Hey! – You Guys…

I know there’s a couple of you that read this blog….

A couple of years ago, I went to a talk titled was “Is Feminism Dead?”  I remember feeling a little burning flame start to kindle when I saw the poster, sensing a post-feminist agenda on the horizon.  I dragged my guy with me, C’mon, I said.  There will be lots of men there.  Young men are more open to these ideas, I said.  You won’t be alone.

Well.  We sat at the back and watched the room fill up with women.  Women of a particular type.  Most of the women in the room were white, many with grey hair.  Some of the women were young and had that hippy-cool look happening, with funky clothes and spiky hair.  No one brought their men.  I was a little shocked and my guy felt centred out; he felt all their eyes on him.  I said that was because he was so hot.  But no, he said some glared at him.

But me?  I was kinda proud.  Here I was with the only man in the room.  I knew he was feeling uncomfortable, but we talked together and found common cause in analyzing the situation.  I have to say, I felt like I walked into a time warp.  I couldn’t believe that there were no men interested in this question.  Don’t they want to understand women better?  Apparently not.

My guy is an enlightened man, he is someone who recognizes the value of the female principle, of the value of women in the bigger picture.   He was there.  He came with me.  He was interested.  And you know why?  He was interested because I was.

When the lecturer arrived, she brought with her a couple more men; she introduced them as “friends.”  There were now 3 men and about 120 women.

The lecture was quite good.  It was delivered by Dianne Rienhart who was writing a regular column for the Hamilton Spectator at the time.  Her message resonated with what I think (and say):  that as long as there are women around the world who are suffering because they are women then there is a reason for feminism to continue.  For feminists, no matter what their stripe, are tuned to the cause of women’s human rights; they see that raising women’s rights will raise human rights.

Her second message also resonated with me, with us, actually, me and my guy.  That message was that we need men to help us.  We need men to be sitting in the seats with us, talking with us, listening to us, helping us.  My guy listens to what I have to say with interest, and we engage in intelligent conversations (or we think they’re intelligent – who really can say?).  He is engaged because I bring it up ALL the time.  Those of you who have heard me on my soapbox will testify; he pays attention because his consciousness has been raised, although he takes exception to the term.  He seems to be happy to be with a woman who is independent and educated.  The fruits of feminism have been good for him.

November is Women’s Abuse month.  These tactics – month-long awareness campaigns – give us an opportunity to focus on particular causes, sometimes to raise awareness, sometimes for celebration.  This November we are reminded by women’s groups all over the city of the basic right of women to live without fear in the place she calls home.  It’s a basic human right.

My guy and I were talking about these tactics while we were walking home from work.  He made the comment:  women’s abuse won’t stop until men stop it.  End of story.  All the awareness, all the lobbying, all the efforts by women to end violence against women is like King Lear raging against the storm.

Women’s abuse won’t stop until men stop it.  It’s that simple.

What are you guys doing about it?

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2 responses to “Hey! – You Guys…

  1. Madeline Robins

    Abuse of an individual is always wrong. There is elder abuse, child abuse, school yard bullying, and so on. I agree that men must be involved if abuse against women is to be stopped (hurray for your guy!), but it’s also about recognizing that we all have a role to play in stopping abuse of those who are vulnerable i.e getting to the human rights agenda. On the one hand, the message seems to imply that women are never abusive themselves, only subject to abuse.

    • Hello Madeleine,
      I agree, abuse is wrong. And I agree, women are abusive too, and the matter is complicated beyond belief. But this post was written in the context of women’s abuse month and in support of efforts to end that particular form of abuse.
      Women abuse their children, parents, and male and female lovers, but not to the extent that men do.
      Thanks for reading my post and for taking the time to comment.
      m.

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