It's become a place not just to share sadness and anger but also talk about sexism in our dance scene - the last thread I started about two guys I've been having a problem with now has thousands of comments, and I've really learned a lot about narcissists, control freaks and bullies and how easy it is to overlook and misdiagnose these behaviors, i.e., "oh, that's just so-and-so" or "they're just kidding around." It's been a fantastic place to share stories from the past that otherwise never would have come to light - the time that guy danced with a girl and told her she was doing everything wrong; the time that other guy kept "accidentally" brushing his hand across a woman's chest while dancing, etc etc. I never knew the power of these secret groups where you can say things you don't want your Aunt Tilda, your brother-in-law's Tea Partier cousin, or your boss to hear.
Even though many of the people in the group haven't actively danced in years, so many of them are encouraged to go out again because they know their "sisters" will be there to welcome them; many people are thanking me for the group (one said "it's the only reason I get up in the morning"), many are saying they are excited to finally get to know other female dancers (normally you talk more to the guys you're dancing with). It's amazing when you can do a small thing that ends up having such a big impact.
I sang at a big event this weekend and was pretty nervous because I knew one of the guys I was at odds with was going to be there. I was feeling pretty unsafe, but I knew a big contingent of my secret group were going to be there and they promised to have my back. The whole night we ran around hugging each other and exchanging knowing looks. It was awesome. We snuck out to the lobby to recreate this photo:
I think we did pretty good. The person taking the picture asked what modern women would do in that kind of photo, and we all spontaneously did this:
I'm surrounded by some pretty strong, angry, terrific women. I'm really proud to be in their company and look forward to sharing the outrage of the next few years - and protesting the fuck out of it!!!