(Originally posted to the Community section of MyMedia)
Those who know me, know I’m a feminist–in the purest sense of the word: I want women not to be second class human beings.
I hope that, one day, the world will not need to make a special effort to celebrate entire swaths of the planet’s population; that we won’t need a Black History Month, or an Equality Now campaign; that having the first female president at an Ivy League University, or the first person of color in high office, will not be something we remember, and remark, and point to; because people of all types, and colors, and from all points of the gender spectrum, will have equal opportunities in reality and not just in paper.
This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is Pledge for Parity.
I hope to come back to this thread and post links and quotes from articles and posts that highlight why feminism–the fight for equality across humanity–is still very much necessary.
Today, I leave you with this one.
There are the jokes about women, about wives, about mothers, about raising daughters, about female bosses. They are told in my presence by men who are meant to care about me, just to get a rise out of me, as though I am meant to find funny a reminder of my second-class status. I am meant to ignore that this is a bullying tactic, that the men telling these jokes derive their amusement specifically from knowing they upset me, piss me off, hurt me. They tell them and I can laugh, and they can thus feel superior, or I can not laugh, and they can thus feel superior. Heads they win, tails I lose. I am used as a prop in an ongoing game of patriarchal posturing, and then I am meant to believe it is true when some of the men who enjoy this sport, in which I am their pawn, tell me, “I love you.” I love you, my daughter. I love you, my niece. I love you, my friend. I am meant to trust these words.
There are the occasions that men—intellectual men, clever men, engaged men—insist on playing devil’s advocate, desirous of a debate on some aspect of feminist theory or reproductive rights or some other subject generally filed under the heading: Women’s Issues. These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, want to wrestle over details, want to argue just for fun—and they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps raising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes. Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that’s so much fun for them is the stuff of my life.
I hope, pray, really, that those of you who follow the link read it through, and then take a few minutes to reflect about it, before reacting.
If you identify as male, please allow me to reassure you: this is not an attack. We–women, feminists or not–are aware that not all men are misogynists, or evil, or hateful, or sexists, or racists, or asshats. Please, think about the people in your life who identify as female, or who are different (be it appearance, sexual orientation/identification, ability, religion, what-have-you), and think of them as the recipients–constantly, day in and day out–of these attitudes, these statements, these behaviours.
Would you, loving these people, dismiss their pain, and the disadvantages that being oblivious to the disparity in opportunities given to them by virtue of things beyond their control–such as gender–with an offhand, “get over it, it’s not that bad”?