This year has felt like four years, hasn’t it? And it feels like we have four years left to go until 2021. Some days feel like weeks, some weeks feel like months, and nothing about that timey-wimey squishy-bendy flat circle experience of time and space is as interesting as science fiction has usually suggested it would be.
To wit: if we had a TARDIS or a Delorean or any other mechanism for traveling or seeing through time, we’d likely be disheartened to discover that it has only been, as of today, four standard Earth years since the United States (and the world) learned of then presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” tapes. That it feels like that was 20 years ago is almost as astonishing as the fact that it didn’t tank Trump’s campaign right then and there.
That that degree of overt misogyny somehow became a defining principle of American government is heartbreaking. That it also became a contributing factor to the pandemic deaths of nearly a quarter of a million Americans is devastating.
It’s not worth unpacking all the ways in which toxic masculinity — undergirded by toxic individualism — fuels a political culture in which care for others has become super-coded as feminine and, by misogynist extension, weak and contemptible. What is worth saying is this: we need to reject that thinking with our whole minds and hearts and at the fullest reach of our voices. We all know this, of course, and it’s easy to laugh at the Tomi Lahrens of the world (lol internalized misogyny is a hell of a drug), but the fact of the matter is that — *checks calculator* — many, many millions of people think this way. And it’s killing us.
It’s killing us through the virus, it’s killing us through climate change, it’s killing us through the eradication of accessible healthcare and social safety nets, it’s killing us through political and economic policies that are racist, dominating, extractive, destructive, and inhumane.
Which is why the principle of put on the goddamn mask is not just about inhibiting the spread of the coronavirus, but about extending and amplifying the spread of caring.
Back in the spring of this year, badass Laura Peterson shared in a PowerUp that she wanted to make love as contagious as COVID. Caring is love in practice, and it’s a radically transformative practice. We need to not just do it and model it, we need to insist upon it through our words and our actions. What that insistence looks like may vary — it might look like conventional caregiving, of the variety most usually associated with care for the vulnerable, or it might look like fighting to save democracy — but it should all amount to the same thing: active, practiced, ongoing acknowledgement that we are dependent upon each other and this planet for our very existence and that dependency requires that we care.
So. Let’s make care contagious — and remember that it spreads most effectively with a mask. You may want a purse in which to carry them all.
In the US? Saving democracy is one of our most important acts of caregiving:
Our friends at The 99 Problems have just launched a campaign called #VOTEUS to that end. Check out their site for details on how to help. And see below to find out how some good old-fashioned mask-wearing (mask buying!) can also help!
We created a series of badass masks for anyone who wants to practice care through mask wearing and mask giving. Choose from Wear A Mask / Save The World, Badasses Wear Masks, and Wear A Mask and Carry A Big Purse. All proceeds go directly to saving democracy in the US, via the #VOTEUS project (see above!).
LEAGUE OF BADASS WOMENPOWERUPS THIS WEEK:
This Friday, October 9, at 9am PT | 12pm ET | 4pm GMT.
All are welcome! RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the invitation and to receive the Zoom link.
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