Why should a man write about benifiting from feminism? What could I possibly say that could be taken seriously? I feel men should take feminism seriously for the same reason heterosexuals should take gay rights seriously. By sticking up for other peoples rights you decrease the chances that yours will be taken away arbitrarily. I'm not sure I'd like living in a society where people don't stick up for their fellow citizens because they don't belong to the group being wronged.
As a result here are five things feminism has done for me:
1. A lot of other bloggers have mentioned the work-place. I have benefited directly from working with a lot of highly qualified smart women who in another generation may have had to stay at home and apply their large brains to meaningless tasks. Unfortunately, there are still not nearly enough women in science and technology. The other day I added up all the different computer programmers and database people I have worked with over the years. It came to about 17, but only two of them were women. As recently as 5 years ago I worked for a VP of Technology who absolutely refused to hire female programmers. He claimed they could not do the job. Clearly certain people are lying when they claim feminism has run its course and reached its goals.
2. Feminism helps me form an historical perspective of the social and political changes I've seen in my life. I have my own view of how we got into the current debacle of Harper vs the Status of Women Canada: Mulroney believed that Trudeau ruined Canada and that it was his divine calling to save Canada. Everyone is entitled to their delusions of grandeur. Mulroney was so obsessed with re-writing Trudeau's constitution and negotiating NAFTA that he accomplished very little for women or families. Without trying to over-explain it, I think it can be argued that Mulroney killed the progressive wing of the Conservative Party, alienated Western Conservatives, and made it possible for Harper to merge the two parties and remove the word Progressive from the name, and more importantly, to remove Progressive ideas from their policy. No wonder Harper claims Mulroney as his mentor. That's my explanation of how we got to 2006 and a government that wants to cut funding to the Status of Women.
3. Feminism has helped define the type of women I admire and want. (Pause for Drooling). My ideal woman ought to committed to defending her own and other women's gender rights. I think its pretty important for women to be independent and able to look after themselves. If through some unfortunate series of events her honour is besmirched in some weird way I would like to think she would kick ass and take names. (I've got your back sweety.) I don't think I'm capable of buying into the idea that men are the higher beings in the social order as per St. Paul and others. There are many things St. Paul wrote in the New Testament that I cherish, but his views on women, marriage and homosexuality can be discarded without much second thought.
4. Feminism has largely driven the redefinition of the family so families now take many different forms. It will never be the same again in spite of the rantings of tradionalists. The is no such thing as a traditional definition of a family or a marriage. Any group who claims they own the traditional definition of marriage and the family are egotistical power crazy liars. It can be two women, two men, a single mother, working, not working, whatever. I benefit from this because I can feel free to form my family any way I want without feeling guilty. There is a side benefit of knowing people you care about can do what they want and what works for them. Now if only we could get Canada's New Government to mind its own business and let people decide family and marriage issues for themselves, we will all be better off.
5. Feminism has made me more aware of the problems in our society with domestic violence and poverty, both affecting women and children far more than men. I read the other day that Alberta has the highest rate of domestic violence in Canada. Part of this is attributable to the frontier town mentality that goes along with the boom cycle of the Oil & Gas economy. The question is: Why would our Government want to defund women's groups knowing there is still a huge problem with violence towards women. That puts their attitude in a whole new light: immoral and dispicable. Pro family my ass.
Note: This is a first draft. I'm not overly happy with it, so I may make some edits.
Update Oct 25, 2006 6:50pm mst - I fixed some typos and minor changes to grammar. I used to be a good speller. And thanks for all your feedback so far.
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