Why I Feel Bad for Ranting
The events of last week on the theatrical political stage we all have front row tickets to were important and notable. But honestly, the testimony of Dr. Ford and the transpiring events around her words have been no more unique than events that occurred on this same stage in the fall of 2016, or during the #metoo forthcomings or even in less public moments of the micro-aggressions women face every day.
Thinking about how all of this makes me feel is complicated. Complicated in the very nature of the reason these allegations come up years after the fact or that many women, like Dr. Ford apologize or accommodate to the terms and conditions to which we have been accostumed to make others comfortable in saying. It’s not easy to relive scary or fearful moments of our lives but it’s also tremendously scary to take a platform to speak out as a woman.
We (yes, I am including myself) look at women who publicly speak out under a microscope. Dissecting their conduct, emotion, outward appearance and personal anecdotes. We are unkind if a women isn’t traditionally beautiful or if she is not young or if she cries or if she gets angry. We are not forgiving or understanding to women if she’s not naturally nurturing or warm. But if she’s too soft, she’s a pushover or she’s not intelligent enough. We hold women to a set of standards that are impossible to fulfill.
For these reasons and because of this collective microscope, I feel bad for what I’m saying. Yes, right now, I feel bad. I feel bad when I rant. Even when it’s out of desperation and true sadness. I feel bad.
I’m not trying to call out what we have or haven’t said or done to women in the public eye, but rather to call attention to it. Asking each other; how do you speak about women in front of young girls and boys? What picture do you paint of strong women, like a woman who chooses to run for president or a woman who chooses to speak honestly about her experiences? Or a woman who stays home with her children or a woman who works full time? Do you stop conversations with friends, co workers, family who begin to engage with this dissection of their appearance or approach? Do we actually hold each other accountable?
This is why I’m afraid to rant. I know I’m not standing on a huge platform (right now anyways) but I consider every word I write as carefully as I can. Try not to hurt or offend, come off too callous or too sweet. Try to post the best photos of myself. Why do I feel bad for just sharing honestly? Honestly? I’m scared for my own little girl and thankful I don’t have to find the right words to explain this to her right now. Honestly? I put her in clothing that says “girls can do anything” because she is an extension of myself and I feel like what positivity and hope we put into the word will come back and wrap her up in it so she’s never hurt or afraid or embarrassed because she’s a girl. Honestly? I fight my own battles each day because of my gender and have been silent about it for too long.
I’m afraid to rant because I’m afraid of what someone will think about me, as a woman. That I’m ranting because I’m on my period. That I have anxiety and stress because I’m not strong enough to handle life, because I don’t have to carry any burdens of “providing” for my family (even though I do). I’m afraid to rant because I’ll be called “crazy” or perceived as “outspoken” or “over-sharing.”
I’m afraid to rant because someone will say this is all bullshit and that “it’s politics and it’s all a game, Caroline, don’t you see that? Don’t be so sensitive!”
These are the reasons I feel silenced when I want to speak. Why I second guess every time I think about opening my mouth to engage in a conversation about these issues.
So, sorry for ranting.