i was bracing myself for the jian ghomeshi verdict. i, like a lot of other people, had the gut feeling that he was going to walk. but when i heard the news, my heart sunk. i knew jian, and at one time in my life, considered him somewhat of a friend. yet, when he was first charged, i didn’t harbour a modicum of surprise.
many years ago, he took me out for what i thought was a ‘friend’ birthday dinner. he was the usual chatty charming self-deprecating jian, but it was a bit ‘off’ right from the start and had a lot of the same details that others have written about. he didn’t lay a finger on me but there was a general vibe surrounding the whole night. he made sure we went to places where he was the star of the show. the MC at a book reading. a special booth at a restaurant that had framed pictures and autographs of him. and then an unnecessary stop at his place before driving me home so i could see the gold records and the new endeavors and the renovations under way. two attempted goodnight kisses and finally sore words flung at me, as he walked away. no one particular detail stood out over the other but i remember feeling strange afterwards. kinda’ bad, like i had done something wrong.
i didn’t totally know how to process it so it became a ‘hilarious’ story i told. i mean, what else was it? we all go on bad ‘dates’ and even though i’d had a weird gut reaction, it seemed like a silly thing to moan about. but when i read a similar account on xojane, it confirmed that there was a problem. yes, with the way jian treated women, but something else. with the way we shove these types of situations (and far worse) aside, for the greater good of not being a whiny a-hole. why is it that our gut reactions aren’t validation enough? why do we push past them to keep things from being uncomfortable or questionable?
since he was charged and the verdict was announced, i’ve thought a lot about my daughters and how i would feel if they were the ones who had been brave enough to speak up but ended up degraded, questioned, dragged through the mud. i’ve wondered how to teach them to survive in a world that wants them to behave, play along and not cause trouble. there have been many occasions that i have fallen into that camp because let’s face it, sometimes it’s just a lot easier to shut up and smile. i also recognize that it’s funny what you will accept for yourself but wouldn’t tolerate for your babies.
as they grow, i realize i have a special opportunity to be a guiding force. i have to show them what they are worth and give them knowledge that they can use to forge new paths. i have to place great importance on building communities of women and men who hold each other up and support and stand by one another. i have to empower them to feel powerful.
well sure. no big deal. insert wailing faced emoticon.
but here’s what i know: our girls will one day become women who will carry our voices. i think we should teach them to be kind & caring. strong & not scared. big & bold & brave. teach them that their body is theirs. that they can be whatever they want, even against all odds. teach them that feminist is not a bad word & believing that they are worthy is a right, not a privilege. show them that they are beautiful beyond their exterior. allow them the opportunity to have a voice & say things that resonate & make change, that their gut reaction is valid and not to be ignored. give them the space to stand tall & believe in big things.
because not only are they our future, they are also our present.