This topic deserves a longer look than I’ve given it and perhaps one day it will. I don’t have enough time and energy right now to do it justice, but I wanted to get it down while this particular incident was fresh in my mind.
My son is a feminist. His wife said so and having had the chance to observe him closely for the past ten years would have made her an expert on the subject. M doesn’t talk the talk or lobby for the sisterhood but he walks the walk every single day. He treats his wife with love and women with respect. When B wanted to change career paths and study, M changed his work schedule to care for their children. It’s been a while since she was a student so she had doubts. M convinced her that she could do it; that he had faith in her. M cooks and cleans when B can’t and she takes turns when he is busy. I never seem to stop marvelling at it, but it’s true that in every sense of the word, my son and his wife are partners.
M sounds like a paragon of virtue doesn’t he? He’s not. Being human like the rest of us, M has his faults (just as B has hers). I’m not dwelling on them here. I’m only mentioning it because M recently lost his cool with a female friend. She was critical of her husband’s ability to find something, He had given it a ‘Man look’ she said. It was obvious to M that she was not only stereotyping all men, but doing it in his presence and in his home. M called her out on it, politely but firmly.
Having heard worse from work colleagues and female friends, he wasn’t sure what had come over him or why he had decided that now was the time to take some sort of stand. M sees disrespect towards his sex daily, whether it’s in television advertisements, or from female commentators or worse still from male apologists. Women are fiercely protective of their rights as they should be, but it seems to M that men are fair game and expected to take criticism lying down.
M has sons now. It makes things difficult. He has decided that he can no longer ignore what seems to have become the norm in our society, at least not in his own life. His little boys use their parents as role models, which means that they will get a solid grounding that will hopefully serve them for life, but how are they going to cope once they are out in the wider world?. After much thinking and consultation M has decided that he’s not a feminist, just the best human being he can be. That’s how he was raised and that’s all that can be expected of him when he raises his own children.