It’s a good day for women. And, in general, it’s about time women had a good day around here.
A couple of weeks ago, Trump took to his favorite social media venue to share that he was “probably” going to be chosen as Time Magazine’s person of the year, but had to turn it down… because, you know, all those pesky cameras. He does hate publicity.
Anyway. Not only was he wrong, he was wrong in epic, ironic fashion. Because who did get “person of the year” this year? Women. These women. They call them “The Silence Breakers,” as their stories were catalysts for the #MeToo movement, and the ongoing monsoon of revelations that continue to bring down powerful men who have abused their positions to prey on women.
While Trump, himself, has not endured any such consequences (yet), we can still rejoice that women made the cover of this coveted feature, rather than him–or another man like him. And not just any women. THESE women.
“This reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight,” the story goes. “But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries. Women have had it with bosses and co-workers who not only cross boundaries but don’t even seem to know that boundaries exist. They’ve had it with the fear of retaliation, of being blackballed, of being fired from a job they can’t afford to lose. They’ve had it with the code of going along to get along. They’ve had it with men who use their power to take what they want from women. These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought.”
Every one of these women have told a brave story that empowered countless other women. And the wildfire still spreads… While giving well-deserved recognition to these particular women, the feature is not just about them. It is about women everywhere. Those who have been silenced for so long; and those who, right about now, are summoning the collective courage to burn this shit down. To say “no more.” To enforce boundaries where none have been, and claim a better world for our daughters.As we continue to seek an Advent hope in the midst of the chaos, celebrate these women–and all who have followed their lead and found their voice. Let it not be lost on us that the Christmas story itself is a story that gives voice to women. Women in much of scripture go unnamed, assuming supporting roles in the background; and even when they are named, many of them are silent. But when the angel appears to Mary, she sings a song of praise, and of radical resistance to the empire. She sets the tone for this new world order that God is about to usher in.
At the same time, the men in this story are strangely short on words. Joseph bites his tongue against deeply-held beliefs and social convention, so that he can do what God asks of him and support this unmarried pregnant woman. Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, is literally stricken silelnt for the whole term of his wife’s pregnancy. And Jesus… well, Jesus doesn’t have any lines for awhile yet. But he is part of the catalyst, the new creation, that will empower the voices of those ignored and unheard. That’s kind of his thing.
All things considered, the season of Advent is a lesson in knowing when to speak up, and when to be silent. Men of good faith, take notes. Right about now is the time to be silent and listen; or to speak up for your sisters when other men are out of order. We are trusting you to know when it’s time to say something, and when it’s time to sit out and be quiet for a minute. Be silence breakers, or be silence keepers. The point is, let both your speech and your silence be intentional. Use whatever voice, whatever space you have to help us continue this momentum towards a new and better story for women everywhere.
It’s about time.