As a white woman, I am allowed to be emotional. I am allowed to cry, to be angry, to want to give up. Most of the time people are sympathetic when I talk about “that creepy man in the grocery store.”
Everyone understands when I ask for a ride home from work rather than walk by myself at night, even though I enjoy the time to listen to music on the way there.
And because of the wage gap, the higher chance of rape, the outdated idea that I should yearn for the day when I am a mother—I can complain. I can complain along, although in a different way, with the LGBTQ+ community, all of America’s racial minorities, and the rest who have been societally granted this right to be angry. In the process, white, straight men have been villainized.
In this villainization, white, straight men have lost their sympathy from other demographics. Anyone can have anxiety and/or depression. Physically and sexually abused men rarely step forward because it is somehow not as extreme as it is for women. Not being allowed to express their emotions is the biggest contribution to the problem.
I am not saying that men should not step up their game. I think the recent Gillette advertisement really nailed it and hopefully inspired some men (and women, I felt inspired) to be better. I am saying that we all need to step up.
Every single one of us needs to be a better person, to call each other out on our crap, and get better at treating one another kindly and with respect.
Just because you are not a white, straight man does not mean you get a free pass. It does not mean your opinion matters more. It means that you get to be angry and use that anger to help inspire others.