I have several half-written posts. Can’t seem to focus and am being overly self-critical over what I choose to write. It’s as if I am expecting only great prose consistent with my history of keeping it short, writing clearly without repetition, culling my adjectives with literary precision, mixing my rhythms, ditching modifiers, letting the verbs do their magic, and throwing in some unexpected words to shock you into greater understanding. AS IF!!
That’s never described my writing style, so why start now?
One topic that’s been rattling around in my mind quite a bit lately is feminism. And with recent events in the US, I’ve realized my views about it are deeper than I once thought. I’ve posted about this before and will try not to repeat myself. If you want to understand how a submissive woman who apparently has surrendered to the patriarchy rationalizes the feeling that she is a feminist, read that prior post. This post takes a different angle to what feminism means to me.
MORE THAN FEMINIST… A HUMANIST
I consider myself a feminist with a little “f”, not Feminist in regards to what the word represents to most people. To me, feminism is a part of humanism, and I consider myself a Humanist (capital “H” for sure).
Humanism encompasses gender, race, and all other criteria society uses to identify and separate people. It accepts that such identifiers can be helpful for statisticians or community psychologists to understand and quantify certain things, but it does not accept those labels as assigning values as to the level of goodness or purpose a person has.
WE ARE ONE, BUT NOT THE SAME
Feminism, as a movement, has the noble goal of equality; however, for too many people the term “equality” gets interpreted as “sameness.” And to me, it is not about equality. It’s about equity and fairness, not equality and sameness. There’s a major difference between those as I covered in this post.
I don’t know any woman that wants to be the same as men, but plenty that what equity and fairness.
We should never strive for sameness. Not because one gender is different from another, or a particular race is different from another, or people with certain sexual preferences are different from those with other preferences, or that people with or without certain religious beliefs are different, or people from certain parts of the world or regions within a country are different. We shouldn’t strive for sameness because WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS. We are different. I am not the same as everyone who shares my gender, race, sexual preferences, beliefs, or geographic location.
There is a sameness that unites us all. Where we are the same is that we are humans. Humanism is about not defining ourselves and not defining others by categories of gender, race, religion, geography, sexual preferences, you name it. It is about defining ourselves by how we treat others and define them by how they treat us and others. It’s about how we interact with others and how we make others feel and how they make us feel. It’s by the equity and fairness, both in how we treat others and how we expect others to treat us and everyone else. If we must categorize people, categorize them by “healthy or toxic,” nothing more.
I think that has been the secret sauce to my happiness. I have filtered out any toxic people and any toxic thoughts. I surrounded myself with people who are healthy for me and I focus on the things that fulfill me and give me purpose. I have found equity and fairness in my marriage and in my dealings with friends and family.
Advocating for the right of women to achieve equity and fairness is a no brainer. It’s simply being humane. That’s what feminism means to me . And if that equity and fairness comes from leading, working, or doing anything considered “man’s domain,” or comes from submitting, serving, or doing anything considered “traditional” woman’s roles, or anything in-between, that’s fine by me. It’s not for us to define what others should find equitable and fair for their lives — but it is up to society to ensure everyone has access to what is equitable and fair for them.
I was going to end the post here, but recent events prompted me to dig a little deeper into my thoughts about this. As I previously stated, it is more than something I believe about women. I believe it is a right everyone deserves. Regardless which label a person fits into regarding their gender, race, religion, region, or sexual desires, the only constraints anyone should have in their pursuit of equity and fairness is that the things they do should not infringe on the equity and fairness of others. And that is where my ideal hits a wall.
Too many people feel an “affront to their sensibilities” is the same as as loss of equity or fairness. They equate their disdain for someone based on their gender, race, faith (or lack thereof), sexual preferences, or place they are from the same way others might look at someone who endangers their physical well being. Such people may even go so far as to accept an immoral and corrupt leader just so long as that leader allows them to act on their disdain for those they label “others.” They may even go so far as tolerate the murder of man as collateral damage towards protecting their sensibilities, protecting their status quo.
They feel harmed by someone kneeling in reverence as a solemn reminder of injustice, but not kneeling to subdue, oppress, and kill, because at least the latter is consistent with their sensibilities.
They feel harmed when someone in need is given help, unless they are the one in need. They feel harmed when others demand fair wages for their work. They feel harmed when someone makes a choice about their life that is inconsistent with choices they would make for themselves. They feel harmed with other demand equity and fairness.
They have a mindset that THEY are the victim. The victim of having to live with anyone or anything that is different from them.
And the irony is, these “victims” are quick to become the victimizer, as forcing their mindset on others is the only thing that gives them purpose. And the more they victimize the more their victims cry for justice. And the louder those demands for justice, the more harmed the victimizer feels. These are the people who should receive the full force of societies disdain. Not a gender, not a race or religious belief, not a geography or sexual orientation – but a mindset that hurts everyone, physically and economically and the mindset that denies equity and fairness to others.
Yes, we will find that people who have that mindset tend to skew towards a certain gender, race, religion, etc., but to define them by those terms is to do to them what they are doing to everyone else. I may poke fun at white, male, reichwinger, closeted-gay Southerners clutching their guns like a two year old’s favorite teddy bear, but like all stereotypes, the semblance to the truth is tenuous. Let’s call those with this mindset by how they treat others and not by their gender, race, or other identifiers. They are cancers, they are inhumane, they are immoral, they are evil, they are unAmerican, and they are assholes. And we need to stop putting them in positions of power because empowering them allows their mindset to spread.
And once these assholes have usurped democratic institutions such as free and fair elections, we are no longer represented by the views of society at large, but by a group of assholes who represent a cancerous minority view. And in all human history, minority rule can continue only by fraud and force, and such rule has NEVER ended well. If the voice of the ballot box is voided by the assholes, what voice does the majority have left?
The scarier proposition is that what’s going on today is nothing like what we are facing come November. Whether the assholes win or lose, it will be bad. And win or lose, we can only hope police, Justice Department, military, and the courts will side with the Constitution – but don’t be so sure that they will. Those institutions have been stacked with assholes. Sadly, even our camo-wearing military leadership.
IT’S NOT ENOUGH
It’s no longer enough to not be a racist, we must be anti-racist. It’s no longer enough to not be a fascist, we must be anti-facist. It’s not enough to not be an asshole. We must be anti-assholes.
It’s not enough to just blog about this. I am doing what I can within my power and ability to support organizations that facilitate and demand change. And more than that, to challenge and call out those that do not. This isn’t a political blog, so I don’t intend on sharing specifics or which organizations I think fall into each category.
This post was intended to pound home my ideas about feminism, which are linked to ideas about equity and fairness, which are linked to current events. Through equity and fairness we can bring about a better neighborhood, a better community, a better country, and a better world.
That’s what feminism means to me. That’s what humanism means to me.