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When I told my partner what I was going to write about she almost choked on her coffee. In a good way,. A black sense of humour on my part gels well with her sense of the ridiculous. “But I’m not being ridiculous!” I begged, Now laughing too. “I’m serious.” “Well good luck.”she said. “I…
When I told my partner what I was going to write about she almost choked on her coffee. In a good way,. A black sense of humour on my part gels well with her sense of the ridiculous.
“But I’m not being ridiculous!” I begged, Now laughing too. “I’m serious.”
“Well good luck.”she said. “I will never understand why you always want to dive into a moshe pit full of angry wasps.”
My dead wife, ex-wife,a strong determined and totally mad woman, beyond the control of any human, man woman or indeterminate, saw feminism as little more than an equal interaction between all the defined sexes. “Men cannot be feminists so stop encouraging!”
There was nothing she could not, or would not do on equal terms with men. Being a startlingly beautiful redhead deterred her not one jot. In fact it encouraged her!
The thing is, my now partner of nearly twenty years has the same high achieving ability, but with quite a different personality. Through the sixties,seventies, eighties, nineties, and two thousands.
She started as a lowly nurse, an Australian in London. Walked in as a fresh-faced young lady of twenty years having completed her training as a registered nurse. Middlesex Hospital. She began her training in Australia at age seventeen and having worked at Middlesex for one week she got three more offers from London hospitals which she turned down.
Let’s do that thing about fast forwarding a few years. Her ambition and abilities saw her studying hard to become competent, while at the same time enjoying the glitter of London clubs and pubs. For another two years she worked hard and shone. Only then, after some reflection did she consider that, in her own words, ‘I didn’t much like looking after sick people!’ All that power over sick and dying individuals, embedded within her what she describes as hospital humour.
Oddly enough she just loved ED. The rush, the buzz and the heroics of interns, doctors,nurses, surgeons and orderlies all working together as a well-oiled team. Straight and gay, men, women,and undetermined, just got on with it.
In those situations there is a lot of banter. Today there would probably be social media riots and questions asked in Parliament.
Feminism was a big issue back then. Germaine Greer had written ‘The Female Eunuch.‘Helen Gurley Brown founded ‘Cosmopolitan.’ Richard Neville was pounding London with ‘Oz’ magazine and everyone wanted to be free of the shackles they imagined they were slaves to.
In the earlier days the ‘Beats’ were a bunch of chain-smoking don’t-give-a-shit male writers and poets who chose to remain unshaven and tell society via film and television to sit on it and twirl. They were followed of course by the ‘Beatnicks’ who parodied those twits!
By the time my partner went nursing, the hippie movement was in full swing and boys and girls were embracing each other and the idea of feminism. Feminism then was spearheaded by the delightfully intellectual and acerbic Germaine and Helen, while at the same time ‘Hanoi Jane’ Fonda, still known and loved for her role as ‘Barbarella’ led protests against the Vietnam war. Along with Joan Baez.
If one finds oneself with a nursing degree but an honest distaste for projectile vomit, and ego-maniacal surgeons with God complexes, but a strong admiration for matrons (as they were then), one must take a step back and reconsider. Matrons were great! They had an authority that sent doctors and surgeons scurrying or grovelling with little more than a cold stare or a sharp rebuke. Good matrons like the one at Middlesex created order amidst always impending chaos.
Management! That was the way to go! She returned to Australia, climbed the greasy pole and became the CEO of Melbourne Hospital. Extending the greasy pole, she became a senior manager in the building of a major hospital in Townsville Queensland.
Never did she see herself as a feminist. Just a woman, equal to all, and, like my dead ex-wife, respected and sometimes feared by men, women, girls, boys,and those of an undetermined gender or sexual proclivity.
Along the way she did bump into a few Neanderthals-but it takes all kinds and they were but pebbles on the beach.
At the same time the perks of being female were never dismissed. When men or boys opened doors, stood aside to let her enter first, stood up on public transport or smiled and said “I like your hair/dress/eyes”all that stuff, just like my dead ex-wife she smiled, offered a thank you and took the gift of being put first among equals.
Construction workers sporting bare chests and hardhats, wolf whistling were always acknowledged with a bright smile and a wave. No real health and safety back then!
In the wash-up we are men, boys, blokes, lads, guys, fellows, they are all acceptable and unremarkable, no matter our age or maturity.
To many women though,the androgynous ‘guys’ is absolutely not acceptable, and to call a bunch of women ‘girls’ will probably get a bloke dismembered and said member inserted into one’s own butt!
For some insane reason ‘bastard’ and ‘bitch’ have been assigned a masculine and feminine.However, a woman can call a guy a bastard but woe betide him if he calls a woman a bitch.
Men cannot be feminists. Two strong women over a period of fifty years and counting have asserted that. Men can support equality, they might even stand up and come down hard on the Harvey Weinstiens and Donald Trump’s for the lauding of power over some women. Not all, and not even all they tried it with
There are powerful homosexual men who try the same on those beneath them.
There are powerful lesbian women just the same.
There are powerful women, equally woeful, who enjoy putting the hard word on unwilling men.
In all, much of a muchness. They may or may not profess to be feminists but they are equally just scumbags.
There must be an equal and opposite word for feminist. Masculinist simply does not work. Not for me and not for most. I’m not fighting for men’s rights, and while I can support and advocate for the rights of others to be equal, I cannot be a feminist simply because I cannot experience such. Two strong, successful clever women have made that point abundantly clear.
‘Equallist’ encompasses everyone. LGBTQI and all the missing letters of the alphabet.
Men, women, boys, girls and indeterminate genders.
Human beings molest and harass other human beings and should be brought to book immediately. Not twenty, thirty, forty years later, when in the most cases only the word of the alleged victim holds any water and the alleged perpetrator has no leg stand on. Complain at the time and make it loud, public and supply some evidence.
In Israel recently a man who was alleged to have made so-called terrorist threats was,without evidence deported for trial. At the same time in Israel ,despite many attempts an ex headmistress of an all girls school who did molest and sexually abuse scores of young girls remains free and safe in Israel. Where is the justice? I don’t know how that works for you but I don’t hear social media condemning THAT!
In Australia Archbishop Wilson was sentenced to six months home detention for not reporting an abusive priest, four decades ago. He has now been acquitted but not before being made a pariah. Oh! The news always called him an Archbishop but not one, not a single one qualified that at the time he was but a lowly parish priest with little or no power. He rose to become an Archbishop and in all those years, when he did have some power, used it to decry and seek out those within his church who preyed on young and defenseless boys and girls. For that he received no praise.
Whether you are a man,woman, boy or girl, whether you are gay, straight or transgender, there are others who would assert their power over you.
I see you frowning and asking ‘Your Point?’ Simples! Feminism is for women and girls asserting their equality. Not for creating a stick to beat men with.
It is not for men to become feminists. It is for women and girls to assert their equality and call out unacceptable activity wherever it may be.
Oh Dear! Now I’m in trouble!