After Feminism Is for Everybody, by bell hooks.
You are 32.
On your way to work, you listen to an audiobook
where bell hooks talks about
how difficult it is to teach boys feminism,
how feminist masculinity is often ignored
for simplified narratives of blame and finger pointing
rather than rebuilding society.
You are 27.
During an English department meeting,
a colleague from another school remarks
how good you are at
being the only man in the room.
You are 25.
On your daily walk around your neighborhood,
your dad calls.
He tells you about his family, the latest news about your cousin,
how nonsensical it is
her best friend to be a man.
You are 17.
You work in the kitchen of a restaurant.
You mostly interact with servers,
most of whom are women.
It is taken as a truism:
women get better tips than men; you belong in the kitchen.
You are 12.
During your sixth-grade class’s sex ed. unit,
your teacher talks about
biological differences between boys and girls.
She singles you out for being a boy with long eyelashes,
a trait associated with girls.
You are seven.
Your mom is driving you home from daycare.
You ask her about her day.
She tells you about work you don’t understand,
coworkers that frustrate her.
You ask her if her coworkers are her friends.
She tells you men and women
just can’t be friends.