As if the daily news is not bad enough, with the daily insertion of inane and insane distractions coming out of DC, we now have the “Weinstein Affairs” (and that is a pretty literal interpretation) taking over a good portion of the daily news stream. However, this one does need to be considered much more than a mere distraction.
Yes, much more than a distraction about the high and mighty and how they fall, as to me, as a person who has lived on both sides of the gender binary, and who has experienced the flows of both testosterone and estrogen throughout my body, now view the issues and their roots with a new perspective.
It does seem so long ago and far away, when my first puberty began. It was the fifties, and I was already sneaking into my mom’s closet and drawers to try on her dresses and underwear. I had no idea why, but the compulsion was unstoppable. Yet, my body and voice were changing, and the competing feelings had lives of their own. I watched the girls in my class also changing and often got “excited” when I saw some of them. Little did I understand the biology of what was happening to each of us, but it was obvious which girls were “developing.” By the fifth grade these feelings were already entering the conversations of the groups of boys, that I was part of, but also within the groups of girls that I sometimes could over hear. I am pretty sure that not many of us understood what was really happening to us.
The boys, doing what boys would do, would brag when they brushed up against one of the girl’s breasts, and maybe even reached out with their hands to even touch them. For some, it was a contest as to whether the girl even noticed, or if she yelled back and maybe even tried to slap him. The stories continued, and I began to feel that this was an initiation I needed to somehow take part in. Looking back it seems that it seems that groping may well be a male rite of passage, to make sure you have the credentials to join the tribe of men!
I have not thought about those days for such a long time, but these latest events have cleared away so much of the brush that was blocking the trails to these memories, that I can find myself feeling those confusing feelings from way back then, but can now understand them through a very different lens.
Did I want to brush against, accidently touch, or even reach out to grab and perhaps a gentle or even hard squeeze of one of the girl’s breasts. Did I want to do this due to the hormones now flowing within me, or did I need a real talking point or “conquest” to make sure my membership in the club of boys would be in good standing. Looking back I understand it was both, but even now, I am not certain which was more important! Would I pick a target with small budding breasts or already well-developed ones. Would it be a girl I liked or one that I didn’t? Where? When? What would I do if I got yelled at or slapped? OMG, so much to think about, and it was so risky.
The slide show of my memories is not totally clear, but I can see myself walking between classes and in the stairwells, brushing by, reaching out, and touching with an occasional squeeze, each with varying results. I could make my claim that I belonged to my tribe, all the while there were those voices in my head telling me it was the wrong tribe I was joining.
For me, those days of the random grope did not last all that long, perhaps from the fifth through seventh grade as puberty was catching up to many of my classmates, and the emergence to young adulthood created an entire different set of needs, feelings and the questions about belonging. I was pretty sure that was true for most people. Yet over the past few years it seems that adults who grope have seemed to become visible in the public eye like never before.
Now Trump can say:
"I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it, you can do anything... grab them by the pussy."
Harvey Weinstein can ask for threesomes, and grab a breast, and get away with it for years due to his power as a star maker and his money to keep things quiet.
One becomes President and the other is being called a monster, yet each is doing something that most people grow out of in their early teens.
I am not sure why, except for the total abuse of the “power” that their money brings them.
I ask myself when did a Rite of Passage turn into a Right of Privilege
I look at both and now can see that neither of these should be accepted or allowed.
Do we teach our sons that Boys will be Boys is OK in their interaction with girls and women? If we do, how can we change this, as we must do?
I have now gone through a second puberty on my journey to authenticity, and realize that this journey was one where I chose to give up some very real male privilege. No one has brushed by me or copped a feel, and I honestly do not know what I would do if that happened, but truly I feel so different about what I hear in the news.
I know that the combination of power and privilege always results in oppression. Way back then was I just a boy being a boy, learning how to be an oppressor. With today’s eyes, I see that is true, and it is not how I want to see myself or be.
Luckily for me, I outgrew it. Sadly for many boys who get rich and gain power, they do not, and they never get a grip on their groping.
Grace Anne Stevens inspires people to find their truth and live their authentic life!
She is the author of No! Maybe? Yes! Living My Truth, and Musings on Living Authentically. Grace is available for speaking to all groups who would like to learn the values of, and how to live authentically. Workshop descriptions can be found at her website.
Grace was selected as an Amtrak Residency Writer for 2016; you can share her experiences on the rails on her website https://www.liveurtruth.net/amtrak-blogs.html.
She was also selected as Person of the Year (2017) by New England Pride TV.
Visit her website at: https://www.liveurtruth.net/.
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