Last week at a local brewery, the mood inside the women’s restroom was one of absolute euphoria. Due to the simple fact that there were more men than women in attendance on this particular night, the men’s restroom had a hefty waiting line while the two-stall women’s restroom functioned efficiently. There was a small line — about three to four women had to wait at any given time — but we gleefully stuffed ourselves into the corner by the sinks so it would appear from the outside as though there was no line. Each new woman who walked in understood the need to amplify the situation for the men queued up outside. It was unspoken, but not unacknowledged. We were winning. In one boozy moment, in one brewery in Denver, women were winning.
It was a small and petty victory, and so desperately needed.
Being a woman these days has not been a particularly enjoyable experience. We still don’t make as much money as our male colleagues, and we have an unusually high risk of dying in childbirth. If we make it through, we are expected to finance our own maternity leave or return to work immediately. We don’t get to run with headphones on or go certain places after dark. We rewrite emails to be overly friendly so we won’t be perceived as bossy or shrill, and we are constantly talked over in meetings. We worry about not being believed by doctors about our pain or police about our assaults. And that’s just the inconvenience of being a fairly privileged white woman, while women of color face even greater indignities on a daily basis.
And all the while, our bodies are discussed as pieces of legislation instead of flesh and bone.
I know, I know, #notallmen are responsible for wage inequality, mansplaining or sexual assault. I know we have a fair number of men who support pro-choice legislation or, at the very least, understand that it’s not their wheelhouse. But I am fairly certain #mostmen have no idea what it’s like to walk around the world in a body that is not safe, not respected and, ultimately, up for debate.
The reality is that we find ourselves prepared for battle nearly every day of our lives, and we tend to be weary. The relatively mundane task of waiting in line to pee (because, shocker, public bathrooms aren’t designed for women!) can feel like salt in an open wound. It is absurd to think of a bunch of men high fiving each other over a bathroom line because not being inconvenienced is their status quo.
So women must take our wins whenever we can get them. One day, hopefully, it will be bodily autonomy or a Madame President. But on this day, in this one brewery, it was the victory of watching men experience one minor annoyance while we victoriously returned to our beers.
Read more Marsh: coloradodaily.com/columnists