I went to a feminist meeting once, it didn’t end well. I watched a young woman verbally stomp all over another woman who innocently used the terms ‘Mum and Dad’. The poor lady got roasted alive over her choice of words. Then, when she had been slapped well and truly back into her ‘second wave’ place. The young woman spent the next two hours talking about the language we should be using to define feminists, gays, lesbians and transgender individuals. I found it a bit of a stretch she would feel comfortable dictating the appropriate terminology, from her white, married, privileged, bisexual, cis gendered position. Then, by the end of the evening I realized that I had been mistaken, she wasn’t a feminist, she was just not a very nice human being. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I think gender inequality is not a thing, or that the patriarchy, domestic violence, and sexual exploitation doesn’t exist because, let us be clear that it does. I want to put this out there though and say that when a woman cuts down another woman’s voice. she is not doing feminism any favours.
I know because Ive been a closet feminist, all my life without even knowing it. I grew up in a purely matriarchal world, my widowed grandma, single mum, and me, rattling about in a house with a few spinster aunts thrown in for good measure. I was weaned on a working class council estate, where women oiled the machinery and ran the whole show. Later when I worked in the health care environment, it was the ladies that picked up the slack and got on with it. Sure there were a few male doctors wandering about looking dazed and clueless, but no one was under the illusion they were in charge of ‘Jack shit’ including them. If they had that sense of superiority, it was because someone had given it to them somewhere down the line and they were never shown how to discard it.
It never occurred to me growing up I was oppressed. It still doesn’t, I don’t have time for the angry feminists. I’m not even that sorry. In my opinion when we tar all men as bastards and refuse to answer a question from a child because they happen to be a boy we lose, why? because its just playing exactly to the stereotype of the hysterical woman that society has used against us throughout history. If there is one advantage in placing us in the roles of wives and mothers, it is this. We can raise our children to be more. The biggest promise I made to myself was to be mindful that I never gave my children a sense of entitlement or that they did not consider themselves less than any other human. Gender is a part of that. It starts earlier than you think . It is my third generation of ‘kick ass women’ responsibility to nail that sucker firmly. I have girls and boys, to them both I recite the mantra. You are first a human being.
Feminists might tell me that my marriage is rooted in inequality. In the heterosexual scheme of things I consider myself pretty lucky to have the equality to marry who I please. This is no spoiler, but hey My marriage inequality doesn’t really come close. This is what my marriage inequality looks like. Today as I prepared to get rid of my old phone I realized I didn’t even know the wifi password, but you know what? that’s ok. I don’t take the bins out either, or mow the lawn. I cant be arsed to do the tax returns, or unblock the dishwasher filter, you can change that light bulb and work out the area of laminate floor we need, and you can put the oil in my car, heck you can figure out ALL the stuff I need to do on the laptop for me, and just do it. Not because I cant, but because to be quite frank, doing that shit is not going to fulfill me one iota.
Yes, my husband might be a grumpy, snoring, awkward bugger sometimes. Do I feel down trodden no, because I am no picnic and lemonade to live with either, in fact if I had to live with me, I would probably bitch slap myself to death. The point is, division is weakness. Acceptance is the only way forward. I can’t be a feminist or any other -ist for that matter just because I have a vested interest. My feminism cannot start with hating men. I am raising one. It starts with my accepting that just because you have a penis does not follow that you are automatically a knob. Then by extension, that whatever sexual organs you have, do not define you. If I can embrace that, then I can understand that it is also not my decision to decide who I will allow you to love. Your choice does not threaten me. Once you understand that it gets a lot easier to tick the right boxes in life.