I jumped into a Facebook chain recently started by a high school friend of my brother. It was a two sentence, derogatory, public statement that threw shade on said brother. Comments built in the feed that included much Loop bravado. I added to the mix, initially being the only female to participate, and was quickly directed to ‘calm down.’
I’ve always been proud of the road were I grew up. Being a Loop kid has anchored me in a way maybe only others from the ‘hood would understand. We knew everybody, everybody knew us. My older brothers had a least 10 different friends from our street. When you grow up with so many boys, (because where there are 4 boys, there is always an extra at the dinner table, one sleeping on the coach, or 5 more playing pool in the basement) you learn to relate on a male level.
Guys let things go. They can be yelling at each other, maybe even throwing a few punches and then moments later start back to playing Monopoly. Mean things can be said without judgment; maybe even soliciting verbal applause for being spoke out loud. Other fellas can pile on to the onslaught of callous banter and relationships still stay intact.
In some ways, I was surprised at the Facebook scolding. Why couldn’t I bluster a little? It was like I was back in 1978 instead of 2018; 2018 where women are encouraged speak their mind, tell some truth.
Side note: It’s not always a positive to live in such a close-knit community. The summer I was 13 I came down with mononucleosis. Is Mono still called the kissing disease? The 14-year-old boy a ½ block away came down with the same thing. STILL NO, Craig and I never locked lips.
EW. Double EW.
Anyway, It’s going to take more than a hashtag # for stereotypes, biases and knee jerk reactions to change. Men and women: we think differently. After years of being in the power position, telling a woman to calm down (is that just a nice way of saying ‘shut up’?) while continuing to let the men carry on the conversation comes naturally.