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It’s Saturday. I don’t want to be worked up about anything. Saturdays for me mean getting up early and driving my son to band practice, then making up for it by doing nothing and taking naps. It is not a day to think too hard or do too much.
But early this morning I read this, and I’ve been worked up ever since.
This woman does not understand feminism, clearly. But we could argue about that word, “feminism,” for days and still not all agree on what it means. So let’s instead just focus on what the author says.
I am raising them to treat the women in their lives like princesses.
OK. That’s great if your sons find themselves in relationships with women who actually want to be treated like princesses. Personally I’m trying to teach my son to treat women like individuals, with individual needs. But whatever. Princess works, as long as your sons limit their dating pool to the line outside of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disney World.
I want my boys to be chivalrous, to open doors and carry heavy loads, to ask a girl out on a date and pay the bill without expecting anything in return.
I want my son to do those things too. If the woman he’s dating wants him to. And really, who doesn’t want to have a door held open for them? (People with weird issues, that’s who.) But none of those things run counter to feminism. In fact they have nothing to do with feminism. That’s just being polite.
But here’s where it gets sticky: when you do those things in a way that makes a woman feel like she can’t open a door. Or when you fault her for not having the physiology to carry heavy things. Or when you pay for things because you’re fine with a woman making 77 cents for every dollar you make because you’ll take care of her.
Incidentally, I hope the author’s also teaching her sons that if a woman asks one of them out, it’s not because she’s trying to be a man or trying to make him feel like less of a man. It’s because she likes him and wants to go out.
I am encouraging my sons to tell girls when they think those girls look beautiful.
Context is everything. I hope the author is also teaching them that there’s a huge difference between telling someone you know and are close to that she is beautiful, and yelling it at a woman passing by you on the street. Which brings me to…
#YesAllWomen wants my boys to know that the fact they have a penis makes them a threat. They cite the statistic that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted, but seem to ignore that they are sending the message to little girls to assume 100% of all men are rapists.
This is where I pretty much lost it with this post. That may be what the author heard from #YesAllWomen after filtering it through layers of “stop blaming my precious boys for all of the world’s problems!” but what I get from that movement is that while you may be a perfectly nice, I’m-looking-for-a-princess-to-take-care-of-and-follow-around-carrying-heavy-things kind of guy, I can’t tell at a glance whether you are nice, or a serial rapist.
And since I can’t physically defend myself against most men, that’s a very important point that the nice guys need to understand. The dangerous assholes among you are ruining it for the nice guys, but instead of getting angry at women for not wanting to get hassled and attacked, how about you turn that anger towards the guys who are ruining things for you?
I support fairness for everyone, but as long as being feminist means suppressing masculinity, it cannot possibly be called a “quest for equality.”
This is a quality that the author is projecting onto the feminist movement. If respecting women, agreeing that they deserve the same opportunities as men, and recognizing that women are put into vulnerable positions through no fault of their own somehow suppresses masculinity, then the man feeling suppressed needs to examine why he feels threatened by women wanting to feel safe, valued, and equal to men.
I say all of this as a woman who stayed home with her children, is most definitely not the breadwinner in the household, who does the vast majority of the housework and child care, and who loves being treated like a princess. My husband and I have learned over the decades how to treat one another, and how to divvy up our different roles as parents and partners. But that wouldn’t have happened if we had each gone into the relationship assuming that I needed to be treated one way because I’m a woman and he needs to act a certain way because he’s a man.