I suffer from insomnia, so when I was reading the news last night instead of staring at the ceiling, I came across an article in the Detroit Free Press online (I still keep up w/ news in my home state from 6000 miles away), freep.com, and while I was bleary eyed and trying to write a coherent response to it, I decided that maybe someone better should do it, w/ more readership, and I emailed the link to Liss.
She was so not going to let me off the hook. Instead, she asked if I was interested in guest blogging at Shakesville, which honestly hadn't occurred to me. The idea made me *squee* so hard that I almost wet myself. Then I looked at my post, and thought "Crap, someone might actually read this." So I toiled a little more, hoping to bring to Shakers something worthy of the reputation that Shakesville so deserves. To say I am feeling pretty special and lucky right now is not accurate.
So, here goes…
If you ask Holly Bowne, feminism has gone too far.
And now it is tearing our boys down and stopping us from teaching them how to be men!
Bowne wants to know why feminism has decided that beating up boys is the thing to do in order to achieve our goals.
She starts off w/ the normal "yadda yadda yadda I think men and women should be allowed to do the same jobs", "I like the political and economic gains feminism has made" to get her feminist street cred and show her appreciation that she is allowed to write things and get them published too, but it pretty much goes down hill from there.
Feminism is, of course, to blame, b/c her son's soccer team "held back" when playing in an indoor league game against a girls' team. Apparently the little man cubs were being "punched in the back of the head" by the girls, and it is all the fault of feminism.
After the soccer game, I asked a manager why this talented girls team didn't play up a few levels within the girls division instead of entering the boys' leagues. I was told that prohibiting them from playing in the boys division would be considered discrimination. Amazing. Women have fought a long, hard battle to earn equal rights. We now have clubs, sports, colleges and political organizations solely for women and the support of women's rights. But we're still not satisfied.It's feminism's fault that girls' sports teams are allowed to play boys' teams. OK, I can see that. I don't think that is a bad thing. Bowne is upset b/c for feminists it isn't good enough that girls have their own teams, leagues, clubs, tournaments and whathaveyous, but now we want our girls to be able to compete against other teams…even boys' teams. We are ruining sports by wanting girls and boys w/ similar ability levels to play w/ or even against each other, and that is confusing our boys. I am pretty sure that history has shown us that separate is not equal.
What I really think is confusing our boys is the concept of chivalry, and how it enforces gender roles. From the very moment the doctor proclaims "It's a boy!" the stereotypes are forced down their throats by every thing and person the come in contact w/. Bowne mentions that she has taught her boys to not be aggressive w/ girls, that boys must protect girls, and even "step to their defense". I can see where she is going, we certainly don't want more violence against women, and I definitely think we need more feminist allies in men, but I just don't buy this whole "protect the fair sex" mentality. Chivalry, from the French word for knight, chevalier, is the concept that began w/ Knightly Duties, and has evolved into this idea that men must treat women w/ "respect" by treating them as weaker and in need of being protected. Chivalry, on its surface seems like a great idea—treat women w/ respect. But, it is really just sexism in a big pretty bow meant to match your purse and high heels.
Even more irritating, to me, is Bowne's idea that feminists are seeking to get their equality by beating up boys. The image of the ball busting, steel toed boot wearing, man bashing feminist is nothing new. She thinks that feminists are promoting violence against boys and men as a way to get a leg up on society. Her proof of this agenda is the horrific line of shirts geared at "tweeners" by David & Goliath, specifically the ones that say "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them," the one that stirred the pot w/ MRAs. I can't say that I speak for all feminists everywhere, but the promotion of violence towards anyone just isn't a good idea in general. I certainly don't want young boys wearing shirts like the "Problem Solved" shirt that caused a stir amongst feminists not so long ago, and likewise, to promote to girls that it is OK to "throw rocks at them" is not an ideal I want to pass on to my Kid when she is interacting w/ boys. I absolutely know that violence against women is significantly more of a problem than violence by women against men, but that does not mean that the way to make things even is to take out a few of the competitors in the MRA Olympics. I love how seeing a woman searching for this shirt in her kid's size means that feminists are handing them out at anti men rallies across the globe. If this is what feminism is supposed to be like then I have been doing it wrong. Here I thought we were supposed to be treating other human beings w/ respect, turns out all I really was supposed to do was buy the Kid a crappy t-shirt and give her a handful of rocks.
I guess what I am saying is that the problem here isn't w/ the feminist movement, it is w/ the way that society has taught us to "raise men." I am totally behind teaching boys that they should respect girls and women, not to hit or hurt them, I teach the same thing to my daughter, only I tell her it is never OK to hit or hurt anyone (w/o their permission, and that is a whole different post). We don't need to teach them differently. Teach children to treat people as people, regardless of gender, race, religion, trouser size, who they want to kiss good night, or double-jointed thumbs. If we want our children to play fair and equal then we need to raise them fairly and equally, no matter what color of cap the hospital puts on them when they are seven minutes old. The same way that I don't want my daughter growing up thinking that she is secondary to the sons out there, I don't want sons who grow up knowing how to "treat a lady."
(Thanks, Liss, for letting me hang w/ the cool kids today!)