Tuesday, May 23, 2006

WOMAN IS THE NIGGER OF THE WORLD


It's more than just a John Lennon song. I once asked my mother what she would want her tombstone to read -- one of those silly questions that you ask people in the hopes of getting an interesting answer. That was her reply.

Whenever I encounter men who label themselves as "feminists", I just have to laugh and hope they never encounter my mother. I don't know for certain but unless I'm mistaken, if she ever met a man who called themselves a "feminist", she'd probably laugh in their face.

When I consider how hardcore a feminist my mother is, it's amazing I was born. It's common knowledge that my father only managed to make an "honest woman" out of her through sneaky devious subterfuge. I was raised in a house where pronouncements about the endless, unceasing perfidy of the male race in all its incarnations were as numerous as raindrops falling on the roof. I grew up, to a large degree, profoundly apologetic for having been born to such a wretched gender.

My mom was born in a time when she had to wear skirts to school. She grew up with the constant awareness that she simply could not become what she wanted to be when she grew up -- and if she ever wondered, well, there was an authority figure around the corner to discourage her. She was discouraged to further her education. She had to fight hard for everything she ever wanted, and there is no doubt what she was fighting against: society, history and tradition, all of which carry distinctly masculine features.

So am I a "feminist"? No. Unless I was born a woman, with all the girly parts intact, and had to fight against the apathy and objectification and outright hostility that greets women from the day they are born to this very day, I could not say that I was a "feminist". The best I could say is that I was a carpetbagger trying to hijack something that women had fought and bled for for generations, and that I, as a privileged white American male, Master of the Universe, could never in my wildest dreams hope to understand. If I called myself a feminist in front of my mother I think she'd probably smack me, and then fall on the floor laughing.

How does a right-thinking male come to grips with being a man in a man's world? The same way my mother taught me: apologize to every woman you meet for being a man. Because, as she points out at every opportunity, and has done so since I was a small child, the species can get along just fine without males now that we've got sperm banks and science.

Ladies and gentlemen, that's a feminist. Your twee-sensitive white college punk who read bell hooks and thinks he's so insightful is not a feminist, he just wants to get laid by seeming "with it" to all the hot feminist studies majors. And I guess the movement is degraded enough that they can get away with it and not get their testicles forcibly removed for their troubles. Because that's what my mom would do. And that, folks, is a real feminist.

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