8.18.2006

feminists

When women tell me they’re a feminist, my response is always the same: “Oh, totally. I hate men too. Those mongrels.”

My sarcasm is usually very apparent, but it always adequately sends the message that I think that feminists hate men-- all men, to be exact. Obviously this is my own prejudice against feminists, but for right now, it's the way I feel. In fact, to take it a step further, I always think they hate me. Pretty big ego of mine, eh? What could I have done to possibly elicit such strong feelings from women I’ve only just met? I try to treat women with kindness, and regardless of my penchant for teasing my wife about being horrible because she won’t satisfy my laziness and get me a sandwich (she usually makes me get it myself, can you believe that?!) I think very highly of women, and I definitely don't hate them.

The woman I know best is Mrs. Sixline. She’s fantastic. We have our differences and I don’t want to say our marriage is looked at with starry eyes or through rose colored glasses. Despite our imperfections, we get along more often than not. When we are getting along we’re laughing and playing and talking and having fun. I see her as an equal, and I never ‘lay down the law,’ as it were. I don’t tell her how it is, and I don’t boss her around. When decisions come for whether or not I continue education, or whether or not we move, or where we go, she’s involved and I need her input so we can do what's best. My desires to do what I want in the quotidian are governed by simple selfish impulses to do things my way, not an overbearing pressure to be the man and show the helpless little wifey how to get things done. It's a part of learning to be one.

I respect her. I respect what she does. She has worked very hard throughout the whole of our marriage, taking on the role of primary breadwinner and housewife because I’m so often at school. When we have children, she will have the God-given task of being primary care-giver. She will be there in a way I can't. She will be Mom. There are few honors that are as esteemed as that of mother. She is so nurturing; I have relied on her time and time again to hold me in her loving arms and encourage me when I’ve been down because of depression. She’s held me up during times of stress when I need to make sure I do well on finals. She has been patient with me far more than I have had to be patient with her. She’s beautiful, she’s wonderful, she’s pleasing, and without her I wouldn’t be whole.

Why make an enemy of my greatest ally?

I think this is what unnerves me most upset about feminists. I recognize that men make mistakes, and some men have committed acts of unthinkable malice and selfishness towards women. But regardless of all my mistakes, I haven’t committed gross acts against women. If I’m grouped up in that category, then that means that I am guilty of wronging my wife and I don’t like that one bit. Just the thought of being guilty of wrongdoing against wracks me with horror. I ask her, very often, if she feels oppressed in anyway because of my attitudes, or if she feels slighted because she isn’t getting an education, or if she feels trapped by being a housewife. I want to make sure she’s happy and feels fulfilled in our marriage. I take full responsibility for my role in her well being. What more can I do for her?

I have no goals other than that. I have no career aspirations. I have no desire to flash my degree around in social circles and feel good about myself. My one and only goal in life is to do whatever I can to be a good husband and father. I expect the same from my wife; that she be a good wife and mother. This is not to say that we can’t take hobbies, or that she can’t go off with the girls while I baby-sit. Of course we need and want friends and family. I love my wife. I’m no poet, and everything I say sounds so trite and hackneyed. I wish that men would walk up to their responsibilities. I wish that men would treat women the way they deserve to be treated. Lots of us guys feel that way. So if you’re a feminist, try to remember that the next time the door is held for you. It’s not an insult; it’s an honor.

9 comments:

ubercyl said...

Ok.

ubercyl said...

Sorry, had to do it.

It's a great post; I really enjoyed it. We probably wouldn't need a feminist movement if all of us walked up to our duties. Of course, there's mass confusion in the world about what those duties are.

sixline said...

Would you say it's a great post, or the greatest post?

ubercyl said...

A great post. I thought you liked fish, not fishing.

hairyshoefairy said...

lol, ubercyl.

I think your post was great, too. I think my husband feels the way you feel. Sometimes he says thing jokingly and people who don't know us well think he's being serious, and worry that I'm being oppressed or something which couldn't be further from the truth. I chose him because he treats me the way I think I should be treated. I choose to do the things I do and he respects that. Together we make decisions that affect our lives. I don't think either of us tries to "rule" the other.

It's frustrating to me to see other couples where there's a "ruler." I don't think that's the way things are supposed to work. It doesn't seem healthy to me. Just my two cents.

sixline said...

Madame Fairy, it was a conversation with ubercyl that originally made me go "Hey!!" We were moving her furniture instead of moving in to our new place (Nyah :P ) and she mentioned that men and women have the potential to be the greatest of allies, and far too often we're pitted against each other.

No one should be ruling over anyone. No one should feel oppressed or sidelined.

hairyshoefairy said...

Totally agreed. She sent me an article by Hugh Nibley that was really interesting. She may have already told you about it. You might like it.

Sporks said...

Let me put it to you this way: saying all feminists hate men is like saying all Christians are fundamentalist, literalist, bigoted and intolerant. Feminism is, at its most basic level, simply the idea that women are equal to men; Christianity is, at its most basic level, the idea of worshipping Christ as the son of God. Different groups of people take the implementation of both ideas in different directions and with differing attitudes towards the groups they deal with. There are feminist jerks just as there are Christian jerks, or Muslim jerks, or blonde jerks, or dental hygienist jerks, or fill-in-the-blank jerks, being that all of these are, well, people.

sixline said...

xanesly, although I wasn't as clear as I should have been, I certainly didn't mean to say that all feminists hate men. I just feel that twinge of guilt, you know?

'Spose I shoulda been more clear.

:)