egalitarian

Woman gamer harassed

I have been a gamer since 1980 when I purchased my first Atari console unit. I played Space Invaders, Pong, Circus and many other games for hours.

After purchasing my first PC in 1984, I played DOS games which consisted of text only or the simplest of games with limited graphics.

I purchased other console units for my oldest son over the years and always played games on those consoles (Sony Dreamcast, Nintendo, Sega Genesis, etc.).

My next PC had Windows OS which opened up the world of Myst to me and my kids. I bought educational games for the kids and played my own games while my kids sat beside me and helped me solve puzzles from the notes I took.

A decade or so later, I was introduced to the world of MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games). I joined the online gaming world and began to meet other online players. Some of them were women, but the majority were men.

In this world, there are men who play female characters and GIRLs: girl in real life.

I have made some real-life friends through online gaming, both male and female.

Within the online gaming environment you find all types of male players: protective types, kind types, gentlemanly types, socially-awkward types, controlling types, cliqueish types, macho types, quiet types, outspoken types, highly-competitive types, profane types and finally the really ugly types which portray a variety of bad male stereotypes: immature, unrestrained, abusive and sexually predatory (these behaviors are not exhibited exclusively by men, though).

In one game that I played for years, a new guild member started sending me private messages which started with this question: “Do you swallow?”

This was in response to the name of one of my characters which was inspired by a butterfly. What I thought was lovely and amazing, a male player twisted and perverted.

I reported him to our guild leaders and he was booted from the group.

This guy had started playing the game after a stint on Second Life, which is not a game at all, but actually an online community with an X-rated section for adults. I guess he thought all online games were populated by the same types of people. He was mistaken.

On other occasions, I have had character names twisted and perverted by male players in public chat (you can tell the guys who watch a lot of porn). I always reported any player who was obviously sexually harassing me. Many ended up banned from the game, not just because of my reports but because these people generally bring down the gaming environment to a low, base level which game developers do not want (especially subscription-based games where female players are valued).

Most recently, I started playing Blizzard’s first-person shooter game Overwatch. This team-based game is crazy fun, with a choice of 22 characters for each short match against other players.

There is attack and defend, capture and escort. After playing a set of matches with a 6-member team, you might find yourself playing the next set of matches with players from the other team. It is always a good idea to be a good sport after a match, a concept that seems to elude many players.

When I created my gamertag for Overwatch, I used a variation of my very female name. It was obvious that I was a female player.

Obnoxious male players have attempted to motivate our team with statements such as: “everyone get your dicks out.”

When I informed him that I didn’t have such equipment, he was not very nice.

Over the next few weeks, I found myself the subject of negative talk if I participated in voice chat and attempted to provide any leadership or guidance to my team. This negative talk was not just from male players, but younger female players as well. I was often teaming up with one of my sons who witnessed the behavior. It was an interesting dynamic.

If a guy offered the team leadership, he was usually rewarded with cooperation and thanks. If a female player attempted to provide leadership, she was often treated badly during and after the match.

When I reported to my other son that a male player had called me a “f***in bitch” after I called him out on his abusive chat, my son was upset but not surprised. As a male player, he was used to seeing and hearing such language. He had not, however, dealt with it directed toward his mother (you know, the argument that sexual harassment and/or assault isn’t a big deal until it could be your daughter, sister, mother, etc.).

I used this experience to try to educate my sons on what women must deal with in a man’s world, as gaming has been primarily male dominated for years. That is changing quickly. More and more women are populating the online gaming world.

I made a decision after yet another male player heaped abuse on me  to change my gamertag to something masculine.

For the last three weeks I have not had a single negative comment aimed at me. Not one.

Male gamers will argue that women who complain about the gaming world are just whining or being snowflakes or SJWs (social justice warriors).

The New York Times article SWSX Addresses Online Harassment of Women in Gaming is a disturbing read which I recommend to everyone.

There are YouTubers who regularly make fun of women who are trying to change the online, console, and PC gaming world so that such games do not perpetuate harmful attitudes, behaviors and stereotypes.

Indi game developers Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn, and Anita Sarkeesian, social justice warrior who owns the Feminist Frequency blog and YouTube channel, are the favorite subjects of deniers of misogynistic and anti-femiinist themes in games. These women have received death threats and continued online harassment through Twitter and other forums.

