I really wanted to call this text “THE female perspective” and I realized there isn’t just one perspective. There exists a myriad of female perspectives, as many perspectives as there are women on this planet. They come from all over the world and they are all equally important in my humble opinion. I am a storyteller which implies I know the power of stories and storytelling. I believe every story in this world is worth telling. Let’s be honest, let’s be real, some stories might not capture all people’s attention, they might be badly written or even slightly boring yet, it is imperative to share them. I sincerely believe in people’s stories and I will defend everyone’s right to tell their story, especially women’s because we don’t hear from them as much as we should.
My premise might be interpreted as an ultra-liberal, left leaning point of view. It might come off as an absurd attempt to push 21st century western ideology that is all-inclusive to avoid hurting minorities’ sensibilities. Yes, it will be interpreted as pandering to feminists. It is none of the above and to those who think that, I say get over yourselves for a minute, will you? These stories have immense value because they happen within our world. They define our world. Sometimes, the same stories describe a world that we (especially men) aren’t familiar with or a world we might not even know exists. Perhaps some people are afraid of what they might discover, or some feel guilty for not doing anything to improve the world, etc. This message isn’t about guilt, it is about awareness and discovery.
I am lucky to have an ease with people and people talk to me; dare I say that they confide in me. I guess that is what made me a storyteller; that ability of listening to understand and to be empathetic. Granted, that isn’t an easy thing to do because we all have biases, preconceived notions, sometimes we get defensive when we hear things we don’t like or agree with yet, we must listen to others.
People talk to me and I listen. The stories that get to me come from all over the spectrum, men and women alike. I know most of the guys’ stories, because they are quite similar to mine. The women’s stories, however, are far different from what I know, heard and seen. So, whenever I am lucky enough to speak to a lady who tells me her story, my curious nature takes over and I can be a bit of a nuisance; I ask a lot of questions and I challenge people. If something isn’t clear, I will push to get a clear answer and that can easily be irritating.
My lack of filter pushes me sometimes to ask the most inappropriate questions. I do not do it for effect, neither for embarrassment. I just want to understand others. I want to get a better grasp of who they are, what they want, need, think and so on. Sometimes, I end up being people’s confidante. There is no greater responsibility than people who give you a piece of their heart by sharing with you their most personal and intimate thoughts. Vulnerability is a rare quality and humility even rarer.
The ladies are more in touch with their feelings and they also talk to me, wanting to get a male perspective, which I am eager to share. I grew up having many friends and I was blessed that half of that gang were women. Those friendships with the opposite gender have enriched my life with female perspectives and their own stories and along the way, my female friends have trusted me with their secrets, feelings, fears, hopes, dreams, aspirations and so on.
We would sit down, talk and I would gladly listen. Yet, as their stories went on, the world they would describe looked and felt nothing like mine. “Are we living on the same planet?”, I once asked myself, as the incredulity increased with each story. Yes, we are living on the same planet, we just live in different worlds. That was one of the saddest conclusions I have ever come across in my life. Their reality was and still is immensely, profoundly different from mine. How could that be? Why do I not see what they see? What the hell is happening here?
The stories offered an eye-opening experience, a once in a lifetime education, the kind you could never get in school. I, Freeman, had no idea what women went through on a daily basis. I was completely oblivious and with every new revelation, I would clench my fists out of anger and frustration. I would curse. I would grind my teeth. How could women struggle that much? How is that possible? How are they able to make it? I am not saying this was a systematic occurrence but every now and then these disturbing stories would pop up and sadness would follow.
There is a world out there I was unaware of and still haven’t totally understood. Moreover, a little voice in my head keeps reminding me that I would never totally understand what women go through and how they feel. I heard stories of harassment, of sexual harassment, of sexual assault, rape, violence, sexism, shame, misogyny, fear, terror, violence, psychological and physical abuse, etc. It is infuriating. It is fucking impossible to stomach to see that women go through every day. Men could never understand that and never will, that is a fact.
I know this is a touchy subject. I have heard men and women avoid the subject because of the backlash and what the social media mob could do to them. I hate social media for that specific reason even if I am on social media. No one can ask questions or state something without being vilified, insulted, shamed, and so on. I myself thought about what words to use and what words to avoid. Then, I realized I will end up being fake by trying to please a certain crowd and trying to avoid pissing off another. So, fuck it!
Let’s get something out of the way. I am not here to “mansplain” anything to anyone, alright? I am not here to tell women how to act, feel, think, walk, talk, dress, etc. That isn’t my fucking job. I am not here to say I know what women go through because I don’t. I might have caught some glimpses of their lives, but I realized I don’t know much. I am not here to start a gender war or to emphatically say “men are trash” or yell about patriarchy (which I realize, most people don’t even fucking know what it is about or where it comes from!) or use buzzwords to create a momentum. That is not the goal of this message.
One other crucial thing: I am not here to ask men to apologize as a rule. The men who have hurt women, should be prosecuted like any other criminal. By the way, if you are a man or a woman and you have aided and abetted men who hurt women-see Epstein case in the news-we, the men would love to see you rot in jail for several decades. Listen, I know it might be hard or impossible to see but not all men want to hurt women, ok? I know I am mansplaining some concepts even if I had promised not to, but I am here to say my side of the story. I would love to hear yours, and I am willing to listen. That is why I am doing this, I want collaboration, education, teaching, to be the pinnacles of our world. I don’t want to see exclusion, stigmatization and quick anger rule us. I am humbly asking to be educated on matters I don’t know much about…
I am here to say that the world needs more female perspectives. That is an undeniable, unequivocal fact. I would like to say that people crave women stories more than they might care to admit. The world needs more female writers, more novelists, more leadership from women, more women in every position. The world will only get better once we get more stories from women. It will teach us, men and women-the women who have never gone through hardships-about what other women are going through.
I am not here to talk about feminism because it is a vast concept but I know I am a feminist at heart because I want my fellow human beings of the opposite gender to be safe, happy, to live, work, study, do whatever they please without being subjected to arbitrary rules created by some fucking archaic dudes thousands of years ago. I want women to be free, happy, to live long lives where they choose their own destiny and their way of life. Their stories will change the world as it is, and I am here for it.
I don’t want women to be subjected to persecution, prosecution, rape, harassment, sexual assault, misogyny, etc. I want to see women do well and I am here to help. If you see me as an enemy because of my XY chromosomes and just for that, well, feel free not to contact me. I want to talk and listen to constructive things, not be berated because genetics decided I would be a man, ok?
Ladies, I implore you to write, to tell your stories, to teach us what you know and go through. I am a storyteller; I can lend you my pen and we could write together. It will be your voice that will resonate out there, not mine. I am just the ink; YOU ARE THE MESSAGE.
The world needs more female writers, storytellers and in this era of great and free access of the internet, let’s take advantage of those great facts. I see blogs, Instagram pages, tweets with female stories and I love it. I read them every chance I get, and I always learn something. I would love to hear your stories and I would love to help you tell them. I am at your disposal. You know how to reach me, and I would invite you to do so. I am an ally, whether you believe me or not. Try me. My actions will do the talking.
I am here to build bridges and I brought the bricks and the mortar. I just need some help to build the bridges. I humbly ask you to lend a helping hand. What do you say?
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day.