Archive for November 2013
I sat next to a man on the train the other day who grilled a woman wearing a Muslim headscarf, telling her how “subjugated” she was. The woman didn’t have to be kind to him — but she was. She explained that it was her own religious choice, and as a feminist, she doesn’t believe other women have to make the same decision. They don’t even have to agree with hers. It’s every person’s right to choose their own path to liberation.
The man looked confused by her answer, as if he couldn’t process it. So rather than engaging with the woman, he reaffirmed his previous point: “But you’re subjugated.”
I sat as their conversation went on and on, getting nowhere, and I realized it would continue to do so as long as he kept on trying to tear her down. He just wanted to prove he was right. His goal was to overpower her with his honesty — much like Lorde, who just wants to help us all by saying what’s on her mind. Honesty is important, but the more crucial step is empathy. If that guy just stopped criticizing the woman in front of him for a moment and listened, he might actually have learned something. We all might.