Persons of Interest
Old bumpersticker, Feminism is the radical belief that women are people.
I always liked that bumpersticker, but I thought that, like all good satire, it was hyperbole. Until the events of the last few weeks, I didn’t think that “women are people” was a very controversial idea. But apparently I was wrong.
I am a what feminists call a “woman-identified man.” I am a male feminist. (I am also a recovering sexist, like every other male. My wife and daughters will tell you that I am a work in progress. But I do work at it.) I grew up in a family of strong women. My late mother very mildly identified with the Second Wave feminist movement of the late ’60s and ’70s. I say “mildly” because, while earlier in her life she had been a bit player in the Civil Rights movement, Mom never marched with NOW, much less burned any bras. But she voted for the Equal Rights Amendment and refused to vote for any politicians who were against it. As a divorcee with 4 kids (she later remarried my wonderful adopted father, Lynsey White), she worked 2 jobs and had to put up with tons of crap. She raised my sisters to be strong, independent, women. She must have influenced me to rise above the sexism of my context, too, because for 21 years, now, I have been married to an ordained Baptist minister and the oldest of our 2 daughters is named after the feminist theologian who introduced us. Our family belongs to a church with a woman pastor (not my wife) and a diaconate body with more women than men in it. My daughters have grown up in a context in which the equality of the sexes was assumed. My biggest worry, sometimes, was that they wouldn’t realize the obstacles they would still have to face. Well, I no longer have THAT worry.
What’s next? An attempt to repeal women’s voting rights? Adopting the Saudi laws that prevent women from driving? Going back to the days when women couldn’t own property in their own names–or lost control of that property if they married? Will these “sex-is-only-for-procreation” types ban marriage between post-menopausal couples? Will these “fear-the-female-orgasm” types decide to bring Female Genital Mutilation (clitorectomies) to the U.S.? Just how far will they go?
This is a war on women and women’s health–and a denial of women’s personhood. It denies moral agency to women–men have to make their reproductive and health choices for them. Well, not this man. I stand with my late mother, my wife, my sisters, my pastor, my daughters. They are not “sluts,” Rush. They are not “bitches,” Newt. They are not “witches.” They are strong, free women. And when they march on your little minds, I will be right there beside them.
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