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The Future is Female and Our Sons are Watching

I'm watching the DNC and I am crying. I didn't think it would affect me the way that it has, but here I am, sniffling on the carpet with my computer in my lap.

My son, Archer is next to me -- my eleven-year-old son, who months ago wrote his own presidential speech and has been Hillary's biggest fan from the start. My daughters scamper in and out of the room as we sit transfixed -- every now and then they gather on my lap and we explain to them who we're watching and what they're talking about.

Every time I explain, I get choked up.

"Mom. Why are you crying?"

"I'm just... really moved, I guess. All of this is just... "

"Long time coming, right?" Archer says.

"Yeah."

He nods and goes back to watching the DNC. He sits with me as we watch one woman after another take the podium -- powerful women -- strong, well-spoken, game-changing women, women who unite to celebrate the power and accomplishments of another WOMAN. Together we watch mothers. Sisters. Movers and shakers. We also watch fathers. Brothers. Strong well-spoken, game-changing men also celebrating the power of women. Of WOMAN.

This is a celebration of Hillary and her life of service and accomplishments, but the more we watch, the more it starts to feel like something else. Replace her name with SO MANY women of yesterday, even today and tomorrow... women who have worked ten times as hard as their male colleagues only to be discredited, discouraged, brushed aside. Women who for centuries stood in the shadows, pulling strings, changing the world without credit.

Watching I feel the spirits of our foremothers and their brilliant potential -- a history of muted voices suddenly LOUD. I try to make out what they're saying. The ghosts. The wives. The mothers. So many names we'll never know, and I desperately want to hear them all.

"Think of all the women... through time. The women all over the world who are screaming without stages. Who are orating without microphones. Our history is dark with oppression. But this -- THIS -- your life -- you get to witness what feels like REAL CHANGE."

THE FUTURE LOOKS so different than the past, Archer. The PRESENT looks so different from the past...

I was recently out with my kids when a stranger approached my son. His sister was wearing her FUTURE IS FEMALE shirt and he cocked his head to the side and squinted with disgust.

"Is that your sister?" he said. "What do you have to say for your sister's shirt?"

"What do you mean?"

"I hope you have a shirt at home that says 'the future is male.'"

"I actually have the same shirt she's wearing," he said. "Mine is just in a bigger size."

I smiled.

"This isn't a pissing contest, sir. A more female future means a more equal future. Equality benefits the brothers of the sisters wearing the shirts AS MUCH as it benefits the sisters wearing the shirts. There is plenty of room for men AND women at the table. And yet, for thousands of years men have taken up most of the seats. Have you done anything to change that? My assumption, after listening to how threatened you are by four words on a little girl's t-shirt, is no..."

I wish I said all of those things. What I said was far less eloquent. I stammered, got defensive, tried to cover his voice with my voice. I did say something about the table though. And I did storm off in a very stomp-footy-stormy-offy-way.

The thing is, that man was not alone in his thinking. There are plenty of men (and women) who have commented on my posts throughout the years who feel that PRO-FEMALE means ANTI-MALE. And I get it. I used to be one of them.

I wonder, though, how many of them -- of you, if you're reading -- have been excluded from your own conversations? I'm not just talking about women whose rights have been dictated by men since the beginning of time, but people of color whose rights have been dictated by white people... LGBTQ people whose love has been questioned by heterosexual leaders who cannot possibly know the struggles they have taken it upon themselves to define.

This is why we need ALL voices -- diverse voices -- leaders, spokespeople, teachers, writers, artists, actors, presidents of the United States of America.

For centuries, white men have called the shots in this country. Trump represents what feels like the patriarchy going out with a wet fart. And if it wasn't so terrifying, it would almost be poetic -- biblical even -- Here we have a more inclusive, more female future battling closed-minded white men who live for the past -- men who represent the very worst the patriarchy has to offer.

And the whole world is watching.

Time to change your drawers, patriarchy. Time to change. your. drawers.

My son is eleven years old. My daughters are seven and four. In their lifetime, their parents have ONLY voted for a black man and a woman to represent and lead our country. That is PHENOMENAL to me but it isn't to them -- it's just the way it is -- which I think makes it all the more remarkable.

In the end, I'm glad a narrow-minded stranger said what he said to Archer so he could see WHY, when I ordered my daughters and myself those shirts, I ordered them for my son and husband, too. Because statements must be made. Speeches must be televised. Voices must dissent.

Because, when glass ceilings crack, the weak fear the shards.

The truth is, a more female future should in no way feel threatening to a real man in the same way a "future is female" t-shirt doesn't threaten a boy who understands his privilege. GIRL power doesn't mean BOY UN-POWER, which is why the DNC, especially the hours I've spent watching it with my children, specifically my son, have been so gratifying.

Because in so many ways, EVERY SINGLE WOMAN who has stepped up to the podium is wearing her future is female t-shirt. AND EVERY SINGLE MAN is wearing one, too. With their words. With their praise. With their honor, respect and solidarity.

It is possible for men and women to come together to create a more female future, I think. These last few days have shown me that it's possible.

And yes, our girls are watching. HELL YEAH, THEY'RE WATCHING! But let us not forget our sons are, too. Future fathers. Future husbands. Future leaders AND supporters-of.

And while our daughters high-five us with arms flexed, may our sons feel emboldened to the imagery of the last few days -- may their ears echo with the stories of our first female presidential nominee -- stories that acknowledge her FEMALENESS (broken water) and applaud her fearlessness (unbreakable spirit) in the same speech, made by a man who is PROUD to stand BEHIND his wife and watch her lead.

May our girls grow up KNOWING they are powerful. And may our boys grow up emboldened by that power -- never threatened -- there is no need to be threatened. Equality means more rights for others, not less rights for you...

And may WE ALL join hands together to hoist our hope against a new direction. A more female future. . A more equal, more COMPASSIONATE world...

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