Determining my role in gender issues

Plot summary: In December 2006, I participated in a limited discussion with women about gender inequality, violence against women, etc. I was surfing and responded to a post titled “Why I Hate Men.” After reading a fairly scathing batch of comments which reduced all men as either being directly or indirectly involved in denegrating women on a variety of levels; I felt compelled to respond. Unfortunately, the exchange didn’t seem to go anywhere beyond me feeling baited.

Recently, a woman posting under the name of Michelle commented on that post (which appeared on MY COMMENTS of my WordPress control panel). I wanted to address the issues she raises, but saw no point in getting flamed again by posting there. I apologize for the long post, but this needed to be addressed.

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Here is Michelle’s post (toned down a bit)

Screw you all. If you are all so friggin” great then DO something about the violence against women and children. Prove to us that you aren’t all psychotic (slang term for male genitalia) with entitlement issues. Prove that empathy, compassion, nurturing and respect can be acheived…the ENVIRONMENT anyone? Child pornography? Incest? Rape? Prostitution? Objectification? domestic assault? Stand up to the patriarchy…stand up to the knuckle-dragging neanderthals beside you. If you love women so much why aren’t you DOING anything about it? Knock out the guy who beats his wife…give more than 2 years to some guy who raped his children. Protest the sex-trade, pornography, female castration. Funny, I don’t see all you wonderful guys standing beside us when I am standing up for women and children.

I just don’t buy the bull#### anymore.

PROVE IT!

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I thought about my response to this for some time. This type of response, of course, puts me at the defensive and potentially makes most answers appear antagonistic. Hurl expletives and throw labels around – in other words, reflect anger back at here – , I am part of the problem. Sound condescending, I am part of the problem. Say I am not an activist for feminism, and I am part of the problem.  Try to sound supportive, and I am coddling and still part of the problem. Anyway, here goes nothing.

1) You don’t have to be a bullhorn-wielding militant, professional lobbyist, or even a high-profile celebrity to make a difference. Besides, not everyone is cut out to be an activist, in the traditional sense. People dies of brain hemorrages daily but that doesn’t mean I should become a surgeon. The truth is that I do make a difference. My wife and I are actively raising children (both genders, btw) to be capable of evaluating as well as making decisions, using fair and equitable means.  Anyone who knows me personally (as opposed to those who like to make anonymous electronic assumptions) knows how I feel about these issues. However, in trying to explain it all here, to me, seems pointless. Michelle isn’t fact-finding here. She’s angry & she’s venting.

2) My overall impression of this post later hit me. It’s a cop-out. It’s pretty much a “here, you take care of the problem” approach. The thing is, though, it’s everyone’s job.  By passing the issue to me, she doesn’t need to do anything except watch me fail at saving the world and then maybe do some more finger-pointing.  Even if I were to develop the ability to fly along with an aversion to Krytonite, I still wouldn’t be able to save the world with this or any issue, for that matter. I do what I can. It just may not be on the 6 O’Clock news. Sorry.

For all of the Michelles out there, if you are trying to change the behaviors and actions out there to get women issues recognized; I am not sure that this kind of approach is going to help. When the approach fails, it doesn’t also mean that change can’t happen; it might simply mean that it needs a different approach.

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3 responses to “Determining my role in gender issues

  1. you know what SJ, these women don’t realise that they are little different from the men who act on their hatred for women. is it so difficult to understand that generally, 75% of the planet’s population are pigs at any given time regardless of sex, race and background and topic of the day?

  2. That woman’s post made me sad: what about all the beautiful things in the world? Where’s the balance?
    This woman does not speak for me.
    Thank you for your thought-provoking post, and for your answers to her challenges. Yes, we are each only one person, and we may only be able to do a little bit…but we enrich the lives of those around us by being who we are.
    And…you are so right, our role as parents cannot be negated. Raising good people is a significant humanitarian effort.

  3. Pretty sad as I think we all need to work together in order to tackle some of these very serious issues. Why alienate people, and especially the whole spectrum of males that are willing to take a hands on approach and help out solve some of these problems?

    Sounds to me as if this woman has been hurt a multitude of times by members of the opposite sex but – who hasn’t been in crappy relationships? You either overcome and move on, or succumb to the bitterness and let it affect you the rest of your life.

    By the way, the guy who lived next to me at my last place of residence DID do something about it. He went undercover in Thailand and posed as a solicitor of child prostitutes and once the pimps brought the children in, he’d bust ’em. The focus of his work was the sex trade and enslavement of children overseas. So I’d say that yes, there are many out there like him.

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