Right now, many women are angry. Here in the United States, the recent Supreme Court hearings and the confirmation of a judge who has been accused of sexual misconduct have essentially re-assaulted millions who have been victims of such things. Rape. Attempted rape. Molestation. Groping. And the political powers-that-be responded with a condescending pat on the head, indicating that our pain really doesn’t matter. In many cases, this process has reignited the painful embers of our past and has turned them into angry flames of the present.
Women have been socialized to avoid, suppress, and even feel shame about our anger. Yet it is there regardless. Despite the deep inner work many of us have done to heal our past wounds, that anger still exists. It might be remnants of our own woundedness or the pain of the collective, but it is there. Whether smoldering embers or an outright flame, this reignited anger is now an opportunity for us to come together in sisterhood to create a bonfire of change.
If you are a woman who feels comfortable with the status quo for women, I urge you this: If you smell the smoke of this bonfire, please don’t close your window to it or insist that the fire needs to be put out. Come stand beside your sisters. Consider adding your own fuel to the fire. Your own sexual assault or that of a loved one. The unwanted catcalls and sexual objectification. Being talked over repeatedly when in conversation with men. Being told to “smile,” understanding implicitly that keeping others happy is more important than expressing your authentic feelings. Condescension or mistreatment merely because of gender. Rearranging your life to ensure your safety: from walking to your car with keys interlaced between your fingers, to avoiding eye contact with men in certain situations; from worrying about how what you’re wearing will affect your safety, to being compulsive about locking doors and windows; from being careful what you drink, to making sure that you always walk with others at night—knowing full well that a woman walking alone can become an easy target.
If you are a woke man, please don’t stay away. I urge you to come join your sisters around this bonfire. Add the fuel of your compassion to this fire. Allow yourself to be angry on our behalf. Bear witness to our collective pain, a pain which runs so deep that it resides within the DNA of humanity. Acknowledge any complicity you have had, and vow to change it. Help stoke this fire of transformation.
The bonfire created by this circle of anger is huge, and it is growing. There are some who are afraid of this, and rightly so. But for most, this raging fire is nothing to fear. We must understand that the ultimate purpose of this fire isn’t destruction. Rather it is here to save us, to remove the old wood and dying patriarchal trees which are negatively impacting the health of the entire forest. Its ultimate purpose is to bring more light so that a diversity of life can thrive.