Feminism for Men

I’ve noticed a theme since my last post.  I went to a talk at my job about feminism.  I had a troll on the internet try to tell me it was women’s fault they are where they are.  He was unpleasant.  I read several news articles which reaffirmed my beliefs.  It’s been a week or so of confirmation of the need for feminism.

I’ve been a fervent feminist most of my life.  I’ve even been accused of not liking men.  This isn’t true.  I have high expectations of men.  I think they should be strong enough to support their women.

Honestly, I’ve been very lucky in the men in my life.  My father was very progressive – especially for a man born in the 20s – and encouraged all of us to go out and do what we wanted to.  My husband is usually very sensitive to the issues of women.

Because I’ve had these amazing men in my life, they’ve set a high standard for my expectations of how men should be.  Now neither of them is perfect but they set the bar high for others.

It doesn’t make men less to support women, to be their cheerleader, to help them be the best they can be.  It does make them love and appreciate you more.  It does increase the amount of respect women have for men.

With three daughters, it was important to me they have a good example of how a man should treat a woman.  When I chose Ken, I made a great decision.  He’s been an excellent role model.

So I say to all the men – the mothers of boys – to the other 49% of our population.  It’s time for you to step up and be a man.  Be a real man who can cry when he’s sad, laugh when he’s happy, and treat his women as they deserve to be treated – with love and respect.

Here’s a secret for all the men – if you manage to do this, you will have a better and stronger relationship with your woman and partner.

Is Feminism Still Needed?

Someone once told me feminism was no longer needed.  This was a woman who was younger.  My answer to her is look at our society and you will see the answer.

A gymnast in her excitement of winning a gold medal forgot to put her hand over her heart – she got blasted.  An Olympic man lied about being mugged and he got a boys will be boys attitude.

Women are raped which has lifelong effects on her life.  The rapists get off – with the same boys will be boys attitude.  The most recent one I read was the judge didn’t want the rapist to miss out on the college experience.

In the last week, I saw an ad for a University which showed mostly men (yes mostly white men) in their ad with an occasional woman or two who were onscreen for very little time (minority males got more time than the women).

Women still make 70 – 80% of what men make.  There are double standards galore in our society when it comes to gender roles.

My answer is – we need feminism now more than ever.  We need EVERYONE who is willing to stand up and say – this is WRONG – to do so.

If women in one of the allegedly free countries are still treated like second class citizens, how can we expect other countries to do more than we do?  How do we make a difference in the world society if we don’t resolve the problems we have in our own society?  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t survive long in the countries where women are supposed to be covered and silent.  I’d rather be a woman in the United States or most European countries than a woman in almost any middle eastern country.

When women are partners and equals, society is evolved.  When the crimes against women are taken seriously, it affirms we are equals.  When they aren’t, it proves we still need feminism.

Domestic Abuse is a Serious Crime

While driving home last night after a long day, I spoke with my middle daughter.  She told me about one of her co-workers.  This woman was abused by her boyfriend resulting in him being arrested and put in jail. 

She has left him, taking her three sons with her.  They went through a trial.  Even though the man has a long history of domestic abuse the only reason the judge put him in jail was because she wrote a letter.  She has a no-contact order. 

Now he is in jail.  However, she gets “love” notes from him.  The police aren’t taking them seriously.  She says this is how he used to talk to her when he beat her.  She wants the police to put a stop to it, you would think no contact means no freaking contact but apparently if you talk nice in your contact it is okay. 

I was irate, disappointed, and disgusted by the response.  Now I heard this third hand so I could be wrong but I want to call the police department in her town and say “What the F**K?” 

I talked about this in a private message to a friend on facebook – she said when her first husband beat her – back before women’s shelters and such – the police gave her a pamphlet on how to be a better wife. 

I think my head exploded.  Is it any wonder women wanting to get married is on the decline?  I know there are good men in the world.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have relationships with several of them from my father, husband, brothers-in-law and co-workers.  If I tell this story to them, they will be as appalled as I am. 

My question is – when does the rest of the world get it?  When do we stop blaming the victim?  When do we make it known that hitting someone else – loved one or not – is WRONG.  In the case of my daughter’s friend – her boyfriend has threatened to kill her and her three kids.  If the police do nothing to stop the “good” contact when there is a NO freaking contact order, what happens when he gets out of jail and can lay hands on her and her sons. 

It is time for women to say NO MORE.  No more rape, no more abuse, no more crap from anyone.  Stop worrying about being called a bitch and stand up for yourself and for other women.  We need to get tougher on crimes against women and stop with the attitude that boys will be boys.  Boys are supposed to grow up to be men and men – real men – don’t do this crap.

I don’t hate men.  I know there are going to be some out there who say – she’s a man hater.  I good man – like a good woman – is a gem.  I have one.  I know.  He’s never raised his hand to me.  He stands with me, supports me, and loves me.  He’s a real man and the best kind.  It’s time we taught our boys to be men – real men who respect and honor the women in their lives. 

Rape is Rape

In Montana, a teacher ended up having to serve 30 days for raping one of his 14 year old students.  Here is a link to the story:  http://www.politicususa.com/2013/08/28/judge-rapist-30-days-14-year-older-chronological-age.html

The reason given is ridiculous.  The girl acted older than her age.  It doesn’t matter how she acts.  The fact is she was 14 and as her teacher the man knew she was 14.  I don’t care if she danced naked down the hallway – he should have kept all his body parts to himself. 

