I am coming out of the blogista closet to declare,"I am not a feminist." But before you hate, let me explain. I do not disagree with those who are, I just would never call myself one. In fact, this post is about Masculists, and I'm not talking about what has been defined on the internet. For instance, a masculist is not an anti-feminist. On the contrary, masculinity and femininity are two sides of the Venn diagram. We all live together. My concern has to do with the overlap and it's equality. There is no real male equivalent for feminist. There are conservative groups who fight feminism, but I'm not about fighting, I'm about responding.
I do not feel like a victim. Sure shit has happened to me. Fucked up shit even and yet I would never call myself a victim. I do not blame men as a whole, either. Regardless of what has happened to me in my past, by men, by women, by whomever, I love men. I do. I respect men and wish them equal opportunity as women. I believe that my generation of men is not "liberated." I watched most of the boys in my graduating class do nothing while the women went to Law School: Lost boys. So many of them and I believe this is a NEW phenomenon. Women are empowered, strong, demanding equal opportunities, fighting for their rights!
I grew up with boys who never grew up. I have lived with men, lost... Some would call them "losers" but fuck it, if women are or were ever "victims of the times" then so are many men today. (Why is it that their sisters were a success while they looked at themselves as failures?) Perhaps this is all coincidence, a southern Californian phenomenon where the boys' goals are to surf or skateboard and deliver pizzas, and the girls see no limitations on their future. I grew up thinking I could do anything. I was in control. I had the power. It's called confidence and I had it in spades growing up but until I moved out on my own did I meet a man who had it too.
I am not afraid of men. I do not think men are the problem. I could call women cruel and vindictive creatures because I have known cruel and vindictive women and just as men have disrespected me, hurt me, fucked me up in some way or another, so have women. When I found out I was pregnant I wanted a son and I would like to have four more. And if I do, I hope I can teach them to stand tall because the more I meet men my age, men who cannot look a woman in the eye, wannabe Peter Pans with their "I will never grow up. I want to be a little boy forever!" talk, I am afraid for my son, coughing in the exhaust of the so-called feminist revolution where double standards are overlooked and women's rights seem to have less and less regard for men's.
Recently I had lunch with a friend and self-proclaimed feminist. In one breath she talked about wearing a low-cut shirt to a job interview, knowing it would help her land the job. Minutes later she spoke of the waiter looking down her blouse "What an asshole!" Equal rights for women? Totally agree. Demanding equal pay and then waiting for the man to spot the bill every night? Totally disagree. Equal means equal. There is a double standard and it's getting worse. And worse. Remember that little show Sex in the City? Funny show about "Manizers." Rich women seeking rich men to "take care of them." A modern twist on the classic tale. Old-fashioned stereotypes in a modern western-world everywhere you look.
The "Boys are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them" phenomenon is a perfect example. If someone wrote a book, and was selling pajamas and shirts and posters that said: "Girls are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them," shit would fly. The artist would be stoned. There would be marches and protests and rallies... It would be a serious offense. So what the fuck? Tell me how THAT is fair? How do I explain all this to my son when we pass the poster at the mall? "Well, because you are a boy, it's okay for girls to think you are stupid."
How would you explain that to your daughters?
Where does that leave men? Under a lot of pressure, threatened perhaps, not by women themselves but by the cultural changes in the climate. Global warming?
Women have always had the power, and although our voices may have been silenced, we spoke anyway, as muses, and revolutionaries. Sexual power, cultural power, financial power and suddenly men become utilitarian. "Men, who needs them?" We do. We are closing in on electing a women candidate for president. We have come a long way, people. It made sense yesterday to fight, but today? What about tomorrow?
The Lost boys of Never-Never Land are very real. Just like the strong, empowered women who raised their voices and stood tall. I am a mother of a son and like many of you with daughters I plan to raise him strong and empowered because I truly think for the first time in history the pendulum is swinging the other way.
Mary Walstonecraft Shelley had a point, in fact she had many and I adored, "A Vindication of the Rights of Women" And if we were living in the 19th Century, I would fight and bleed for women's rights but it's the Twenty-first Century now. There is a bigger picture here, one that includes men as well, and as the mother of a son, I am concerned.