Last night I watched The Normal Heart and a Chris Hayes segment about the tie-in between the Isla Vista shooter and the online men’s rights groups. His guests were Jessica Valenti of The Guardian and a feminist blog and Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Safety. The former described the misogyny evidenced in emails and comments responding to her work and the latter described the same kind of thing with the embellishment of men showing up with guns at their meetings. Every day on Facebook (yes, every day) I post about a writer whose birthday falls on that day and yesterday was the birthday of Amelia Bloomer, who was born in 1818. A devoted suffragette, she founded The Lily, a periodical newspaper devoted to women’s issues in 1849. One hundred and sixty-five years later, we still make note of a woman being the first to do something: Mary Barra, first woman CEO of a major auto company; Jill Abramson, first woman hired and fired as Executive Editor at the New York Times. For that matter, the man who replaced Jill Abramson, Dean Baquet, is the first African American to get that job. So, I’m wondering, what’s the hold-up? Why isn’t it universally considered ridiculous that there be any distinction in place between straight white men (the ones who are somehow holding on to their belief in their innate superiority—not you other guys) and everybody else?
I have a wonky heart and maybe that contributes to my impatience, but I’m fed up with the inequality in my country. During my first adult life, as I like to think of it, I was a dancer and graduated from Juilliard. I sustained an injury, (besides the usual insult to a dancer’s body which is turning 30) went back to school, and then taught emotionally disturbed and learning disabled children for 15 years. I know, deep in my bones, that there are massive differences between human beings, many of them quite clear from early childhood. That has nothing to do with equality. The differences between humans in terms of intelligence, beauty, talent, competence, you name it, are huge, wonderful, and irrelevant to their rights. Sexual preference, gender, and skin color are still, STILL, big issues. Do we have time for this crap? Really? Ooof. Sigh. Deep breath. I know I haven’t said anything new, here. This is a letter from me to the world. That’s all. Maya Angelou died today and I watched The Normal Heart last night, so I felt like talking to you.