I love strong women and am blessed to have my life filled with them. Coming out in Southeast Idaho in the mid 90’s was not easy. I came out pre-Ellen, when Will and Grace was still a thought in someone’s head and when gay marriage was only a dream. I lost count the number of times I was called a fag, threatened or given looks of disgust. It was during this time that I began to recognize and be drawn to strong women. In strong women I found solace and ultimately they taught me to be a man.
The women that I am drawn to most often do not conform to society’s standards of womanhood. In other periods of history they are the type of women that would have been burned at the stake for being witches (a fact that many of them embrace and take joy in). They do not take shit from anyone. They have no issue calling out people on their sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic rhetoric and often defend others from small minded people. These women come from all walks of lives and include women of color, white women, gay women, straight women, custodians, professors, artists, fast food workers, therapists, migrant farm workers and medical doctors. Their commonality lies in their willingness to speak truth to power and embrace plurality.
By not conforming to the societal standards of womanhood, the strong women that I am fortunate enough to call friends are often ostracized or looked upon with the same queerness that I face for not living up to our culture’s perspective of what it means to be a man. Not only are these women comfortable in their queerness, but they have taught me to be comfortable in mine. They’ve taught me the power in reclamation of words and how Feminism is both a verb and a noun. These women lived and embraced intersectionality long before it was mainstream term. As we move closer toward Thanksgiving, these women will be on my mind and my gratefulness toward them is eternal.
I am currently working a shawl named “Easy Goes It” by Finicky Creations. The yarn is hand dyed by the the infinitely talented Adella (links to both Adella’s shop and the shawl pattern are below).