For International Women's Day, I'm going to share a story with you. A few years ago I auditioned to play guitar on a European tour with a signed, progressive-talking band whose whip-thin male singer flaunted his androgynous appeal.
We had a fantastic audition. We clicked! We rocked! When we were done, the bassist said, "Wow, that was great, you're definitely in the top 1% of people we have auditioned."
The long-haired singer looked me up and down as he took a long drag on his cigarette. He was wearing a fishnet shirt and women's skinny jeans. "Yeah, that was good," he said, "but I don't know about your image."
"What image?" I asked him.
"You know," he replied, "female."
The bassist looked down at the floor, clearly embarrassed, but he didn't say anything. The drummer couldn't look at me either.
"You couldn't do anything better for your image than put a woman in your band," I said calmly. I packed up and left.
A year later, that singer date-raped a friend of a friend. He gave her bruises and nightmares.
Sexism is real, violence against women is pervasive. These are blights on our world that strangle the potential of every person of every gender.
We can change. We must. We will. Today is a good start.