BEHIND DOMESTIC LINES
★ ★ ★ ★
THE REAL SUPERHEROES
By Jami Ingledue
“May you always live in interesting times.” Are we ever living that curse now. One of the most unexpected and profound and slightly absurd ways that this is true is that during the reign of the most misogynistic, tyrannical, racist president we’ve seen in our lifetime, we have Wonder Woman. We have The Last Jedi. We have Black Panther. We are redefining our superheroes before our eyes, and it is a beautiful thing to witness. Art is fulfilling its highest purpose: leading the way.
It feels like it’s all busting open now, doesn’t it? Like we are dragging it all into the light, lancing the boil. Shit is getting real. And one of the most interesting ways this is happening is that women are standing in their own truth, telling our own stories.
To say this has not historically been the case is the understatement of the century. Women have been silenced since, well, the beginning of patriarchy. This certainly becomes clear after having kids, when all of your work turns invisible, and it seems society expects you to be invisible too. Don’t complain, people might think you don’t love your kids. Don’t nag. Don’t cry. Only post happy smiling pictures!
But we are done, and all of our anger is bubbling over now. We are done putting up with constant sexual harassment and keeping our mouths shut about it. We are done with guns being more important than the lives of our kids. We are done doing all of the emotional labor for men, being expected to soothe and placate and carefully monitor our tone, being the dumping ground for their unprocessed emotions. The Resistance is female.
It feels like we’re experiencing the last gasps of toxic masculinity, but it’s not going down without a fight. But the tools we need to fight this battle are different. We don’t need more of the same. We need to make courageous connections. We need to build loving communities. We need to re-village. We need hearts strong enough to be hurt over and over again but still show up in love and say, you cannot pull us down into hatred and bitterness, we will keep working and caring and fighting. And who better to do this than moms.
Us moms have our own kind of superpowers. We have an innate heroism, quiet but always there. We are the ones that show up, day after thankless day, and do the work of love. We put our kids first and do the thankless tasks that come with this, always with an eye to a better future for them. We have an empathy bigger than we could have ever imagined. When we keep developing these superpowers, we get to that point where there is no such thing as other people’s children. And we keep showing up, relentlessly, day after day. Because that’s what moms do.
And these hard times are forcing us to take our superpowers public. We’re not fighting just to beat the other side, just to win, and that’s exactly why we WILL win. We’re not doing this out of ego. We’re not trying to out-man the men. We are done with that. We need our own unique superpowers, turned out into the world. We need a love big enough to demand more of this world.
I see so many people around me doing just that now, performing their small acts of heroism—calling our members of congress, showing up at school board meetings, shining a light on the stories of marginalized groups, holding each other up, protesting, organizing, canvassing, volunteering for candidates.
And we see it at the national level too. A new kind of leadership, like the Parkland High School kids, inspiring so many of us and leading the way. Emma Gonzales is not speaking out of ego, she is speaking straight from her wounded heart. And of course they are attacking her, trying to silence her; her sexuality isn’t right, her hair isn’t right, her makeup isn’t right. Her voice is too loud, her tears show she’s weak, her anger shows she’s proud. The criticisms that women who dare to speak out are accustomed to hearing. But these awful attacks are not going to work. The attackers are just showing us who they really are, and we will show who we really are. She won’t be silenced, and neither will we. Moms Demand Action membership numbers have skyrocketed. We have your back, baby girl.
But we are getting tired. We are worn down. The heightened level of stress is real. We want this nightmare to be over. We want our democracy back. But if we think we can just give up, that means we are in a place of privilege. That means our lives and our kids’ lives aren’t personally at risk. Immigrants don’t have the option of giving up. Black mothers don’t have the option of giving up. We in a position of privilege have to use our voices to protect the people who have no voice. Exactly like we do for our kids. We’re all in this together, and there is no walking away, there is no giving up.
So we need to lead now in a new way, not like ego-driven men hungry for dominance, but instead with our powers of connection and empathy. We really are the heroes we’ve been waiting for, and now is our time. Moms always show up. Moms don’t give up.
We are redefining superheroes, and they have big hearts like Wonder Woman; they take no shit like General Leia; they do not give in to ego-driven toxic masculinity but allow themselves to be guided by loving women, like Black Panther. Moms are our own kind of superheroes, and this election year, the world will feel our power.
Jami worked as a librarian for over a decade before choosing to stay home when her son, now 4, was born. She also has a 17-year-old daughter. She makes all-natural soap and body products and sells them through her company, Dancing Bee Farms (dancingbeefarms.net). She lives with her husband, daughter, and son on an acre of land in rural Ohio, where they keep bees, garden, and brew beer.
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