Let’s hear it for the…?

Remember that song by Deniece Williams, Let’s Hear it For the Boy?  I remember bopping around my room to the Footloose soundtrack and singing along heartily, “Let’s give the boy a hand!”  It came to mind last week when Gryffin ambled over to me in the kitchen and asked,

“What is International Women’s Day?”  

I’ve only been vaguely aware of the day for a few years now and I answered with something generic about celebrating and honoring women around the world and thought that’d be the end of it.

What About the Men?

But a few days later Gryffin was back with more questions.

“When is International Men’s Day?  Is there one for boys?”

To which I replied, “No.  Every day is men’s day.”

He was understandably confused.  It’s a valid question.  He’s at the height of the rule-following/fairness developmental phase and he was genuinely perplexed.  Why would we have one for women if we don’t have one for men?  That’s not fair.

So I backed up a bit and tried to give it to him in terms that he might be able to comprehend.  I told him that women aren’t always treated the same way that men are treated and that life is often really hard for women around the world.   I gave a few age-appropriate examples and explained that for these reasons we have a day that we set aside to celebrate women and renew our resolve to work for equality and fairness.

It didn’t compute.

He looked back at me and said, “Do you wish there was an International Men’s Day, Mama?”

No bud, I really don’t.

Why Do We Need It?

I know my boys are young and there is plenty of time to explain this layer by layer by layer.  There’s no need to rush them along but someday I hope I’m able to sit close beside these two boys I love so much and say, Come, look a little closer with me…

Look at how my salary will likely peak in just a few  short years while Papa’s will probably continue to grow for another decade or more after me.

Look at how my mother, your grandmother, used to call for reservations or doctor’s appointments and after being turned down, she would have Grandpa call instead because he could always get us right in.  It worked every time.

Look at the churches I attended while I was growing up.  Look at how I never saw a woman preaching a sermon or leading singing.  Look at how I never saw a woman serving communion or even collecting the offering.

Look at the man who followed me and harassed me while I was on my morning walk last year.  Look at the man who propositioned me at the gas station while you two were waiting in the car.  Look at the mace I carry on my key ring.

And now look further out, my loves.

Look at the 100 million+ women affected by female genital mutilation in the world.

Look at the 1500 women killed each year in our country by their boyfriends & husbands.  Look at the 2 million men who beat their female partners.

Look at the 300,000+ women raped every year in our country.  Look at the 60% of rape victims who don’t report it.   Look at the men who tell women it was their fault they were raped in the first place.

Look at the 300-500 young girls forced to work as sex slaves right here in Seattle.

Look, look, look.

All Lives Matter?

You know how people respond to “Black Lives Matter” by declaring that “All Lives Matter?”  Well, here’s one of the best analogies I’ve heard regarding that particular response (by Adam Campbell): Bob is sitting at the dinner table.  Every gets a plate of food except Bob.  Bob says “Bob Deserves Food.”  Everyone at the table responds with “Everyone Deserves Food” and continues eating.  Although “Everyone Deserves Food” is a true statement, it does nothing to actually rectify the face that BOB HAS NO FOOD!

So too for International Women’s Day.  Men are, of course, equally important but because of the historic and current injustices brought to bear for women around the world, we have set aside a day to acknowledge women in particular;  to say to women that they are seen, that their contributions matter, that these injustices ought to be made right.

So celebrating women doesn’t mean that I don’t care for boys and men.  I do.  Very much.  I’m hopeful, though, that over the years I will be able expose Gryffin and Isaiah to their immense power and dominance as men.  Power they didn’t ask for but power they will always have nonetheless.  And I’m hopeful that they won’t just honor women on March 8th but that it will go far, far beyond that; because men are celebrated every single day and I’ve grown tired of hearing it for the boy.  I’m tired of hearing it for the boy in the workplace, in the bedroom, in the church, and all around the world.  Today and every day let’s hear it for the GIRL.


One thought on “Let’s hear it for the…?

  1. My 5 year old son asked basically the same thing. Followed by a slightly worried ”are girls better than boys?” which just about broke my heart. No, darling, we are each worth exactly the same. Exactly the same. Regardless of how we look or what we can do or how we speak. A person is a person is a person. God help me, my contribution to the continued fight for women’s rights — and straight up human rights — will be raising sons who see people; men who are part of the solution.

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