Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The F word

It's a day late, but I had an experience tonight that I can recount that maybe explains my inarticulate rage when it comes to talking about feminism.

I was sitting in a meeting, and as usual we wandered off topic, and my friend mentioned that she'd loved the clip I posted yesterday. I tried to respond to her, but other people started talking, and International Women's Day was mentioned, and the person to my right, a man that I love and respect, kind-of rolled his eyes.

I tried to not derail the entire meeting, and said something about how I wasn't going to let him wind me up. But, I couldn't let it go. I rattled off the lovely statistic from the video, that worldwide, women do two-thirds of the work, earn 10% of the income and own 1% of of the property. I really tried to be polite about it.

He rolled his eyes again, I think. And, this is where it gets hazy, because if I had actually had the ability to get all muscly and green to make my point, I would have done so. But instead, the following happened. It may not make sense, but my mind was so full of rage that I really did want to HULK SMASH the table. Except the table was holding delicious adult beverages. I am angry, I am not a fool:

I said no, this is important, that's why we need to talk about this, to work towards improving the situation... he said something to the effect of... but you live here. I said, I don't care, this is about the planet, it's about all of us. He said, but you aren't in... Ghana. I said no, but there are women in Ghana and they are having the same problems. He said, but you are here, not Ghana, and that's the third world anyway, it doesn't matter. I said that location and economic opportunities are irrelevant (well, that's what I meant, but what I said was more like...but, sputter, sputter, I'm not gonna talk about this with a bonehead, so there!) He said that it's not going to change in my lifetime. I said that doesn't mean that I shouldn't try, that the fact it's an uphill battle should not stop the fight. I said it's like stopping war. It's unlikely, but you have to try, to make your voice heard. He said that wasn't going to happen in his lifetime, never mind his. I said that doesn't matter, I have to try.

What I got from that rambling conversation (and I wish I was clever enough to elucidate this verbally) is that he was demonstrating in a real honest-to-god conversation why feminism is necessary. The fact that he thought it didn't matter because I'm here in Canada, and I've got it pretty good is why International Women's Day and feminism don't matter.

No, no it's not. His apathy and ignorance, and goddammit, the patriarchy is why things like International Women's Day and feminism are necessary.

Two thirds of the work. 10% of the income. 1% of the property. 52% of the population. How is that, in any way, equal?

No. Just no. I have a responsibility, as a human being (never mind having two X chromosomes) to speak out about injustice, prejudice, fear and ignorance whenever I encounter it. To point out privilege where I find it and recognize my own. This is why it's important, even though we've got it pretty good (though no where near equal, though that's a rant for another day) from where I'm standing. There's a whole developing world out there. Those people count as well.

Don't even get me started on violence against women. We didn't even touch on that, and that is a real big problem right here in the first world. Argh.

MISSTEA HULK SMASH! if that only solved the problems.

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