Gamergate is the subject of many naysaying male gamer YouTubers such as Investigamer who mispronounces impartiality over and over (I know, I’m nitpicking) after gaming journalism was accused/exposed as being corrupt.

I understand that male players are just not going to see and understand what women endure in male-dominated environments because they are not on the receiving end of such behavior. I understand this. However, men need to learn to listen to female voices instead of denigrating or atttempting to silence them.

Polarizing men against women in the gaming world is not going to accomplish anything. Men and women must care about ending online harassment especially in the gaming world.

I know what I have experienced. I know that the harassment stopped when I quit using voice chat and changed my gamertag to one that is obviously masculine.

If women must disguise themselves as male players in order to avoid harassment, there is something wrong with the online gaming world.

If a female player challenges a male player because he is being a dick, her voice should be respected. If a gamer chooses to be a dick, he should expect to be called out for such behavior.

It is one thing to be upset during a game and expressing said frustration, it is another to attack a female player with the aim of humiliating and ultimately silencing her.

I have an announcement: men don’t rule the world anymore. You have to share the world with women, and this includes the military, politics, business, education, and, yes, gaming.

 

 

 

Nagging

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Actually, @BrianKelm, you are wrong (see links at bottom of post).

Men and women want to direct their lives, their days and their downtime. This is true for males and females, men and women, boys and girls. No one wants to be constantly reminded that they have failed to do something that someone else wants them to do. No one.

But let’s look at what constitutes nagging, which is a negative behavior typically attributed to women, especially wives, mothers and girlfriends.

“Nagging takes the form of verbal reminders, requests and pleas,” Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW says on WebMD.com. “It goes from a reminder to a nag when the person who is being reminded gets offended.”

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The rest of the WebMD article is filled with well-meaning advice for those who suffer from the horrible habit of nagging others to get what they want.

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I propose that the behavior that is characterized as nagging is nothing more than one person who does not have enough power in a relationship attempting to communicate his or her needs.

In many cases, this behavior occurs because one person feels an unequal distribution of responsibility and desires a true partner in life. But is it just that?

I think what we most often call nagging is simply female leadership and responsibility.

I propose that calling female leadership in relationships and the family nagging constitutes silencing behavior by men and women.

It is also a part of the effort to keep women as objects for men’s pleasure and use.

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Really???

This is a perfect example of male power being asserted in potential relationships, right? Men define what is considered desirable in women and women either toe the line or get no men. Except this is a woman. I admit that I am confused by this mentality.

In my English literature classes I marveled at the female writers who never married. For most young women, the idea of never getting married might seem foreign and bizarre. There must have been something wrong with Emily Dickinson; no man wanted her, right? She must have been ugly or difficult or mentally ill.

Nah, she was free to write and that was all that mattered to her (while she cared for her parents and their house, of course).

How happy is the little Stone
That rambles in the Road alone,
And doesn’t care about Careers
And Exigencies never fears—
Whose Coat of elemental Brown
A passing Universe put on,
And independent as the Sun
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute Decree
In casual simplicity—

-Emily Dickinson

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the only way a woman could have any power over her own life was to remain unmarried and have enough money (and an understanding father or brother or lover) to allow her some freedom.

What options were available to women when they had almost no legal rights, could not vote, could not own property and were not allowed to, in most cases, manage their own wealth.

What careers were open to women?

Men could legally beat and rape their wives in most cultures, and still can in some.

Fast forward to contemporary times. We have a man and a woman in a traditional relationship (this is just an example). In most cases, the man can do whatever the hell he wants without question or judgment during working hours. He has a career, might be the primary earner, so he must work long hours. He is unavailable the majority of working hours to handle the hundreds of tasks required to manage a family, assuming there are  children now. Those tasks fall upon his wife even if she works full-time outside the home.

Ask any man who has stayed home while his wife was the primary breadwinner what it is like to manage a family. I encourage you to ask a man because if you ask a woman, her voice has less weight and import to the discussion – that is a whole ‘nother blog post.

Here is an enlightening Huffington Post article from a male perspective about what it is like to be a man in a family and to stay at home with the kids: Douchebaggery and the Stay at Home Dad by Christopher Noxon.

