need to fight like it’s our fight. Is it because gender is a complex concept and some men can get pregnant? Yeah, that’s part of it. Is it because we’re such good allies to women? That’d be good, but why is that the equation in the first place?
How about because it’s our damn fight. Not ours to lead or any of that bullshit, but because women’s rights are human rights. Oh no, I just quoted Hillary Clinton, I can feel some people I know fuming – get over it. Do you disagree? Do you disagree with the reality that women’s rights are human rights?
If you know women’s rights are human rights, then fight like it. Do the activist work that gets people elected who can change this shit, do the protest work that shifts norms and encourages growing numbers to raise their voices and vote. Shouldn’t matter if you’re a man or not, shouldn’t matter if you think this is a women’s rights issue or not. It should matter if you’re a human because you’re fighting for a human right.
As men, we’re taught to feel disconnected from whether people have the right to an abortion. We’re taught to think it’s some other person’s fight. If that right is a human right, why the hell don’t we as men – in the numbers we can bring in to support – why don’t we act like it’s a human right? I’m tired of the bullshit norms that excuse men from this work. I’m tired of the privileged concepts that teach us that armchair quarterbacking those who are doing the work equates to effort instead of self-important fantasy football for activism.
As men, we can help normalize and expand the right to an abortion. As men, we can provide the numbers that enable ongoing efforts to turn the tide. We like to pretend the choice to get involved isn’t a conscious one, that doing nothing or little is a promise of involvement later. How much later, because it’s pretty fucking late. Being involved or not, doing the work of activism or not, those are conscious choices. Failing to work for a human right isn’t a norm. It’s not a promise to get involved at some point when we feel like. Failing to do that work is a failure, and men are failing.
That’s not anti-man or any of that bullshit. If it’s a human right, and we don’t fight for it, then we are failing. As men, we all know that men will work harder to justify our failure to show up than we will on actually getting involved. We’ll put more work into criticizing those who are doing work than we will on actually getting involved. Human rights are not secondary to our comfort, and I’m sick of the expense our comfort extorts. We talk about masculinity as a sacrifice of body, as a worship of personal gain. We don’t talk about it as a sacrifice of time, effort, energy, alliance, empathy, presence. We talk about it in terms of showing off, not showing up. How is that worth a single fuck? How does that change anyone’s life but yours? What do you want others to call that but sociopathic?
As men, we fail again and again and again, and move the goalposts further back to legitimize that our continued failures to help are just norms that have always existed. We gaslight on a social scale so we don’t need to lift a finger. What a pathetic bunch. What a non-value we’ve become. What a worship of meaninglessness and nonexistence we’ve sold ourselves.
It’s not that hard to call officials, to march or lend support, to offer a skill that’s useful, to find out where an organization needs you and be there. As men, we have no impact or footprint beyond what we fail to do, beyond the responsibility we prolong, beyond those we call allies who never see us arrive in meaningful numbers. Our laziness makes the world a desolation, while we message back and forth a play-act about how others failed.
I’m done with men being a failure, but it doesn’t make a fucking difference if we as men aren’t done with it. I’m not sure we’ll get there, but can we at least god damn try? Can we try for a bit as if it’s our responsibility, too? Can we act like that on some level of scale?
We can say not all men, whatever, but not nearly the fuck enough, and we know it. Show up, get other men to show up, normalize why showing up is our responsibility and matters. Change what we are, because what we are…we know it doesn’t work. We know it doesn’t help. We know we can do more to support others and build community than we’ve done.
Call your representative. Call your senators. Call your governor. Search how to call your congresspeople in your state house and senate. Maybe they’ll listen, maybe they won’t, but we spend more time worrying about that than the time it takes to call, and calling Republicans in numbers still applies pressure and saps them of political capital. Volunteer with Planned Parenthood. Search for abortion rights marches in your area. Take an action. Let’s be men and help.