The Gift of Being Valued

Eleven years ago today, Iain and I met online. I have told stories of our meeting and courtship many times, and have threaded snapshots of our marriage throughout the days and months and years of writing in this space, but today, on another day in a seemingly endless string of days where I am left feeling hated by virtue of my womanhood, I want only to share this about my partner: Iain is a man who digs women.

I don't mean that he is a lothario, or even a flirt. I don't mean that he's a guy who is friends almost exclusively with women. He's just a dude who thinks that the women in his life—and lots of other women he admires from afar, politicians and writers and athletes and musicians and scientists—are cool. His wife, his friends, his friends' female partners, my friends, his step-sister, her girlfriend, his coworkers. He values us.

He's not a super political guy, but he will tell you in no uncertain terms that women deserve to be safe, to have a voice in the political process, to have access to employment, healthcare, educational opportunities, equal pay; that we deserve to be treated with respect and dignity; that we deserve these things because we are human, and human rights are women's rights; and that our rights, and our autonomy, and our personhood, should not be up for debate.

When I cry or rage or despair because they are, he listens—and he doesn't tell me not to worry about it, because he knows I can't.

image of Iain on a boat, with windswept hair

I'm not trying to say that Iain is a perfect feminist ally who always "gets it." He's not. (Fuck, I'm not.) But what he is, is a guy whose nearly undiluted privilege means, for all practical purposes, he doesn't have to give a shit about the war on women et. al. being waged in this country, his adopted home, but who cares anyway because it's the right goddamn thing to do.

That shouldn't be remarkable. But it is. And his horror and his anger at what's happening makes me feel like I matter. It makes me feel loved. Among the many reasons I love him is that he has given me the gift of his outrage on my behalf. He is my friend and ally, above all else. And I his, right back.

Thank you, babe.

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