Now that the marathon bombers have been identified, I’m sure the usual string of questions will begin popping up beginning with, What kind of person does something like this? Their religion and political affiliations will be categorically dissected, their race, explored – especially by my husband who does a really good George Carlin-esque bit about the trials and tribulations of the white man.
But one thing that I keep thinking about, one thing that is irrefutable whether the bombers turn out to be deer-eating, Monopoly-loving, Metallica-listening junkies or yuppies – is that these people are men.
I know, I know. I love men. In fact, I have some really good friends who are men. But isn’t that the thing every time? When newscasters talk about the “men” the police are looking for, no one goes, “Why do you think it’s a man? Maybe it was a that old lady over there brandishing the machete!” Because, let’s face it. That old lady is way more likely heading out on an Amazon expedition with that machete than killing people.
There are still a few old school feminists who like everything to be all-things-equal, and will kick up a ruckus over terms like “actress” and “waitress.” But the fact is, a lot of us new school feminists like that men and women are not equal (except when it comes to getting paid. Then we don’t want equality, we want more). But in the case of Boston and in terrorist attacks worldwide – Women rarely mass murder. Unless they are part of a larger male-lead movement that uses violence as a viable means to an end, women are just not killers in the same way that men are.
I once started a novel in the spirit of George R.R. Martin about a little boy who grows up in a tribe of 1000 women and ultimately leads them to war- a women’s war. I wanted to figure out how women, separate from men – little boy character aside – would do battle. Would they even do battle? I haven’t officially written the war yet, but one thing I wrote is that women move toward birth and life – men toward death. It is the yin and yang of everything. We are moving in different directions and therefore would always live, battle, even hope differently.
But I decided soundly that a woman’s war would be about living. It would be a quest for life and freedom – not it’s opposite, which is what this terror war is about – death and fear – forced shackles and bondage – You WILL bow down to Zod. A women’s war would be about a turning toward the light – a saving of the bad so that it turns to good. Not a destruction of the bad so that it breeds even worse.
I know how fundamentally flawed my argument sounds. On top of the fact that there isn’t enough patchouli in the world to contain this idea, of course there are women who kill. There are entire female prisons filled with these killers. It doesn’t matter that the majority are there because they were defending themselves or their families – because I’m sure a lot of them are there because they are just plain old garden-variety assholes. Just like there are plenty of men who are vegan pacifists who hate Metallica.
But the fact remains, statistically these people who bombed those kids and mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters – they were going to be men. If any of us had money on it, we weren’t gambling on a woman.
But I am hopeful, even if I hope like a woman.
I hope that every new now brings with it a chance for change, a movement toward goodness and life and light.
I hope to see women leading us all out of our sorrow, fear and devastation over this senseless attack on sweet innocence – those beautiful children, all of their families and us all.
I hope that women, every one of us, will stand up and lead our men and each other to a place of calm and love and life.
I hope that when our mourning ends, we are moving more strongly toward birth and away from death than ever before.
I hope…but I am a woman.
I hope like woman.
At the dog park this morning I was telling my friend Julie about my women’s war. She asked if I had read Y: The Last Man, a graphic novel about the world after all men but one is dead, leaving only women. She told me about one tribe that cuts off a breast in order to better aim her bow and arrow to shoot and kill.
No, I told her. I hadn’t read it. “But it’s written by a man, right?”
“Yeah,” she answered.
I think he’s wrong. Women wouldn’t getting better at killing. There are far too many things in this world to heal.