“Must be hard on his manhood,” Noxon says. “Must make up for it in other ways.”

Noxon goes on to describe behavior such as turning “diaper changes into acts of performance art when company is around but who otherwise leave the dirty jobs to mom.”

And this is a big part of the problem: men have had a choice in what domestic tasks they undertake and women haven’t.

Watching old movies about poor women who have been left with a houseful of kids, it is common to hear the comment: “At least the kids and house are clean.”

Would anyone ever say that about a man whose wife ran off and left him with the kids? Of course not. How many times are men forgiven if their kids’ clothes don’t match, hair isn’t combed, and school lunch consists of a peanut butter sandwich and a soft drink (okay, single dad tropes abound here).

Single dads and even married dads often get a pass.

We all know that in the majority of two-income households women still do the housework, cooking, shopping and caring for children (yes, this is documented though changing slowly).

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These are responsibilities, not just chores. If they are not done not only do the children suffer but you will end up with child services knocking at your door accompanied by a couple of cops demanding entry (Big Brother is watching).

Yes, this is the scenario that not only floats around in most female parents’ heads, but is also a reality.

So let’s talk about nagging.

In the majority of cases, women are carrying the load of family responsibilities. Most are also working full or part-time outside the home in addition to the full-time job of running a household.

There is a shit-load of stuff that must be done every single day. I can attest that this stuff is exhausting. I can attest that it all needs to be done the next day, too. Again, it is exhausting. It really never gets less exhausting (and is never fun or entertaining).

Let’s examine the common middle class family (and here are some lovely Tweets to help you with this mental picture).

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And then there are these words of wisdom from what looks like a teenage boy:

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These Tweets seem to be posted by spoiled, bratty teenagers and adults who still expect their mommy’s and women to do what? Take care of the family and household.

It is a parent’s job to prepare his or her children for the real world. This involves gradually increasing responsibility while teaching life skills.

In the U.S., there seems to be a problem with this process. Kids are spoiled and entitled and rarely work for what they possess. At what point do they learn how to deal with the responsibilities of an adult life if they are cared for well into their 20s.

Male children have historically been cared for well into adulthood, while female children were taught to care for themselves and others from a young age (I know I am generalizing, but overall this holds true).

We are living in the 21st century. We have equal rights, shared responsibilities, two incomes…

Right?

And yet, women are still taking care of the hundreds of big and small tasks that are required to maintain a household and care for a family.

wife going to bed tasks

By Becky Mansfield, YourModernFamily.com

Nagging?

Nagging???

Hell, women want men (and sons and daughters) to step up. That is what most women want. They want their men to be grownups. Do something that isn’t self-focused. Care for someone else without being reminded or told to do so.

Why does a woman have to ask a man (or a son or a daughter) to do anything? He or she should just do it.

Take out the fracking trash. Wash the dishes. Vacuum the house. Walk the damn dog.

I tell my sons that the goal is responsibility, not task completion.

One of my sons is responsible for two jobs that he does not do unless I threaten him with losing computer access. That makes me a nag, right?

No, it doesn’t. It makes me responsible for his jobs.

And for the Troglodyte young woman “Mimi” who thinks that the perfect woman should stop nagging and take care of herself and “be tight” for her man: what are you on?

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Women perpetuating the myth of nagging is just wrong.

Real men are faithful, responsible, take care of business, don’t treat their partners like servants and sex slaves, and aren’t entitled little boys.

Nagging??? That is NOT the problem.

I want to leave this blog post on a positive note. Thanks @JimParedes for Tweeting this:

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Town and Country Magazine’s article about this subject credits “nagging moms” with helping their daughters to be more successful in life.

A University of Essex in England study found that “the girls with moms who set high standards for them growing up were more likely to go on to college and earn higher wages,” Kristen Lauletti said.

Why is a mother’s leadership characterized as nagging in this article, though?

I think it is time to change the language we use to describe female behavior.

How the church silences women

shhh2I left the church, all churches, because of how the Christian religion views and treats women. I am just sharing this up front (if you haven’t read previous posts).

I have written many times about how the women in my church (and the pastor, who was a woman) used silencing behavior to shut me down, everything from intervening when I was trying to be honest with my husband in counseling sessions to handing me a list of Bible verses about “gossip” when I needed to talk to someone about my abusive husband.

