I love The Pastry Box Project. It’s the best addition I’ve made to my reading list this year. Catching up on it, I read Jeff Eaton’s piece Listen or GTFO. He writes,
Sure, some white men. But not all, obviously. As I prepared to jump into the conversation — to help clarify that not all of us were determined to hog the spotlight, that we were excited to help — I did something uncharacteristic.
I shut the fuck up.
I shut the fuck up, and I tried to listen.
Defending ourselves is always easier than listening to difficult truths.
Perhaps, just maybe, it’s time for us to quiet down and listen to the people who have to live it.
We may not know all the answers, but we can stop pretending it’s someone else’s problem. We can listen.
I am a straight, white male. I’m also 6’5″ and 350 lbs. I’m a mountain of a man and about as alpha a male as I can get without being in proper shape with rippling muscles.
I see how my wife is treated. I see how my friends are treated. I see how women around me are treated. I don’t try to defend men. We are the problem. We are the cause of the pain and anger and hurt. We are the cause and we are the solution. Period. It’s not someone else’s problem. It’s our problem to solve.
What is the solution? I don’t know. This is where we all need to shut up and listen. Listen to women. Listen to our wives and girlfriends. Listen to our friends. Our mothers. Our sisters. Our grandmothers and if they’re still with us, great-grandmothers. This isn’t a new problem. This is a long-held, deeply rooted problem.
It’s not one we’re going to fix in a week or a month or even a generation. It’s bigger than all of us. We can start taking small steps. And the first step is to listen.
Talk to the women in your life. Ask them, what is it like going through your day? What is riding a bus or driving a car with the windows down like? What about walking down the street on a hot day?
How does it make you feel? Start there. And Yes, all women have a story to share. Listen to their stories. If you’re a women, share your story. We can seek solutions when we start to listen.