Women's History Month and International Women's Day align like the planets. This is by design, I assume, but I'll line up all nice and tidy and without fuss to be tarred and feathered if I'm mistaken (as my girl Dar Williams says, "I don't claim to know what's right").
However, I'm not just saying this because the certain day is in the specific month. I'm also planning my book, and this is forcing me to think about issues women face, and about men who must decide whether or not they will be allies.
As for me, I know what I've decided. For example, I've decided that one of the ideas that will probably largely influence my work is acceptance. Acceptance of who I am, of the situations I find myself in, of my own limitations. Acceptance that I have limitations. And, in conjunction with that, learning to what degree I can allow other people's lives to spill into my own. I know from personal experience that my life needs to have boundaries and separateness or it will stop being its own precious thing that burns and shines, that ticks along to the eccentric rhythms that please me and are peculiar to me.
To wit: I accept that I can't do everything, I accept that I can't be everything, and I accept that I can't be responsible for everything. I can only really control who I am, the values I hold, how much of my own life spills over into someone else's, and how I can make that commingling more like a double rainbow, and less like a moldy butt hole.
Which sounds both trite and disgusting, but it clarifies what it means to accept the role of ally. After all, it seems to me that allies are necessary because societal forces make other groups to be underpaid, undervalued, under-represented, under-loved. So when you accept yourself as an ally, you're lovingly saying, "Yes, I will be a sheet of society's triple ply." It's never glamorous work, but if you're doing it for the right reasons you don't care.
All this is why, as a man, I love Women's History Month and International Women's Day: They're reminders that my limitations are okay, and that, while I have to have the backs of my magnificent geek sister and badass lady coworkers, and make sure I'm not being said moldy butt hole, I can mentally kick back a little bit. Why? Because in a world of allies, the other 50-ish percent has my back too.
I think it's also good food for thought as I move ahead with my book. My hope is that it will help me understand why a character might realize he should be an ally, and feel for the character who thinks that he cannot.
For more on this topic, I'll leave you with Hermione, 'cuz witches, yo: