I’ve had a draft blog post sitting around for a long time about feminism. It’s not really well written, more just a bunch of disparate thoughts. It starts with how I’ve always believed men and women to be equal in the sense that there is nothing men can do that women can’t and that women shouldn’t be treated differently because they are women.
It then goes on to explain that what I didn’t realize is that just because I believed that, and the school system and my parents and most forms of media all said that, it doesn’t mean that’s the way things actually are. It’s only been recently that I’ve become more aware of the fact that even though lots of people will speak about the importance of equality- and, crucially, believe in the importance of equality- that doesn’t prevent us from living in a system and society that is in many ways inherently unequal, often at the expense of women, and often unseen and unnoticed.
Anyway, I’ve had a draft of that sitting around and I’ve never gotten around to fleshing it out and publishing it, in part because it kind of feels like who cares? People have been noticing this stuff for years and writing about it and articulating in ways far more powerfully than I ever could. I am a straight white dude who only recently has moved beyond the basic “yeah, women are equal to men, of course” to “oh wow there sure are a lot of ways men and women aren’t equal still geez this is heavy stuff.”
So over the course of the last year or so as we’ve been seeing countless discussions about #YesAllWomen and #AmINext and #BeenRapedNeverReported I’ve chosen to be an observer and learner. Trying to jump in while these discussions were happening always felt to me like I would be like “Hey there I’m a man and although I’ve never had to go through anything as difficult as what you have I have feelings about it too!” which is, in my mind, not a particularly helpful thing to do.1
That continues to be the case, but I’m starting to think there might be something to be gained from identifying myself as a feminist. Please understand I am not trying to do this for internet points, or likes, or retweets or favourites or kudos of any sort because in my mind all I’m doing is saying ‘people should be equal and there are still lots of things that prevent that from happening, and lots of those things affect women on an individual level more than they do men’ and you know what? I don’t deserve a cookie for that.
The only reason I’m doing this is in the hope that, I dunno, it makes it even the tiniest bit easier for a woman in my life to talk to me about a problem she’s experienced or the slightest bit more likely that another guy who hasn’t explored these issues will think about maybe exploring them. I don’t know if that will actually happen but if it does, all the better.
Anyway, like I said there are other people with far more powerful things to say on this subject, so here are some of them that I’ve managed to bookmark properly:
Please note that I have seen a number of men jump in and add useful points to the conversation and increased my own learning. I don’t automatically want to dismiss anyone who does feel like speaking on these issues, I just want to explain how I personally would feel about jumping in. ↩
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