I Dare You. I DOUBLE Dare You.

Why aren’t you pissed off? I mean – really pissed off – if  you’re a woman struggling with running a household and holding down an outside job, and barely able to make it?

Maybe you’re home with kids and wishing you could work for pay but it’s more expensive to cover child care than what you might earn.

And you’re tired. Let me rephrase. You’re exhausted – though you put on your best face most of the time – for your children, your colleagues, your customers, your hubby if you have one.

Why aren’t you pissed off – really pissed off – if you’re a woman struggling to find a job whatever your age? Or floating around in frustration, underemployed and constantly adjusting your expectations downward? Think that Superwoman Myth is going to kick in at some point? Or better yet – a rescue fantasy?

Why aren’t you mad as hell – about health care and unemployment, about women still only earning 77 cents on the dollar compared to men, about the family courts and their impacts on parents and children, the lack of flexibility if you do have a job, about the strides we haven’t made in forty years? And by “we” I include our good men who love us, who live with us, who want us less worn out, healthier, and more able to share our lives with them.

Yes, yes, I know. It’s Father’s Day. My dad is gone but I think if he were here he’d like me mad – and mobilized. Mad and using my voice.

He’d like me mad and saying no – shouting no – so we can all say yes. Yes to a better life for ourselves in this country. Yes to our children and their future. Yes to communities of mixed demographics – men, women, young, old – everyone allowed to speak up, and working together to improve things for all of us.

Think about that: everyone working together to improve things for all of us.

Anger or Impotence

I dare you to get angry. I double dare you.

And I ask – no, I urge you to read this article by Barbara Hannah Grufferman on why women should be mad as hell and not willing to take it anymore.

Getting mad – and taking action – may be as easy as picking up a newspaper (or checking out your favorite news source online). It may be as easy as an open mind, and continuing to ask why. We’re all overwhelmed – not enough time, not enough sleep, everyone wants a piece of us, too many conflicting pulls; the blur of hours that run into weeks that run into years that become the rhythm of our child-rearing, the drudgery as we trudge through the motions of jobs, trying to hang on to our relationships. And yes, finding joy when we can. But not enough.

We’re far too busy just trying to get by.

Maybe you’re looking for work for the first time, and diploma in hand you can’t find anything but the local fast food joint. Maybe you’re looking for work again, even as a contractor, long since dropped through the statistical cracks not to mention health or unemployment benefits.

Maybe you’re having to choose between the rent or a doctor, between a doctor and food on the table, between the rent and child support or affording the barest necessities for your kids.

And we ask ourselves what’s wrong – why we’re numb, why we’re sick, why apathy nibbles at our edges though we want a more just world for our daughters and our sons, for our nieces and nephews, for our neighbors and friends.

Connection Keeps Us Healthy

I don’t think we’ve lost faith in each other. Not really. Perhaps my optimism is more persistent than I thought, but I see it daily – here – around the web. Women listen to each other more often than not, and share with extraordinary generosity and with no expectation of anything in return, except perhaps to pay it forward.

Our connections are strong; in frank discussion we reinforce our voice. Or better put – our voices.

We’re diverse, with multiple backgrounds and perspectives – with beliefs that run the gamut of political persuasions and speak from our origins and experience – especially as we grow older.

For some of us, taking action is about this – our conversations, our interactions. Staying informed.

It’s about writing and sharing, about listening and supporting each other. It’s about sharing our knowledge, our energies, our ideas, our heart.

For some of us, it’s about playing the game and making changes from within – shifting perceptions, adjusting employment environments, learning to negotiate for higher pay – we’ve earned it. Maybe it’s starting our own small businesses which we can run in ways that suit families and still turn a profit. Supporting other small business owners who will make a difference.

Maybe we’re able to volunteer. To teach. To write. And certainly, we can vote for those candidates who understand what we need – the hope of a more decent life, a less fearful life, a less wasteful life when it comes to utilizing dwindling resources – and under-utilizing the human capital that we comprise.

It’s about offering a helping hand. Moving from me to we and more to forincluding grappling with the staggering realities of our own fear, the most common fears of women over 50 and millions of other Americans plunged deep into the economic crisis – or “sluggish recovery,” if you prefer.

Guts, Action

What can you do, tangibly, besides get mad?

Citing Barbara Hannah Grufferman and the article I reference above:

Turn your anger into action:

  • Go to the ‘One Million Pissed-Off Women‘ page on Facebook and get motivated
  • Start a grassroots campaign for positive change
  • Read and be informed about the issues that are affecting us the most
  • Sit down and have a cup of tea with someone who is on the other end of the political spectrum so you can start to understand each other, and build consensus

There’s more. Go read it. Then share it.

And remember that we each create the future – every day. We can choose to work for change.

I dare you.


© D A Wolf

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Comments

  1. LOVE THIS! I had a good father whom I lost much too soon and I have a great husband and life partner who’s a wonderful father to our son. But though the men in my life were and have been good to me, I still get pissed off more often that one would think. For those women, usually single mothers, who are so often the first ones to get squeezed in a tight economy; for young girls who are trafficked for sex here in the U.S., at men who gaslight women who dare to use their voice; for young girls and boys who even today are being indoctrinated that women are the weaker sex; at the men who abuse their wives, their children; at the system for not having improved as much as it needs to in order to empower women and men equally; at women and men who witness these inequities and choose to look away…etc. This is why I love what I do for a living — running a foundation that focuses on empowering women and helping women political candidates who are not only aware of these inequalities and have the know-how to make systemic changes (who are usually at least twice as qualified as their male counterparts but very often receive half as many of the votes). I am, however, encouraged to remain hopeful when I meet women and men who are aware that these problems exist and are compelled to do something about it.

