Last Sunday, my hometown, Athens, Greece, joined the world in marching for equality.
When I introduced our third speaker, I said this:
“Our next speaker is proof of why men belong at Women’s Marches.”
A woman booed. Before I even introduced him.
I went on to explain who he is, what he does, though that shouldn’t really matter because he was there, by the mic, speaking to a crowd at a Women’s March, giving a diverse voice to an otherwise all-female line up. He hasn’t harassed or violated anyone in any way, quite the contrary, he fights for those that are discriminated and hurt and abused and violated. Men and women.
Equality is the one word that unified every single march around the globe last weekend. From Kampala, Uganda, to New York City, to Wellington, New Zealand. Inclusion. Unity. Two words that are essential to equality; concept crucial to what we all claim to be fighting for.
Earlier that day, when the event’s program was released, a woman first praised it, and then seeing the man on the list, suggested that we don’t need any “mansplaining” done for us. Mansplaining? Confused, I had to look that one up to be sure. And felt very uneasy being put under the umbrella of “us” in the specific context.
Later, someone else mouthed the lyrics of a feminist song and pointed at my husband, who spent the afternoon hauling speakers, setting up sound equipment, and who, to top it all off, was playing the music for the event. The lyrics were not words of appreciation.
This is in little Athens, Greece, where Women’s Marches are small, where the local population does not identify with the causes, and doesn’t speak the language of the chants that sound off the bullhorns as we walk down the city’s streets. I can’t help but jump to the conclusion that the phenomenon of male-bashing, to its varying degrees, exists everywhere.
Three people, you may say. Yes, three people. One voice can start a revolution, three voices can stir it off its path.
So, whatever our personal issues with men may be, and I’m talking about everyday men, not the Harvey Weinsteins or the Dr. Nassars of the world, what’s needed here is some perspective. We’re going to go marching straight back where we came from if we choose to shut half of the world’s population out of our cause. We can’t do it without them. I don’t want to do it without them. I want to fight this fight together.