FemaleThis post is dedicated to the finer gender, endowed with prudence, grace, beauty, and compassion.
May the world mirror your shining example.

Tonight I finished watching the first (and now only) season of Amazon Video’s Good Girls Revolt.

It has been an excellent viewing experience: captivating, fun, poignant, reminiscent, educational, and above all, feminist.

The period drama portrays varied and realistic (if dated) female characters cast against the backdrop of a weekly, national news magazine chronicling the tumultuous end of the sixties, the then-endless Vietnam War, and a historic push forward for the advancement of women. Over the course of 10 engaging episodes, these women struggle, grow, and eventually unite around a call for equal opportunity that, sadly, still rings true 47 years later.

I suppose, then, it is no surprise that Amazon cancelled the series.

Despite developing a fast and fervent viewer base, an extremely positive reception (72% critics-97% audience at RT, 8.1/10 IMDb, 4.5/5 Amazon), and a timeliness that still sends shivers down my spine, Amazon Video’s executive team nixed the series only a month after its release, and did so without a single woman in the decision room.

O, the irony! O, the horror.

So now we’re at the meat of it.

See, I’m a big fan of women. And, therefore, I’m also a big fan of International Women’s Day (it was yesterday, in case you missed it).

At my former place of employ, on March 8th I used to bring in treats and yellow flowers for all of the women in my department, send them eCards, and put up signs to ensure they knew how important—indispensable, in fact—they are to making my life, the company, and this world a better place. Two things consistently shocked me about the reactions I got.

First, the women were always stunned and humbled by the simple (and frankly, inadequate) acknowledgment of the importance of their gender. Gratitude, embarrassment, even tears poured forth from these exceptional, capable, and professional women, all at the mere mention of their inexpressible merit.

Second, the majority of men in the department reacted with either ambivalence, indifference, or, with unnerving frequency, by parroting a defensive, ignorant, and condescending question, “If equality is so important, why isn’t there an International MEN’S day?”

To this puerile response, I would often respond in short order with:

  1. There is; it’s on November 19th, and
  2. Shut your face.

Because, in reality, it’s basically every other day of the GD year. The whole world over.

March 8th is dedicated to roughly half of the human population, to a gender that naturally, consistently, and selflessly exemplifies all the best in humanity, a gender that includes your own mother and, in most instances, your chosen life partner. Are your egos truly so fragile that the mere existence of such an honorable day threatens your identity to the point of knee-jerk, self-justifying reactions?

Are the men completely unaware of how petty and feeble that reaction sounds? How irrelevant and misguided? How ignorant and insensitive? And especially, how embarrassing?

Tell you what, on the day that women become adequately represented by proportional percentages in government, managerial positions, and corporate executive leadership; as soon as women earn, dollar-for-dollar, the same amount as men; when women are victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence with the same infrequency as men, then we’ll stand by you, arm-in-arm, fighting to ensure that men have a day dedicated to them as well (even though they already do).

Until that day comes, men, just shut your face.

The reason I support the advancement of women isn’t about which gender got more attention on any particular day. It’s not about who worked harder, or got bigger breaks, or received more support. Hell, it’s not even about equality.

It’s about realizing that, often through no fault or intention of our own, we, as men, have simply been the beneficiaries of the privilege of being born male.

That doesn’t mean we haven’t worked hard, haven’t suffered, haven’t overcome adversity. Most everyone has. But in overcoming adversity, we have the opportunity to become aware of the hardships, obstacles, and resistance that tried to impede us, and regardless of what those obstacles may have been, one thing men never had to worry about was being a woman in man’s world.

I don’t know how that privilege may have manifested in my own life, and I likely never will. I don’t know if or when I might’ve been offered a job over an equally (or more) qualified woman. I don’t know which of my opinions were heeded over a woman’s simply because I was a man. And unfortunately I’ll never know if I was paid more than my female counterparts throughout my career.

But I do know that when I walk into a party or an unfamiliar bar, I don’t worry about being sexually assaulted. I know that in courting a partner, I was never concerned that she might one day expect me to abandon my career in order to create a family. And I definitely was never concerned with the government limiting my access to affordable and necessary health services or dictating what my rights are pertaining to my own body.

For me, by acknowledging our individual suffering, as men, and the vanquishing of our adversity, we can then use that power to turn back and help others who, if nothing else, had to deal with hardships that we did not. We can use our own hardships to identify with the uphill battle of women and then find ways to be their ally in overcoming a societal obstacle that we never had to worry about.

(NOTE: Here is where I will clarify: I do not believe being a woman is an obstacle, or a hardship, or in any way a negative characteristic. It is the apparent predominance of men at the top of our current hierarchies to which I am referring.)

To be fair, I don’t know what goes on in executive boardrooms that decide the fate of popular programming. I don’t know if Amazon’s cancellation of a period, feminist show is economically justified or not. For all I know, the pitch for the 2nd season may have been horrid, or poorly presented, or reduced the show’s burgeoning women of power to mere servants or sexual objects.

But I do know that the show was popular, relevant, and timely. It had promise, potential, and a dedicated following. And in light of the recent election, 45’s indisputably disrespectful comments about women, and the ongoing, worldwide resistance to achieving anything even close to gender equality nearly 50 years after the time in which the show was set, would it have brought down Amazon Video to have given the show the benefit of the doubt, at least for one more season?

Even if it had simply played out the scenarios resulting from Season One’s finale; even if it had left the women’s movement hovering in the balance as it has for the last 50 years; even if it had reached only one more young woman, or man, aching to find the inspiration and fortitude to continue the fight for the advancement of women, it would have been worth it. After all, every little bit helps.

So while Good Girls Revolt may be over, the revolution of “Good Girls” around the world rages on.

I know where I’m standing. Which side will you be on?