gender bender

all this business about there being ‘no need for international women’s day’ is a bunch of claptrap if you ask me.  what’s most interesting is the sort of people peddling such nonsense.  it is often men, particularly in a financially secure position, that assume all is well on the planet with all the humans.  they figure we’ve already won our rights, so what’s all the complaining about?

i guess what annoys me most is a man telling me that everything is fine for women.  i have been told things like i have ‘every opportunity that a man does’ and that ‘rape doesn’t hurt women’.  among a range of other, sometimes disgusting, examples.  how can someone tell me what opportunities i have had?  how would they know?  very few people in my life have stayed alongside me for the long haul and could really have any way of accurately commenting on my opportunities.

i guess it comes back to that walking a mile in someone else’s shoes idea.  we shouldn’t comment on how great, or terrible, things are for others without knowing all the facts.

caitlin moran taught me a very simple test for whether or not one is a feminist from her book, ‘how to be a woman’.  two very easy questions to answer:

1.  do you have a vagina?
2.  do you want to be in charge of it?

if the answer to both questions is ‘yes’ then you’re a feminist.

now this isn’t about guy bashing by any means.  i have a number of amazing male friends and colleagues that have admirable behaviour; both in the manner in which they treat women and how they behave as humans.  my husband is one.  just today i received an email from a life long male friend that has inspired me to think about a number of things.  some of my male colleagues inspire me to be better at my job and a better person.

it must be clear that feminism does not mean hatred of men.  misandry is the word for that.  feminism is about equal rights for women.  it is a far cry away in places like nigeria where most girls will be married before age 15.  the word ‘marriage’ implies consent and i’m not sure i know any 15 year olds that would want to be married by then, at least not the ones i teach.  it is an issue in westernised countries that still have men earning more money for equal work.  it is an issue in countries where female genital mutilation is the norm, most of these places are heavily christian, and not muslim, just to be clear.  it is an issue when women are doing the lion’s share of chores around the house and working full time.  it comes in a number of forms and will exist as long as people allow it to exist.

so, what i propose is that we celebrate good humans no matter their gender.  there are amazing men and women out there that deserve our respect and should act as reminders to us all as to how we should behave and treat others.  at the same time we must stand up for ourselves where appropriate.  if only people would be nicer to each other, the world would be a much better place.

please check out and  these are organisations doing good things to promote better ideas and better behaviour.

something else i’ve been thinking about and will come along in a later post is the questions of when people become responsible for their own behaviour.  something to think on.


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