There is something seriously wrong going on. It is common for women who are in bad marriages, some abusive, some not, to be pressured to remain in those marriages no matter what. It is a duty, marriage is sacred, it would be a sin to divorce.

Let’s first talk about the sacred institution of marriage. This is a doctrinal thing. Marriage is mentioned in the Bible, and it is likened to Christ’s relationship to the church. From that analogy, marriage has become primary while the people (and their children) in that marriage are secondary.

“God hates divorce!!!!!!!!”

God probably hates a lot of things, but I don’t think divorce is at the top of his list.

This is a symptom of a much bigger problem. People (individuals) come last in the Christian religion.

Yep. They do.

When duty, or doctrine, is more important than relationship, then you will end up with dysfunction of some kind. And those who put the marriage before the people in that marriage are being dysfunctional. They are encouraging dysfunction. They are perpetrating dysfunction.

I have declared to anyone who wants to listen that I reject the Pauline letters in the New Testament. I think they run contrary to the teachings of Yeshua (he was Jewish, and his name is NOT Jesus — I know, picking at gnats).

Women must remain silent in church. Women must obey their husbands in everything. Women must wear head coverings. Women must wear dresses. Women must…

This is all legalism. Paul was a legalist.

In all of the years that I tried to relate to and communicate with my husband, he often told me that I needed to submit: over and over and over again. He never quoted the verse that commands husbands to love their wives as Jeshua loves the church. He never quoted the verse about how a man who does not care for his family is worse than an infidel.

I was told that it wasn’t my place to discuss _____ (fill in the blank), how I should not do this or do that, how my prayer life was even under his purview.

But when spiritual leaders in a church use the same silencing behavior on their congregations, you end up with a bunch of unthinking, repressed people.

Do you know one of the leaders in my old church stood up and said how much she hated running into this one woman she knew because she was always so down and negative (this was the same person who shut me down with a sheet of scriptures on gossip when I needed to confide in someone).

Dysfunction is prevalent in Christian relationships because of the fear of truth. There is a fear of honesty. There is a fear of reality.

“Don’t interrupt my religious moment with your unpleasant reality, please!”

“Oh, your husband is abusing you? Your reward will be in heaven. You must do your best to submit to him anyway.”

“Shhh, women should be silent.”

The judicial system, encouraged by our Christian heritage (patriarchy in general), permitted husbands to rape their wives in the no-so-distant past.

A man who beat his wife was justified in the last century.

Hell, women didn’t even have the right to vote until 1920, and then civil rights, rights over their own bodies and personal life decisions, took many more decades.

Men rant about how unfair the judicial system is because they say it favors mothers in divorces. Have they not looked at history where a hundred years ago women had almost no rights at all? Children (and their mothers) belonged to fathers/husbands.

Women had to remain in bad marriages if they wanted to keep their children, not be homeless, and have any kind of financial support. There weren’t even many professions available where women could support themselves. Women still make a lot less than men today.

Inequality is ugly.

Why are men threatened by women’s rights? I do not understand why men are threatened by women who use their voices.

And religious men can be the worst. Actually, let me correct myself: religious women can be the worst. I wonder if there is some underlying fear that if a friend has justification for leaving her husband, she might question her own marriage. Things start to get shaky and undefinable when women have autonomy and self-determination. There is a loss of control.

Oh, and here we are: control.

Silencing women comes down to the need to control. And when the church (which is the corporate body and its individual members) silences women, it is exerting control over them, control that it should not have.

What if we let women speak and then decide for themselves? Would the world come to an end?

The justification for Paul’s letter, the historical context — at least what I was taught — was that women would just stand up and speak when gathered in the early church.

Gasp! Choke!!! Oh no!

Some kind of directive was necessary to keep them under “control.”

And today, the church silences women by insisting that they wear dresses, defer to their husbands, defer to their pastors, defer to… well, everyone. Heck, women should speak quietly and not make trouble. Women should…

Silencing behavior. Control.

How long will women put up with such ridiculousness? How long?

For those who are still skeptical, I challenge you to explore gender equality in the Christian religion. The Junia Project is a lovely place to begin.

I challenge you. What do you have to lose? Control?