  2. Read both article links. “Women’s Worst Fear after Fifty” is so true for many women and substantial numbers of men. Right on with today’s post, and a key part is that you offer responsible actions for people to consider. For me, Discernment is the critical step – anger needs to move to that next step as quickly as possible or else it eats away at the individual in frustration and depression. Re Pissed-Off Women, I’m active on Facebook and let the world know my feelings in 420 spaces or less. But I don’t join anything on Facebook anymore — I’ve had my battles with that site. That’s another story.

  3. That is just what I was about to say… turn the anger into action. That is the only way to create change. I want my son’s school to embrace inclusion, I’m trying to organize a special ed PTA to support the efforts. It’s not enough for me to just sit and complain.

    I remember when I was in corporate america and I felt the compensation was too low, so I refused it and started the negotiation process. He asekd me, why I felt like I deserved that rate. I told him, not only do I possess the experience, but I hold two degrees and it’s exactly what my male counterparts are making, it was only fair.

    I firmly believe in using your voice and standing up for what you believe in. Great post.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Thank you – bleu, paul, Belinda. We are stronger together than separately – and please do read Barbara’s articles. They are inspiring and specific – a call to action. Things we can do – easily, to make a difference.

  4. Great post, BLW. And thank you for the link to the B. H. Grufferman article. Grufferman looks at the issues from a feminist perspective, but I think the entire country is suffering at the hands of a new gang of robber barons and the political system is incapable of responding largely because of the power of money in the system.

    The Tea Party phenomenon is one potent response. However, it is doomed to be ineffective because it misidentifies the culprits and it overlooks some fairly easy (at least in the world of ideas) solutions. Begin by cutting the national defense budget in half (at least) and dedicating the funds to public works projects that would replace and repair infrastructure we need for a 21st century economy. Does anyone really think this country would be more vulnerable if we had half as many troops in the field? Displaced military personnel would be needed for the execution and management of construction projects. Infrastructure problems are getting to the point that we are in more danger from falling bridges than from enemy invaders.

    The argument that we must cut public spending to remain within our resources assumes that resources cannot be increased. That is patent nonsense. We have virtually wiped out the progressive scale on the income tax. We refuse to increase the level of deduction for Medicare and Social Security.

    The public sector has taken a bad rap ever since R. Reagan took office. It is time to reinvigorate it and let it do its primary job: managing the economy toward humane ends.

    Personally, I am a Democrat and really do not relish the idea of sitting down to sip tea with Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann. I do not think I would enjoy their company nor would they enjoy mine. But if it would help us to see some issues more clearly and in the light of a great American consensus (I’m not so sure that exists any longer), I suppose I would give it a try. In fact, I may do it this week. I am surrounded by colleagues who think Ronald Reagan hung the moon. To talk about politics with any of them will be difficult and disagreeable but maybe worth the effort. Witness the words of Rick Perry in his speech to the Republic Party leadership conference: “Our opponents on the left are never going to like us, so let’s stop trying to curry favor with them,” he said.

    Left or right, Republican or Democratic really misses the point. Every citizen has the right to expect the political party of choice to represent the people’s interests and, today, neither is doing a very good job of it. Can the “Grufferman Program” help to move us in the proper direction? Possibly.

    But before anything of significance happens, gentle people must get over and be done with the idea that “talking politics” is slightly less respectable than talking dirty. If you buy this, then you have handed over the greatest gift we have taken for ourselves in this country. Be pissed. Speak up. Offend someone. But make some noise in the political system. Money talks but persistently and unapologetically speaking up for social justice makes for change. Politicians may spend millions in cynical efforts to buy your vote. That only works so long as good people remain silent.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Hear, hear, Timmy. And thank you for adding your voice to the conversation, and for considering sitting down and doing the deed of raising issues with those who think differently. As you say: Gentle people must get over and be done with the idea that talking politics is slightly less respectable than talking dirty.

  5. I echo the previous articulate comments. On a smaller, more nuanced note, I have experienced the “extraordinary generosity” of women writers on the web. The reading of each other’s pieces, the commenting, the tweeting, the comeraderie…I have been amazed to feel so inspired and supported by other writers, to know that others are thinking and feeling some of the same things as I am. The sense of community in and of itself isn’t a solution–but it certainly is invigorating.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      The community is indeed invigorating, Pauline. And our support of each other – and challenges to see things through a different lens – are a great start.

  6. Wow, cheers to you, BLW, for the rallying cry. Funny how we can float along in our stupor (okay, I float along in my stupor), complacent in the fact that our health insurance costs $1600 a month (!), that I’m uninsurable in the open market, and that, if I were looking for a job, being 51 would be something I’d have to hide. It’s all sexist nonsense and should have no part of our society at this point. I’ll be joining the FB group!

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      More pissed off women! Excellent! (One million pissed off women ought to have a voice, don’t you think?)

  7. I am so in!! You know I am in. And I am endlessly grateful and inspired by this incredible writing community we’ve created, so many of you were my lifeline just when I needed it most.
    xo

  8. You Rock, BLW! I am so glad you are giving me permission to be pissed off. I need it.

    And now I’m off to check out the links!

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