Agitate, Agitate, Agitate! (By Zachary Draves)
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."-Eleanor Roosevelt. Today I stand in solidarity with women and girls across the globe on International Women's Day. From the Suffragists fighting for the right to vote, to the Women's Libers fighting for reproductive rights and equal pay, and to intersectionists fighting against systemic oppression across the board, women have been at the forefront of social justice and the pursuit of equality for decades ...and that passion continues to this day. As a man, I feel a particular obligation to be an ally to women and girls in the quest for gender equality and to create a society that is equal, just, and nonviolent. In a world where 1 in 3 women are the victims of some sort of violence, mostly at the hands of men, we as men must take the time to not only be allies to women and girls, but look inward at how we were socialized to be men in the first place. As opposed to emphasizing toughness, aggression, control, and domination, we need to redefine manhood to one of love, nurturing, compassion, and empathy. We must become part of the solution and not the problem. We need to listen to the voices of women and girls and learn from their experiences. We must not shame and blame women and girls for acts of violence committed against them. We should not let the acts of Donald Trump, O.J. Simpson, Johnny Manzel, Marv Albert, Ray Rice, Chris Brown, Woody Allen, and other prominent names of men who committed violence against women and girls become the norm for manhood. We should not take it as something to overlook when the media is not present. Everyday should be a conversation on how men can become actively involved in stopping violence and achieving gender equality. While we have come a long way since the first women's rights convention in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, we still have much more to do. We can start, especially us men, by listening to women and then do what fellow male ally Frederick Douglas told us to do "Agitate, Agitate, Agitate!"