Women against feminism supported by a LOT of men

This National Review Online article supports the Women Against Feminism movement. The article is interesting, and does provide insight into what motivates the women behind this movement, but the comments are especially telling. Article comments are where you see what people really think about an issue. I love reading comments. Below are some screenshots of comments. Although not required to do so, I have blurred out the usernames of the commenters. I especially appreciate the individuals who took the time to provide definitions and clarification on what feminism means to them.

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Feminism under fire

BBC.com is one of the online news sources in my news circuit. I saw a story this morning about women against feminism. Huh? I tried to keep an open mind as I clicked play to watch the video part of the story.

There were women stating that we didn’t need feminism any more, that it is toxic, that women don’t need to hate men to pursue their ambitions.

Okay, I kind of understand where they are coming from. There are some radical feminists that seem to get press every time something controversial that affects women’s health, equal pay, and so on pops up in the news.

Are they really radical, or are they the women who continue to recognize that even today there is still not gender equality?

Well, is there? I don’t think so.

If we had gender equality, there would be family-friendly policies in place for moms and dads who work outside the home, rooms for nursing moms who need to pump while at work, flexible work hours and built-in family leave for fathers.

If we had gender equality, women wouldn’t make less than men for the same job. Sorry, but this is documented. Pay equality is an issue. Deniers can say it isn’t so, but facts and figures support the claim.

Has anyone even considered what women give up to stay home with their children? No social security earnings, no retirement protection, little legal protection should the earning husband abandon her. It is like the dark ages legally and financially for women.

The only way for women to be protected is IF they work outside the home and have their own separate income, kept apart from their husbands.

1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted.

That is some serious hatred there. Yes, rape is a hate crime against women.

How many of these anti-feminists spend time scouring news sites, reading comments to articles? I read comments by men who still think women should be silent, pregnant, and in the kitchen and certainly not bothering their pretty little selves about the big, bad world. Granted, the generation of men who spout this crap will eventually die out, but what about the men that they raised?

Feminism is not a movement or a set of behavioral guidelines. Feminism means equality for women, plain and simple. So anti-feminism means . . . what? They are against equality? Really?

Merriam-Webster defines feminism as 1. “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities;” and 2. “organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests.”

Because I am fairly intelligent, I surmise that these anti-feminists are objecting to the second definition of the word. They take issue with the organized feminist movement that lobbies and actively fights for a political and social agenda that benefits women. I don’t agree with every tenet of the organized movement myself, but I certainly do not oppose it, either.

And the idea that demanding equal rights means that men lose rights is ludicrous. It does mean that they must adjust their workplace behavior to include women. This means that good ‘ole boy club atmosphere must be relegated to the men-only clubs. It doesn’t belong in any workplace.

I learned the hard way that any woman that surrenders her financial independence to stay home and raise children, care for the home, and support her husband’s career is taking a risk. This is a sad truth in our modern, enlightened society.

Are most feminists man-haters? I think not. Opposing entrenched ideas that stand in the way of an egalitarian society does not equal hate. It means they oppose unfair ideologies and practices that continue to keep women from having equal access and opportunity to pursue their dreams.

Language describing women and their activities

When my 21-year-old son returned home from a dental appointment, he immediately informed me that I needed to get a new tire for my car. One of the rear tires had gone flat while he was on his way to the dentist. We discovered over the weekend that it had picked up not a nail but a bolt, and had a slow leak. Apparently, the bolt came out and the tire went flat quickly because of the size of the hole.
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When I went in my bedroom to retrieve my cell phone, I noticed that there were 6 missed calls, all from my son. I asked him why he called so many times, and he said he wanted to tell me that the tire had gone flat and he had changed it. I looked at him a little confused. He continued, “I figured you were out playing in your garden.”

Aha! So it was the idea that I wasn’t readily available for his news because I was out “playing” in my garden that fueled so many calls. It was a perception that while he had diverted a catastrophe I had been playing around that seemed to cause him discomfort.

In actuality, I had left my cell phone in my bedroom because I spent two hours studying for and then another hour taking an online test for my summer course. I had been working hard and needed to focus. I am very glad that I didn’t have my cell phone on my desk while I was trying to study and certainly not during the test itself when I could not handle distractions.

