Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Musings of a Male Feminist on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by friends enlightened enough not to flinch or raise an eyebrow at the notion of a male feminist.  And why should they?  If, notwithstanding all the diversity, disagreement and debate in the movement, feminism ultimately boils down to a belief in equality of the sexes and genders, then one would hope that all males would be feminists.  That more men aren't is, in fact, the core of the problem.  Slavery ended only through the agitation of both black and white abolitionists, just as the advances made by the American civil rights movement were brought about thanks to the combined efforts of black and white activists. And how often has the world lamented the lack of a more concerted effort by non-Jewish Germans citizens in the face of policies and attitudes which led to the Shoah.  Silence is tantamount to complicity.  

On November 25th and the sixteen days of activism that follow it marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we are once again reminded (not that we ever should or could forget) of that most pernicious and persistent blight upon human kind: the systematic and systemic discrimination, bigotry and violence against women.  Still, too many men choose to remain silent either due to detrimental passivity or willful ignorance.  This, despite the fact that women still only earn about 75 cents for every dollar a male earns in the United States or the persistent under-representation of women at all levels of government.  Meanwhile, around 17% of women in the United States have been victims of rape, but the FBI estimates that only 32% of rapes are ever reported.  And as conflict and violence continues in so many regions of the world, we would be remiss to forget that it is always women who suffer disproportionately in these situations.

Men must engage in the struggle for full realization of women's rights everywhere.  We must rail against the chronic violence - physical and structural - perpetrated and perpetuated by other men.  We must state unequivocally that we will not stand for half the world's population doing harm to the other half.  We must not remain silent.    




At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason this is rediculous is that we should all be working to end violence of all sorts. Feminism is nothing more that one segment of the population requiring something the other segment doesn't get. Until feminists realize that we must all fight to end all violence their movement is not valid. Women perpetrate violence as well -- but this is apparently OK. Statistics now indicate that women are responsible for quite possibly 50 % of domestic violence. Women are responsible for more than half of child abuse. But this is OK -- apparently. Women's violence is ususally justified. Men's violence is not tolerable.

At 1:17 AM, Blogger The Bedouin Project said...

The reason the above is ridiculous is that it proves my point precisely with absolutely no sense of irony.


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