I’m not a feminist (at least not in the more negative sense that word has taken on over time), but I do believe in as much equality as can be had between two such disparate species as men and women. What turns me off feminism as a system of belief and practice are the rabid, man-hating proponents who would go so far as to alter the spellings of words, simply because they carry the “man” stigma.
1. That is overkill.
2. Ladies, if you are that threatened by something so simple as the use of the word fireman, for example, perhaps it is you that has the problem.
In my opinion, this is an identity and sexuality issue that seems to have nothing to do with words (like fireman), and therefore can’t be solved by changing those words. Indeed, I have believed for quite some time that such a hard line in regard to some matters of encouraging female equality has led to more problems than it has solved. I have met a number of men who are afraid to speak totally freely, because they think I’ll emasculate them for using the man word, in any way, shape, or form.
Fear is not the way to solve a problem. Fear builds more stress. Fear builds more separation.
Changing people’s attitudes to a healthier way of thinking, is not going to begin well by making people nervous. And it is attitudes you have to change, not words. When the attitudes change, those words that need altering will also change. Besides, it does not hurt someone to ask nicely that another person please use a different term of address. I’ve seen some ladies go after a man with an axe because he didn’t use Just The Right Word. There is something to be said for saying please, you know.
Let’s talk specific issues for a moment.
I don’t like this expression. I realise, as I’ve said previously, that it’s just an off-hand expression to most who use it. I still don’t like it, because it carries the implication that within a relationship, one party is More Equal Than The Other; it carries the implication that one gender, one human, is somehow more valuable than another. It is, in a word, condescending.
This has very little to do with gender equality, and more to do with people equality. Neither party of a relationship is worth more to the relationship, or the world, than the other. While one person may carry more weight in some areas than the other, the balance will even out. If one party is willing to take on more than the other, and all parties involved are willing, that’s fair. That’s part of the relationship deal, anyhow.
All things being what they are, it is impossible to expect total equality in any way, between two people of any gender, preference, race, religion, or habit. It’s impossible. Period.
What isn’t impossible, is to expect fair and equal treatment.
We seem to take a dim view of men adorning themselves, while at the same time, we not only allow it in women but also expect it, and in many cases demand it. Not only that, but we seem to denigrate those trappings that have traditionally been seen as male-dominated (tattoos), or those traditionally seen as female that men now bear (earrings, though long ago it used to be a standard thing for men to have earrings of some sort).
Lest we forget: it is the males of most species who carry the trappings of beauty. Witness the male lion’s mane, the male peacock’s tail, and the males of many antlered animals.
I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we not only accept adornments in men, but also encourage them – or at least not condescend to them when they make the attempt.
The Punching of Girls
Do I agree that physical violence is okey-dokey? Hell no. No one should be smacking anyone else around, for any reason whatever. Period.
But this is where my opinion on the matter tends to tick some people off: If a woman hits her man, I believe he’s got every right to protect himself. If people want equality, they should accept it on all levels, and not be hypocritical about it. No, I certainly would not want someone to smack me upside the head, but if I hit someone, I should jolly well accept the possibility that I’m going to get just as good in return.
We’re In The Army Now
In many ancient cultures, and in modern ones (including some we – in our cultural ignorance – might think would not allow it) women served in whatever form of military there was. Women, in some cases, were the sole members of a fighting force. In some countries, mandatory military service does not just apply to males; it also applies to the women. That’s fair.
Here’s how I see it…
When a country goes to war to either protect themselves or defend their beliefs, the whole of that population is made up of both men and women. It – the homeland – is a woman’s home just as much as it is the man’s and I don’t believe that it should just be the men who are sent off to die for their nation. If a nation has mandatory service (or Selective Service, as exists in the United States) for males, it should also include women. If it does not have mandatory service, it should still allow those females who are willing, to pick up a rifle and trot off to Whoknowswhereland, to fight for kith and kin. Some people will even tell you that they believe there is no more vicious fighter than a woman, particularly if she’s a mother who has to defend the life of her child.
Give Give Give Me More More More
A lot of women talk of how they wish their (male) mates would do more nice, romantic, or spontaneous, things for them. Of course we all want to feel special, but this little game works both ways, whether you want to believe it or not.
Ladies, there’s nothing wrong with you doing something special or romantic for your (male) partner. Just because it isn’t traditionally done, doesn’t mean a man wouldn’t want that special dinner, or a new book, or whatever it is he finds nifty. The onus cannot always be more on one partner than the other. This goes back to the equality issue. If you want fairness, you have to be fair. Sometimes there’s a lot of credence to the saying that you have to give, in order to get.
Just to illustrate the point: My aunt once kidnapped my uncle after work on his last day before his vacation, and took him to Disneyworld. Isn’t that neat? He thought it was, even after the girl at the Tiki Hut asked him (in her very southern accent) where he kept his sled dogs. (We’re all Canadian up this way, don’t forget; but you still have to go pretty far north to find sled dogs.)
What can I say to sum up? If you want fairness, be fair. If you want equality, treat others equally. Special treatment, in some areas, should come because you as a person deserve it, not because you’re the little woman or the big man.
Lonita has been an AU student since early 2002, and is studying towards a Bachelor of General Studies in Arts & Science. She enjoys writing, creating websites, drinks far too much tea, and lives in hopes of one day owning a plaid Cthulhu doll. The most exciting thing she’s done so far in her lifetime is driven an F2000 racecar, and she’s still trying to figure out how to top that experience. Her personal website can be found athttp://www.lonita.net and what you can’t find out about her through that, you can ask her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org