2021-07-27 Excerpt from onBeing w/ Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach

Here is an excerpt from the transcript of this onBeing episode :

Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach

‘Courage is the presence of fear, and going anyway.’

When listening to this part of the interview the last three sentences really hit me.


I’m Krista Tippett, and this is On Being. Today I’m with the Olympic gold medalist and World Cup soccer champion Abby Wambach, together with her wife, the blogger, author, and philanthropist Glennon Doyle. We spoke at the Women Moving Millions 2018 “Power of Courage” summit in Seattle.

I think I want to go to something that might seem unexpected, in this room, because obviously, we could talk about women, but one thing you’ve been talking about recently is raising a boy in this world. And I do think, for so many of us, this realization has come that it doesn’t get better for women if we don’t make better men, and that certain girls — certain kinds of girls, the girls we’re raising in this room — you get a lot of support. I mean, not all girls. But you — would you tell the shower story? [laughs]

Doyle: Oh yeah. You guys, so I went into — because my daughter steals my shampoo all the time, because I buy her cheap shampoo, and I have nice shampoo.


So she steals it. We have this war going on, back and forth with the showers. So I went to her shower one day, and she shares with my son and my other daughter, and I went to her shower, and my girls’ stuff is lined up on one side of the shower, my boy’s stuff is lined up on the other. So of course, my girls’ bottles of shampoo are all pink and purple and slender and tall. I look over at my son’s, and they’re all red, white, and blue and patriotic and very thick and big. And I thought, “This is interesting,” right away.
So I pick up one of my son’s body wash, and you guys, I swear to you, it said this: “Three times stronger than any other soap, this will body-slam” — it was just word after word after militant, dangerous, violent word, till I was like, “Oh God! Are we preparing for war or cleaning ourselves?” And then I pick up the girls’ bottle, and it’s just wispy words that are all disconnected from each other, like “elegant,” “light,” “delicate,” “breezy” — just random things I guess we’re supposed to be, but don’t make any sentences or sense. And I just thought, oh, this is so interesting. And then I thought: before our kids even get out of the shower, we are already telling them how to lose most of their humanity and fit themselves into these little categories of masculinity or femininity — before they even get out of the shower.

And it made me think — just something about seeing that on my boy’s bottles. I became bulimic when I was 10 years old. I’ve been fighting toxic — messages of toxic femininity my entire life. And so when I had these little girls, the second they were born, I was holding them, just like, “You can be anything. Be angry! Go ahead, yell! Rage! I love your anger!” — whatever, just trying to raise these fierce girls. And it hit me, I haven’t been whispering that stuff to my little boy. I haven’t been saying to him, “You can be other things than angry. You can be vulnerable. You can cry. You can be soft. You can be gentle.”

I think, oh God, of course, he’s been learning just as many dehumanizing messages about what it means to be a boy in this world as my girls have. And we wonder why our little boys, that they — it is just as dangerous to tell a little boy that he can only be angry as it is to tell a little girl that she can never be angry. And we wonder why — every message we send to our boys is that in order to be a real man, you have to be really rich, and you have to be famous, and you have to conquer women, and you have to be utterly invulnerable. And then we wonder why our men can only talk about sports and news and weather and nothing else. The poor guys — I mean, we talk about it a lot. It must be so lonely to be a man.

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