I don’t believe in Women’s Day.
Before you get mad, please let me share a little of my own experience — I’ll explain why.
As a adolescent, I spent a lot of time with my father. He taught me to love the outdoors, gave me “the talk,” and played a full time role as my golf coach. He drove across counties and states to fuel a dream which would ultimately never come true.
Dad was my first role model. I still want to be him when I grow up.
Throughout school, I found camaraderie in boys only. Looking back, I’m not sure I could have helped it. It made sense that being seated seated boy-girl-boy-girl was the worst punishment imaginable.
Clearly, men ran things. In high school, our all-male singing group ruled the choir. We were adored, even (especially) if we were terrible.
The all-female group received polite applause at best, even if they were perfect.
And they were often perfect.
My first job was more of the same. If you were a man, you got to run the business. You got to rub elbows with the customers. You got to fit in.
If you were a woman, you got to bring beer to the men.
After leaving work once to hang with some friends, I once said 12 words which make me sick to my stomach today:
“Any man is pretty much better than any woman at anything”
It got a good laugh, and some nods. We all kept on living, steadfast in our beliefs.
Imagine my astonishment when I graduated school and received, by some wicked stab of horrible luck, a string of female bosses.
Martha —one of the best editors I have ever known. She spent hours coaching me in the ETSU newsroom, wiping out my idiotic mistakes and showing me a better way.
Shanelle—who runs the best summer camp in Nashville, Tennessee. She placed me in an age group I hated at first, then grew to adore. Not many people can demand respect while eating animal crackers. Shanelle can.
Marissa — led the six-year-olds at said camp. Halfway through one summer, her despicable spouse shattered their marriage. Guess what? Marissa kept doing her job. She showed me how to work like it matters. Because it matters.
Tami — ran the Learning and Development team in my first “real” job. She is an unstoppable energy. Most millennial spend a year at their first job. I stayed 5 out of love for her. She made me.
Cathy — facilitates my current work life. Every time someone asks how I can be so creative, I point at Cathy. She sorts through dirt and drama and deadlines so I can make a living doing work I love.
I could write a book about the other role models in my life, whether I worked for them or not. A few names are Cindy, Paige, Candy, Mary Alice, Alaina, Kayla, Anna, Holly, Kristin, Caitlin, Misty, Juliette, Jeanne, Aysha, Fernanda, Emily, and Lisa and honest to God I shouldn’t have started this list because can keep typing for hours and I am very scared I will forget someone
Oh, and my mother?
My mother was there, always. I can give her no higher compliment.
Mom was there when dad and I returned from our travel. Mom was there when I asked why girls didn’t like me. Mom was there when I went through my first breakup. And when I sobbed in the corner of a funeral home after losing my grandmother, mom was there too.
“Your grandmother loved you so much.”
She said this even though it was her own mother lying lifeless in a coffin six feet away.
(By now you will have realized I faked you out with the headline. This felt important enough to pull a cheap internet marketing trick)
The reason I don’t believe in Women’s Day is because there should be no need for such a thing. EVERY DAY should be Women’s Day. Any other approach is a miserable injustice.
This conclusion didn’t happen because I am some evolved, progressive male. It happened because powerful, strong, competent women surgically removed my stubborn chauvinism piece by piece.
None of them had to tell me women were better, they just WERE better.
Do you know why you don’t know this? Because women never talk about how good they are.
When they do talk, we call them worse words than “women.”
A final thought.
I texted my wife Kate about this revelation. Kate is my rock, my light, and my best friend.
Also, she tells the truth, which is why when I messaged her how I felt about Women’s Day, she responded with this:
“I already know that shit. Tell the world.”
Much love as always ❤
— Todd B
Even though I’ve been writing for nearly ten years, this is the very first time I shared a post with my wife before I released it. I asked for her honest feedback and she gave it to me. It led to a great conversation about the state of Internet writing and how writers use hacks to get attention (like I did in the headline here).
At the end of our exchange, she said “Make Writing Real Again,” which I found terribly inspiring.