Wednesday, September 23, 2015

On gender, feminism, etc.

This will be a rather stream of consciousness piece; not because I'm too lazy to compose a proper essay, but I'm really strapped for time right now.  There are a few things I want to say and I'd like to get them in print (text) while I've got the chance.

OK, for starters, let me just state the obvious: I think women should get equal pay for equal work.  A no brainer.  Why anyone would have an issue with this is beyond my comprehension.  And women should be able to work any job for which they're capable.  The basic rule/criteria in the working world is can you do the job?  Do you have the necessary skills, health, coordination, etc. to do the job.  If not, you don't get the job. If a woman wants to be in law enforcement, fire fighting or the military, they should be given the chance, if they meet the criteria.  It has nothing to do with gender.  Besides, there are plenty of men who also might not be able to meet the criteria/demands.

Appearance?  I think you should have the courage to dress and behave in whatever manner you feel most fits/reflects your lifestyle, your personality, your sexuality.  If you're a woman and don't like pink frilly things, then wear something else.  Wear bib overalls if you like.  But at least be fully cognizant of who you are and why you are dressing/behaving the way you do.  If you just want to dress to be comfortable, then for god's sake, be comfortable.  But if your appearance is more a manner of making a statement, then at least be cognizant and genuine about what that is.  Example:  for a lot of teenagers, appearance is not just self-expression or group acceptance, it involves a sense of rebellion.  Let's be honest about that.  Whatever it is, they're rebelling against something, whether that thing is real and concrete or just in their own minds. Certainly things like mohawks, neon-colored hair, tattoos and piercings fall into that category.  In short, as the song by Hall & Oates said,"Do what you want, but be who you are." 

OK, now regarding men (which includes boors, pigs, misogynists and other assorted jerks).  There are a lot of jerks out there.  Let me tell ya.  I worked with many of them for 40 years.  They were enough to almost make me ashamed that I was of the male gender. There are a lot of men with some pretty twisted, repressive and unimaginative ideas of what they should be and what women should be.  I don't think these guys are fully developed human beings.  I'm surprised that some of them have actually evolved to have opposing thumbs. I think that their lives are just somewhat narrow in scope; they need to have things simplified.  They cannot imagine themselves (or women) in non-stereotypical roles.

One guy I knew…the only thing you'd hear him talk about was hunting.  It didn't matter what, as long as he had some kind of animal to stalk and kill.  And I'm not against hunting.  I used to do it when I was younger.  And then I developed other interests.  It was not my sole reason for existence.  So, I'm not saying this particular individual was a bad guy.  He'd help you out if you needed something. But otherwise, he was really kind of one-dimensional.  He knew who he was and he was comfortable with it.

And on the other side of the gender scale, I knew women who were apparently quite content to be feminine, or if you prefer, to wear dresses, do their hair, do their makeup, etc.  And they knew how to do other things.  They had other skills besides cooking and housekeeping.  Some knew how to hunt, some how to fish, some how to work on cars and had mechanical skills, but when they weren't doing that, they were perfectly happy to maintain a softer appearance.  Again, do what you want but be who you are.

But I start to get a rash on my behind when I feel like I'm taking the heat for all the stupid guys out there.  The same way I get irritated at people like Ricky Gervais or Richard Dawkins, who are just blatantly arrogant about their atheism, to the point of having to ridicule religion in general.  There are a LOT of people in this world who are not deserving of their ridicule.  Plain, ordinary, unassuming folks who aren't hurting anyone, annoying anyone, or denying anyone else their rights (i.e. Kim Davis).  People just trying to get through Life without banging their shins on the coffee table.  People who find a little bit of comfort in scripture.

Yes, there are real and legitimate feminist issues out there.  I don't happen to believe that the diatribe about pink or blue toys or boy's and girl's toys happens to be at the top of the list. 

If you want to be angry about something, then be specific about it.  Direct it at an individual person, or if appropriate, an entire corporation if you think the ad their running is particularly insulting or offensive.

I get a little tired of hearing men this or men that, just like I'd get weary of going out to listen to a comedian who only told jokes about women drivers.

I don't know how long it will take for us (the U.S., anyway) to achieve full (or sufficient) gender equality.  Obviously, we're not doing that well with racial equality or sexual equality (same sex). 

I'm not saying there aren't things worth complaining about.

Let me put it this way:  I once performed in this great country band.  Oh, man, were they talented people.  I wasn't personally that woo-hoo about country music, but it was a joy to perform with such (musically) professional people and the money was pretty good, too.   BUT….two of the women in the band were married to guys that…shall we say…were a little lower on the evolutionary tree of Life.  I met these guys.  They were rather Neanderthal.  But when the band would go out to do a gig and break time rolled around, and you just wanted to unwind for 15 minutes and have a drink….what did I have to listen to?  "My husband this….my husband that….men….men…men…"   And I just had to walk outside to get away from it.  Normally, with a band that tight you'd want to hang with your comrades on break time, but sweet Jesus…..I couldn't take the pissing and moaning.  And I'm not saying that these women didn't have something to cry about, but it just got old.  They were like the guy I worked with who could only talk about hunting.

So, I'm not anti-feminist.  No way.  No how.  I just tend to get a little sunburned now and then from some of the feminist heat.

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