Not too long ago, I was chastised by an onlooker about not being a gentleman because my wife had spilled something and I didn’t rush to clean it up for her.
While I was prepared to let that person think what they wanted of me, it was my wife who explained that I open doors for her and other gentlemanly deeds, but I also respect her ability handle things on her own. As she put it, “He knows I’ve got this.”
I suppose in a world where men and women are still expected to fit into ‘pre-defined roles’, the idea that I step in when I see she needs help and step back when I know she can handle something is still radical to some, but I have newfound hope.
Out of all the feedback I’ve received from The Gospel of Wolves, I have yet to hear a single criticism over a man attempting to subdue a woman and finding out the hard way that she has mixed martial arts training. There’s a reason, the first physical fight in
The Gospel of Wolves series of books involves a woman who is quite capable of defending herself and that’s because from what I’ve seen in the world, it’s true.
Where I currently train in Tae Kwon Do is based on the recommendation of a woman who earned her Black Belt there.
Of course in The Gospel of Wolves I’m also not shy about exposing that other thing that makes a woman so sexy—her mind.
As the characters struggle to find their place in the world, none of the women are waiting for a man to direct them to that place.
True, they carry the types of insecurities that comes with simply living life and facing disappointment, but like any self-actualized person, they are facing down their fears and going after what they feel they deserve regardless.
Since the men in the book are equally self-empowered, there is the possibility that perhaps readers aren’t noticing how the women characters are being portrayed. If so, that still gives me hope that perceptions are changing because think about what that means.
The characters aren’t being judged by their sex, but by what they do.
It’s something I’d like to see more of in the real world.
Where it’s the character and the deeds of the individual that determines strength or weakness, not the sex.
CHRIS WESLEY is the award-winning author of the fiction book The Gospel of Wolves, the short fiction story Regret in Triptych and the poetry book Pack Animals. He uses his fine art photography as prompts for character sketches and settings in his fiction along with gallery shows. He has written for the music magazine Night Moves Magazine, acted in independent movies and plays; wrote, cast, directed, shot and edited an independent short movie, started bands and gone solo. He plays a few instruments and is generally considered a smart ass. He also has a thing for how we connect with each other and with ourselves.