And If You Did Know?

In Memory of Sharon Michele McAvoy Nichols .:. December 24, 1949 – October 10, 2005

October 29, 2003


Filed under: her words — mark @ 1:53 pm

Today I went to some sites under the name Feminism. I was surprised to find so many. I went into a few of them. One was interesting in that it seemed to say at the outset that it was about feminism. But as I read the piece it seemed to be saying that feminism is a very bad thing and that feminists are responsible for much of what is wrong with society today. Some on the information presented was interesting in that it compared feudal society to capitalism. In talking about feudalism the author spoke of how the owner of the slaves under him was responsible for them. He was supposed to take care of them when they could not produce. The author said that under capitalism the care of the family was the responsiblity of the father and mother. That left the coporation free to pursue profit. The author also spoke of feminists trying to equalize society. One of the outcomes of this was the “de” masculinization of the military. The author also spoke of fire fighters being made to take females into their ranks and in doing so having the find ways to make up for the lack of upper body strength needed to deal with the job. The most curious piece for me was that the author spoke of female headed families creating more violent males. The author spoke of drive by shootings and streets gangs as being the result of female lead families. I was taken aback by this observation. My questions are how have female lead families created street gangs? I would also ask how gangs have been created before the feminist movement—you know such gangs as the Crusaders, the Inquisitionist, the Monguls, the Taliban, the Washington gang. I think trying to answer complex problems with easy answers is the problem.

I think of myself as a feminist. I also think of myself as a humanist. I joined the Tampa chapter of NOW in the late 80’s because I wanted to explore my feminist side. I found some personal answers as a result of being on the board of that organization. I also found some rhetoric to be just that, rhetoric. I do not blame men for my situation as a woman. I found a number of other women within the movement felt the same way. I am always amazed at the number of people who talk of feminists as a group with one ideology and one mind set. What I found within the group was diversity. Just as with any set of people. I found my own feminity within the organization because that is why I joined. I suggest that anyone, famale or male, who want to find that part of them could by joining and keeping an open mind and heart.

This type of thinking is what is behind all prejudice. If I can look at you and minimize you and make you the enemy then I do not have to look at myself. There are many ways in which this is done. One of the most common is to see anyone else as the “other”. Once we can see the person or group as the “other” then we can start to blame them. One of the problems I had with my chapter of NOW was that it had no males. That made it easier to make them the “other”. I think we can only work past our own prejudices by confronting them. The best way to do that is to be honest about what we think and feel, especially to ourselves. One of the best ways to do this is to gain actual knowledge of the “other”. I have spent time trying to understand my feelings about men. I was raised by a violent and selfish man. My brother sided with him very early and I felt abandoned by men. So I did not trust men when I got out into society. I had a lot of work to do to separate my fears about men with actual knowledge about what was male and what was myth. I found out that men are not my enemy. That I am the only true enemy of me. Especially when I do not understand me. I do understand that there are realities about society and that I can be seen by others in ways that are not true. I have found that this is not about me. So if a man sees me as being bad or not enough, that is about him and not me. This is true about the way anyone sees me. I think the best thing I can do as a woman is to be confident and know that the only opinion that counts is mine. I do attribute some of this confidence with my being with NOW. I also attribute some of it to being with a truly wonderful man who is not at all interested in my being subservient. But I want to thank me for not believing what others said above what I thought.