This leads to the subject of this post: the language used to describe women and their activities.

What if I had been working in my garden? My garden is not a flower border filled with award-winning roses. It is filled with heirloom vegetable plants designed to feed our family because we have a miniscule food budget. I certainly don’t see what I do out there as “playing,” not one little bit. It is work. It is pleasurable for me to work with the soil and see something nourishing emerge from what had been a seed the size of a pinhead only two months earlier.

I love my garden. It is hard for me physically to work in the garden, but I love it so much that I have figured out how to do a little here and a little there with the result being a fairly successful undertaking. The boys certainly enjoy everything that I serve them that comes from that garden. Just yesterday, my 14-year-old son asked me if he could make a salad from my lettuce. I showed him how to harvest it, leaving an inch or so of stem so that it would regrow for a second harvest. He then ate his salad with a salad dressing he made from the homemade mayonnaise I had whipped up earlier that day — he merely added some herbs and spices. He wanted me to make him a vinaigrette but I refused so he made do.

As I thought about my older son’s comment and his frustration, I thought about all of the years when my estranged husband would tell me that he couldn’t call the insurance company or get a quote for a home repair during business hours “because I work.” I heard that for over 25 years. He works. I don’t.

Woman’s work.

Most women gain a semblance of satisfaction from keeping a home, caring for children, and keeping that stereotypically surly husband happy. There is a common frustration, however, with the perception that what we do at home isn’t real work.

I read an article the other day online (sorry, I couldn’t find it to share) about how Asian men in a certain country are left at home to care for the children while their wives immigrate to other countries. Apparently, the women can get better paying jobs than the men, so they end up being the breadwinner for the family. There is a cultural shift going on due to this phenomenon. Some men are responding by becoming very depressed, gambling and drinking while others are holding down the fort, doing all the jobs their wives used to handle (even when they worked full-time), until their wives get back whereby they will gladly return those duties to the women.

It was fascinating reading about how difficult and emotionally draining keeping home is for most of those men. I have news for everyone: it is equally difficult and emotionally draining for women, but we learned thousands of years ago not to complain too loudly. We just suck it up and do it.

I have often observed men talking about their wives’ activities in a denigrating fashion. It is not intentional. The words they use are words that their fathers used and their fathers before them: housework, women’s work, hobbies, crafting, playing, girlfriends, gaggle of hens, and so on. I do think men will acknowledge that scrubbing a floor is work, but those types of tasks take up little time due to time-saving technologies available to women. The perception is that women have become people who don’t work unless they have a well-paying job or a professional career.

I admit that I am thrilled with the emergence of modern egalitarian families where the husband and wife share duties equally, such as is the case with my oldest son and his wife. It is a beautiful dynamic filled with respect and love. Yes, it is challenging for men to deal with the hundreds of mundane tasks that make up running a home, but it is equally challenging for women who are parents to navigate a business world where families are not respected and there is still little flexibility that would make working so much easier for mothers.

While men, and many women, bristle at the insistence by feminists and women’s advocates on political correctness, it is necessary if we are to change the language used to describe women and their activities.

Celebrating Women

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Today is International Women’s Day.  For thousands of years women’s contributions were not celebrated equally to those of men.  Even today, it is an exercise, not a natural phenomenon.  That’s okay.  I want to challenge all women to celebrate our contributions not just today but every day.

Validate one another.  Listen to one another.  Hug one another.  Embrace the commonalities while celebrating the differences.  Women of all races, nationalities, economic and social backgrounds should be celebrated every single day.

Madame Curie

Madame Curie

Thank your librarians, childrens’ teachers, school administrators, police officers, mayors, and legislators.  Thank your doctors, dentists, and mail carriers.  Thank your hair stylists, auto mechanics (okay, I do not know one single female auto mechanic), plow truck drivers, and pilots.  Thank your professors, road crew workers, and engineers.  Thank the journalists, thinkers, and psychologists, school bus drivers, and lunch ladies.

Support one another even if you don’t agree politically.  Be there for one another even if you embrace a different religion (or none at all).  Women supporting women is empowering to all.

And men, modeling support for your wives, mothers, girlfriends, co-workers, and friends teaches the next generation of men and women to celebrate all humanity!

Celebrating International Women’s Day today!

For more information: