Many emotions, particularly in troubling times, are difficult to put into words – I know I’ve struggled to express myself and what I feel when it comes to current events – but sometimes a person finds the right way to reach the heart of a matter. This morning I read a quote by the actor Chris Evans, talking about being an ally for women during the #MeToo movement, and it absolutely hits the nail on the head, for me:
The hardest thing to reconcile is that just because you have good intentions, doesn’t mean it’s your time to have a voice.
This sentiment is one of the reasons my posts on this subject are marked in the (somewhat) hidden “Self-Reflection” category, because I honestly don’t think I have much right to share or inject my own thoughts on the systematic oppression and denigration women have suffered at the hands of male-centered society. I genuinely want to support, to show solidarity, to be an ally, but realistically I think the best way to be these things is to make sure my behavior moving forward doesn’t contribute to anyone else’s story of harassment or discomfort.
Ever since the #MeToo cultural revolution began, I heard of men who publicly showed support for women, only to privately continue terrible treatment of others – whether they thought they were doing so or not. I don’t want to be the cause of anyone else’s pain, and I certainly don’t want to betray anyone’s trust. It’s not for me to wear a sign that says “I’m an ally, you can trust me,” it’s my responsibility to live in a way that shows that I can be trusted.
Many of the posts in this category are specifically critical of my past thoughts and actions, and I wish more people had the measure of self-reflection to feel the guilt I do about who they are and how they’ve acted. I tend to take things to extremes, but in this case I feel that doubting my own viability as a friend, confidant, or partner helps ensure that I won’t repeat the mistakes of the past.
I have to sincerely thank Chris Evans for not only putting this powerful feeling and thought into such a simple message, but also for using his fame and stardom to speak out for good. To hopefully lead by example in listening to women, trusting them, and being quietly available without using this platform as an opportunity for self-promotion.
An example worthy of all emulation.