“Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.” ~ Joseph Conrad
With Hulu’s recent release of the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, I was reminded that my dear sister’s recommendation that I read this book. I was doing a theater pit gig (on bari sax, bass clarinet, and clarinet) there were long breaks in the music making so I read it in three weeks. I will never be the same.
“Atwood herself has explained many times that the novel is not a prediction for the future at all – the circumstances she describes have all actually happened, and continue to this day. Women are reminded every time a new law is passed making it impossible for us to access abortion clinics, obtain contraceptives, fight domestic abuse or support our children. We’re reminded of it when we’re paid less than our male peers, when bosses say we should be more “helpful”, and when complete strangers insist that harassment is flattery. Yet this fact seems to have been overlooked, in the most basic and symbolic sense, in the decision to retell this story.” the Guardian
So I thought I’d share a tale of how I first became exposed to the challenges of being a woman. Lessee, it was the ‘80s and I was creating an AOW account for my wife. Once created, I started tweaking it so that it would reflect who Suzy is to our friends. Within minutes her new account had three, no five, no ten emails! I thought, what the heck?
You see, I had made a serious error using “Suzy” in the email address. The emails were from men wanting to “be a in hot tub with her” or more intimate suggestions. I was shocked, flabbergasted—was this what it was to be a woman? Could women not escape the lust of the average joe? I was sickened and quickly deleted the account. I recreated it using a generic letter/number stream.
I don’t know how women put up with the assaults on their freedom from everyone like the random character on the street to the vintage politician in DC. I just know that I hope to be at a place in my world where I can be a valued male to the women of this world.