Sadly the girl killed herself during the process of prosecuting the man.  I feel he should be charged with murder because his actions led to her death.  I know this is harsh but is it wrong? 

Typically, men like this pray on the same type of person.  If there are other victims out there, my guess would be that they won’t come forward.  What would be the point?  Frankly it amazes me that any woman reports a rape because once it is reported she is typically raped again by the system.  There are almost always accusations of whether she asked for it. 

Rape is not sex.  It is about power and control over someone who is physically weaker than the attacker.  How a female is dressed should not provoke an attack.  No means NO.  Drunk, drugged, or impaired means NO. 

We are supposed to be an advanced and enlightened culture.  Unfortunately, we still live in a society where half the population has to be afraid of the other half.  Women still fight for control of their own bodies and access to birth control.  Why? 

Women’s Value

Vicki is a news junky.  Because she is a news junky I hear all sorts of stories that are good, bad, funny, and tragic.  The three articles I talk about in here have provoked me. 

India has had at least two severe gang rapes in the last month.  Both women were taken hostage on a bus.  The first woman it happened to was a month ago and she died from the damage they did.  She lost 90% of her intestines because one of her murders thought it was great fun to shove a pipe up into her and pull them out.  The second woman was held hostage by six men and returned to her home the next day. 

There are other stories like the 15 year old girl in Pakistan (I think) who was “married” to an older man (50s I think).  She ran away from her alleged husband and back to her family because he abused her. 

I’m sure if I were to look there would be more stories like this and not just in foreign countries.  Our global society has put women into a precarious situation.  We are supposed to be virginal unless we are married.  Then we are supposed to be a sex kitten.  We are supposed to be perfect housekeepers, mothers, and career oriented.  No matter how good we are though, society deems us second class citizens. 

I’m not male bashing here.  I love real men.  You know they guys who can clean up after their sick kids, love you when you look like shit, cry with you, laugh with you – real men.  Real men are as offended and outraged by these acts as women are. 

Somehow in our global society men (not all and certainly not the real ones I talk about above) have devalued women.  If a woman is raped – well it is her fault in some way – she had to be wearing something to provoke the attack or she was drunk or she just was.  In no other crime is the victim blamed for what happened. 

All of these excuses that are put out there by the uninformed people should offend men.  Essentially society is saying men can’t control themselves.  All it takes is the sight of a woman to provoke him into uncontrollable violence. 

In the case in India where the rape occurred a month ago, the men were complaining about the abuse they got from the police.  The reasonable person in me says two wrongs don’t make a right and their abuse of him doesn’t help the case go through the courts.  The outraged woman in me says Karma is a bitch. 

Somehow we have to put a stop to the devaluing of women.  I’ve asked before but write your representatives on the state and federal level.  Ask them how they are supporting women’s rights.  Stand up with other women to show we can be a united force and that we won’t accept this type of behavior from anyone.  Speak out against criticism of the way a woman is dressed, behaving, and so on.  Respect yourself and teach your children to respect people.  Our boys need to learn this just as much as our girls do. 

Book Publishers Beware!

Governor Walker just repealed the Equal Pay Act.  This is criminal in my eyes.  Women already don’t make the same as men.  The excuses I hear for women earning less is that they are more likely to take time off for having babies.  My answer to that is who do you think put the baby there?  Another one is that women take more time off to care for children.  My answer to that is maybe men should step up then.  We have to carry the kid can’t men step up and do more of the day care. 

I’ll add a note here to all those fathers / uncles and other males who have stepped up to the plate and done what you should, these comments are not directed at you.  They are directed at the outdated and chauvinistic norms that women are held to now.

Recently I read an article about gender bias in the publishing arena – I am taking classes in this field so it only makes sense.  “Vida, an American organization supporting women in literary arts, has compiled statistics on the gender split in books coverage at publications including the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the New Yorker, and the New York Times Book Review, each of which showed a substantial bias towards using male reviewers and covering male authors.”  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/mar/02/gender-bias-books-journalism-vida?INTCMP=SRCH

In most cases only about a third of the books or reviews were done by women.  I’d have no problem with this if women only made up a third of the offerings but they don’t.

Is publishing stuck in another era?  I’m beginning to think it might be.  I’ve been reading articles about lending ebooks, self publishing etc.  I’ve read naysayers proclaiming the move to electronic books will kill publishing.  I say publishing is going to kill themselves if they don’t move forward.  To me these seem to be symptoms of the same problem.  Publishers and publishing companies are not changing with the changes in the market, those offering product, and those buying product.

If the companies did move with the times they could embrace new technology as well as please the largest group of buyers (which by the way are women). 

The feminist in me rails against the injustice of the publishing industry being so backwards.  The realist in me just wants to work harder to be published and write reviews.  Perhaps I should use a less feminine name to write under.  Or better yet the publishing companies and reviewing papers should come into the 21stcentury and let the women have a voice too. 

More than this though, the publishing industry needs to get behind women and women’s issues in order to keep their audience.  Money is tight during these economic times that means people are being very selective about where their money goes.  Women are choosing how to spend their money.  If they can’t get ebooks or only hear a man’s opinion of a book they might be less likely to purchase books in any format. 

Publishers and other industry insiders should be standing up with women and fighting against actions like Walker’s.  They should also be cultivating good female reviewers.  Newspapers and other review publications should be encouraging more women to write reviews.  This will increase readership and level the playing field for all.  It is past time to embrace the changes in the industry and in our society.  It is time to come into the 21stcentury and recognize who your customers are and treat them better than you have been.