So…about those “good men”…

I wasn’t expecting much from yesterday’s post about the Good Men Project.  It certainly got a lot of attention, though.  It appears that this is a pretty important issue for so many people.  Thank you all for your comments, emails, tweets, and follows.  I’m so glad that I was able to write about this.

This morning, a friend posted this comment on Facebook (and I hope he doesn’t mind that I’m shamelessly stealing it for my blog):

“Newsies”. Such a great movie with a great message. Shows that when you put a large number of small voices together, the message rings louder and clearer than one giant voice.

Yes, my friend, you are right.  We don’t need one voice—or even a few individual voices, all in our separate spaces—to make a difference.  We need all of us, all the time, making it clear what we expect.

It pains me to read some of the garbage on Good Men Project’s web site.  But it pains me just as much when I see women who think we need to depend on male feminists/allies to make change.  What we need, first and foremost, is each other.  We make up half the population.  How is it that we have failed to put our collective voices together to demand what men have without question?  And what can we do to remedy that?

We women have made incredible progress in the last century.  To think that my great-grandmother was among the first women with the right to vote is mind-boggling.  Was it really so recently that we couldn’t participate in electing those who represent us?  We’ve made strides in so many areas.  That is something to celebrate.

Yet at the same time, we still have so far to go.  We still have so many places where our leadership isn’t welcome.  What I wouldn’t give to replace last night’s Presidential candidates with two wise, articulate women!  I can think of at least ten women on each side of the political divide, as well as a number of women who belong to neither party, that I would trust.  It saddens me that I may not live to see it happen (though I still hold out hope).

We need to learn from our past.  How did we make those changes before?  We seem to think that if we just vote for the right candidate, it will fall into place.  But that’s the equivalent of trusting the men-folk to know what’s best for us.  Surely we can do better.  We are more than a decade into a new millennium.  It’s time we used the power of numbers to make change.  And if some of those actual good men want to come alongside us and add their voices too, well, I certainly won’t say no.  But it needs to start with us.


6 thoughts on “So…about those “good men”…

  1. While I don’t believe we need to (or should) *depend* on male feminists/allies, I believe that their involvement is crucial. People who have (more) power who are willing to speak the the powers that be on behalf of those who have less or even no power. Some people, and I do mean people, will. not. listen. to women. Or to someone who isn’t white. Or heterosexual. Just won’t happen. But no, to rely upon them would indeed undercut our case that we are equals.

    I find that religion is huge, HUGE, HUGE (wishing I had a larger font for that last one) in blocking people from considering, thoughtfully (meaning, thinking about), the equality of all people. I recently was introduced to an organization whose work in countries where, when a newborn is identified as female, she is buried alive, blows me away. Or girl children are married off so as not to cost the family money, and to bring whatever bride price she can. It’s a Christian organization, and I am supporting its work. Yet.

    Yet its founder (female) and her husband attend a church where her husband is in leadership, and she would not even be considered to serve her congregation in a position of authority/responsibility. Because she is not a man. How can she see the injustice perpetrated around the world by one group of people being valued, being granted power, over another group, yet not recognize it at home? How can she think that Jesus would support such a system?

    I know that people who believe that men have authority over women, though they call it “leadership”, believe that the way that these men are using their authority over women is corrupt. But no: it is the system itself that is corrupt. This woman leads a large, international organization that fights on behalf of girls and women around the world, yet misses that the place she sets foot in each Sunday *contributes* to their plight. She works hours and hours at her life’s work, and then on Sundays, for a few hours, works against herself. I am puzzled, disappointed, and saddened.

    Religion that encourages people to turn off their minds is…criminal.

    • Those are good points. I see it too, especially having been in more than one church that valued women less than men in certain roles. So many women buy wholly into that philosophy, as though that way of doing things is written in stone for all people, for all time.

      What I see so often, though, is some (not all!) women waiting–still–for the men to stand up for us. They want to change their minds first, then have them go to bat for us. But there is no reason at all to wait. There are as many of us as there are of them, and we can at the very least demand that we be paid equally for the same jobs, at a bare minimum.

  2. “We make up half the population. How is it that we have failed to put our collective voices together to demand what men have without question?”

    I remember talking about that question in some of my women’s studies courses in college. I think it was an issue in Simone de Beauvoir’s the Second Sex. I remember part of the reason being that, aside from all being women, women are all different in different cultures and different values and that is being used against us. (I don’t know if I was able to articulate this well.) I don’t agree with that as a conclusion and don’t know how to remedy it.

    • I think it can be true for some issues, for example voting women into our highest political offices. Not that I wanted Sarah Palin as VP, but I think part of the reason McCain lost the last election was because he had chosen a woman as his running mate. There are a lot of women who buy into the idea that we aren’t supposed to be in charge at that level. (And a bit closer to home, I’ve seen it happen–a woman I know wasn’t hired for a job because the women working there believed she wouldn’t be respected by the men–and they were ok with that.)

      On the other hand, why are women still being paid less? That has nothing to do with the type of job. There’s no reason we all haven’t risen up and demanded it. That’s an inequality I remember fighting more than 20 years ago as a teenager, and one my own mother’s generation fought. So why is it still an issue?

  3. emmawolf, I understand what you mean, I think. It’s kind of a partner to what I was talking about, in a way.

    Culture as a force in shaping people and regulating people is so difficult to overcome. First, people must see it. Then, people must see *through* it to be able to see that people are people. Culture is part and parcel of pretty much everything: language (pretty much all communication, really, so also non-verbal communication, too), religion, art, how “family” is defined, what we consider polite or rude, and what’s considered good hygiene…it’s the lens we see the world, including people, though.

    Differing values do not excuse women as being seen as anything less than, anything other than, human.

    • Yes, exactly. I just wonder how much our culture has shaped women that we ourselves would see so much through the lens of male privilege. I also wonder what it would take for us to break free of it.

What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s