Real Men Wear Pink

Women of the world are speaking up. Their voices are getting louder, coming together with a noise no longer ambient, as every new vibration gives strength to the others. They are demanding to be heard, and understood, and validated. Not only in the interest of equality, but because they are speaking harsh truths that rock the foundations we’ve all been resting on for too long – thought to be solid ground, until all the worms started crawling out.

Brave women are marching in the streets to rejuvenate compassion and empathy and simple human decency. I held my little women on my lap as we watched our sisters pass by on the screen. My girls are six and seven years old. I struggle with an explanation for our current situation. They know who Donald Trump is. As much as anyone really can, I guess. But I wonder if he is the sole source of the problem, or just the nasty farmer who kicked up the dirt so we could see the ugly infestation that’s crawling around below the surface. Either way, the clarity is painful. We have work to do. And everyone can do something. This is what the marching women want us to know. As parents, we have to nurture and educate our next generation that kindness and generosity breed peace and contentment. They are the future. It can be so bright.

As we watched the march my seven-year-old noticed that it wasn’t only women standing up for women. There were men in the crowd. “Mom, why are boys walking? Isn’t it just for the girls?” “Well, those are men who want changes, too. They are sons and grandfathers and uncles and friends. Some of them are fathers. They want things to be better for their daughters.” Her scrunchy question face relaxed into a gentle smile. “Daddy would walk for us, Mom. I know he would.” Yes. He would.

When I saw those men marching with signs that declared they would not allow this derogatory speech and behaviour to continue against their loved ones, I felt so proud of them. They were men encompassing every demographic and profession. They laid down any societally bred “manliness” and stepped up with humility, donned their pink knitted hats and said, simply, “No.”

I married a guy’s guy. My husband fits very comfortably under this stereotype. He likes to hunt and fish and drink beer in the garage. He works outside and never complains about the cold. He doesn’t like sappy movies and he doesn’t talk about his feelings very often. That was the man I married. But he has changed. Because now he is a man with two daughters.

I never thought that two tiny little girls could have such an impact on a man. From the moment they were born, my husband has been different. He has cried more tears, watched more princess movies, and worn more tutus than I ever imagined possible. He’s going to kill me for telling you this. But in the current political climate, I think it’s important. It’s important not only for how he has responded to them, but how they are with him.

My girls are different when they’re spending time with their dad. They are brave and will push their limits. He encourages and supports this. The snow is currently six feet high in our backyard. Last night I heard squeals of delight coming from outside. I looked out in time to see Six being launched off the back deck by my husband and landing in a pile of snow face deep. Her laughter broke through the fluffy white coating on her face. When she’s with me she cries if she gets snow on her wrist.

Girls need to feel supported and valued by the men in their life. Whether it’s their father, grandfather, or older brother. Even the man leading their country. Being cherished and prioritized by men that they look up to lets them believe what they have to say matters. It is crucial to fostering courage and the belief that their voices have the power to create change. The marching women were displaying this bravery. So were the men marching with them. They showed that by lessening the divide between genders, goodness will prevail. Way to go, guys.