No Witty Title Here
Up to now I have made a point of avoiding political commentary, religious overtones and too many overblown rants. I don’t consider myself a political person in the either/or, with/against sense that seems so prevalent these days, but I do have opinions, and I’m fairly certain my opinions could be used to tether me to a specific camp. Thing is, I’m as resistant to the idea of being stuffed into a wee little category as a cat is to a carrier destined for the vets.
However, this ambivalence (and a small degree of despair) is putting me in a creative state of stall, and that’s someplace I don’t want to be.
So with a deep breath, here I go.
Journal entry from March 9th, 2005
I looked hopefully through today’s papers and expected to see some sort of commentary on how International Women’s Day was celebrated / observed in Canada, but sadly there was none. NONE! IWD did not even rate a mention in today’s Vancouver Sun, Province or Globe & Mail.
I wasn’t surprised. Just deeply, deeply disappointed. It’s easy to suppose that with the recent surge in horrific news the papers would just have a paragraph as opposed to an article. But to say nothing? Is feminism too passe to merit a line of print?
When I was a teen, I was very aware of the debt I owed to the women of previous generations. I didn’t always agree with or understand the tactics used, but I understood why the fight for equality, personal safety and choice was important. After all, my mother had been very clear from the very start that she wanted me to have the choice to be more than a typical South American wife and mother. She wanted me to be able to ride the bus without getting my heinie pinched by some lecherous twit twice my age. She wanted me to be somewhere where my gender didn’t interfere with my opportunities, and I.. Well, I could see the intelligence of those desires.
By the time I hit my mid-20’s I had changed; I was more aware of other people’s opinions, and somehow believed them to be more important than my own. Yes, I KNOW that’s dumb – consider it a lesson I’ve had to learn over and over (and over).
I’d fallen in with a very conservative crowd who told me they were big on independent thinkers and strong women while they demanded I think the way they did, give up my independent ways, get married, get (their) religion… actually I can’t even go on with that… the memory is too repulsive. Let’s just say that one day I might write an entry about it that will help erase that last little bit of bitter from my system.
But the end result of that particular association was that when asked if I was a feminist, I hesitated; feminist had become a nasty word, code for a man-hating, bitter woman who couldn’t get or keep a guy. (Yeah, like that’s the end-all, be-all for us girls. Really). If I said yes, I would be labeled, forever and ever, in permanent pen with an extra thick nib, as Unlikeable. Unloveable. Unwilling (to just passively follow some guy and let him think for me), and ultimately Not Someone the Other Wives Should Get Close To.
I dodged the question. I lightly said I was a humanist. Rationalized until I believed I’d done the right thing. But deep down I knew I’d betrayed all those lovely, strong, crazy women I came from.
The good news is that eventually I got my senses back and got out of the situation I was in. The people in my life now are a tolerant lot. They aren’t always easy-going; they’re quite willing to ask me the tough questions when they need to be asked. I love them to bits.
The sad news is that I’ve not lost that slight hesitancy, and that’s where I’m at right now. I’ve faltered in acting on my personal beliefs. Become rather complacent. Why should I expect feminism be treated as a here-and-now item of importance if I’ve allowed it to become a historical footnote in my own life?