This afternoon Mom and I met friends to see "That Takes Ovaries," a play at our local community college. Our entourage consisted of 3 men, 3 women.
The book of narratives that the play is based on, edited by Rivka Solomon, is probably one I'd enjoy. The play was tauted as
"a bold, gutsy, brazen, outrageous and courageous collection of real-life experiences and first-person dramatic narratives from women and girls. This 90-minute play is packed with true tales of estrogen-powered deeds that range from playful and sassy to political, including women fighting for their human rights."It was all that, yes. Each actress did an amazing job of performing their assigned narrative. Some were hilarious and shocking: a woman confronting a burglar in her home wearing nothing but a t-shirt (no panties!) and reducing him to tears by shaming him with a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. Another tale of a young girl, who with her girlfriends, stops a long-time highschool ritual of the boys scoring 1-10 on each of their body parts as they walked by.
So, there were empowering tales and some heartbreaking tales. It was entertaining, and interesting. I laughed. I cried.
What I strongly did NOT like about the play, and about a lot of "women's empowerment" messages that we encounter, is that there was no tale in which any man was portrayed in a positive light. They were burglars, pimps, abusive boyfriends, abusive husbands with knives, guns and strength.
I was more than a little uncomfortable and embarrassed to have invited my male friends to a play in which the underlying secondary message seemed to be "men are shit." I'm positive that had the genders been switched in the play, if I'd had to listen to men tell tales of women portrayed only as catty, loose, nagging, money-grubbing shrew-bitches, I'd have stormed out in an indignant huff before the play's end.
There are a few women in my life that like to occasionally get on that "there are no good men" bandwagon: "they're sexist, they're pigs, they're never faithful..." and I'd like the Gentlemen in the room right now to know this: I have NEVER sat still for this blather. Though I'm usually one to sit back and quietly let idiots reveal themselves, I have to voice my opinion on theirs: "Hogwash!"
Sure, women have to empower themselves against the bad guys. Against unequal wages. Against sex discrimination. Abuse. Violence. But there's no reason to walk all over the good guys to find that empowerment. We have to also acknowledge, ladies, one other important fact:
Women sometimes have to empower themselves against other women.
There, I said it. Now THAT took ovaries!
Seriously, who among us hasn't been hurt or betrayed by a close or not-so-close female friend that should have been standing by us? I, and most of my female friends, at one point or another, have had to cut loose other women in our lives for our own sanity.
One close friend of mine chose to end a lifelong friendship after her children were repeatedly seriously injured by the other's children, with no repercussions, no end in sight. The friend spurned harassed her via telephone and doorbell, and went so far as to case the neighborhood and look in her windows during the day while the kids were napping.
A tough time for her; she was empowered by her female friends, and by her best male friend: her husband.
Men Hurt Women. Women Hurt Women. Men Hurt Men. Women Hurt Men.
But so also do we love and support one another. And maybe YOU can find empowerment on your own, and maybe I can too. But's it's sure a hell of a lot easier with a little wind under your wings from both your male and female friends.
So. To Mike, Atef, and Ilaiy:
Thanks for being such great men and such great friends. Thanks also for being such good sports this afternoon; it was for a good cause. I should have stayed for open mic and said all of this on stage.