My girlfriend in college was a strong woman. She let me know when I was objectifying her, or when my masculine naivety became too much. I was lucky for her experience. The man I became, after knowing her, was less domineering, and more willing to listen. I’m still a stubborn ass, but I know how to treat a woman like a human being. I’ve worked my ass off for that. Some women don’t like a man who knows how to treat a woman; I won’t spend any time talking about them, here.
We’ve all been discriminated against. You all have. If you’re rolling your eyes, you need to work on your compassion.
Once, I asked for help getting a job (a letter) from a female professor, and she made it clear that her help was much better given to a female student, never explaining why my background or credentials were less potent. This sort of dismissal has happened before, at colleges I attended or worked at, in line at the DOT, vying for a parking spot, applying for office jobs, etc. But, I’m not going to pretend that racism/sexism doesn’t go both ways. I know. I’m at fault, too. My strength is that I try to see through it, and let go of it. My time is better spent finding a way to treat everyone as equals, rather than trying to find a way to bash the other sex or race. This bashing can be backhanded, passive-aggressive, or up-front. This is a problem.
Sometimes it seems like the eyes are off the prize, when it comes to women’s issues. I am sympathetic, until the feminism turns to man-hating. Sometimes I feel like I’m punished because I have pendulous genitalia, or a beard. I can understand why. Forever, men have sat in the high-chair and told everyone what to do. In the last hundred years, women have grabbed back some of the power/importance they deserve, and there’s a lot more work to be done. Women can’t do it on their own; men need to look back, and recognize the past. Men need to let go of some of it. Men need to know they can still be masculine without being misogynist pieces of filth. Stop.
I am going to say something many men will disagree with, be startled by, or simply dismiss: Men think women owe them something more than they’ve already received. Men are wounded by women, or so they think. Men bury their emotions, for months, years, forever. This is a problem. Couple buried-male-emotion with an already dominant psyche, and you get the last thousand years. You get history as it is. All men.
Men are wounded as women are wounded, but men bury the pain. Some of them never return to it- never learn about it, never find a way around it, or out of it. They harbor it. It makes them who they are. They find a way to be gentlemen and go on with their lives. But, the problem is, they don’t. Burying it makes it worse.
In grade-school kickball, I picked the fat boy over the athletic girl, last. When I worked at Subway in the 90s, I didn’t like being bossed around by my female boss, but when the male boss bossed me around, I didn’t mind. Now, I’m editor of a magazine, and I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times I had two final submissions – one by a male, and one by a woman. My choice was simple: choose the male. Why? Because something buried inside me said What did she ever do for me? How dare she? The man must have worked harder! Luckily, I am able to catch myself before this inherent ignorance takes over, and I’m proud to say Pigeon Town boasts a good balance of female and male writers/photographers. Don’t let me muddy my point in phallocentric egotism, though: men are unable to relinquish much of their working/playing lives to women. It’s sad. It needs to change.
I want women to be better represented, in everything, and that means 50%. No less and no more. Women should have more seats in the House, should be President, should be half-in-charge of everything. I’m tired of men being in charge of everything. There’s a reason for two sexes. It’s time we all agree on that.
I have a lot more to say on this. I look forward extending this, and perhaps creating a dialogue.