Like Lust, Hate, and Fear
Today, my heart breaks. So many stories from strong, stubborn women, fighting for their place in the sun. Fighting to be heard. Fighting through the hurt and pain of past abuse or failed relationships to make their own way in this often misogynist, repressive, unresponsive world.
Especially for anyone different, other-spirited, or simply, Not male.
Heaven forefend, you should be one of those who appears to belong to one gender but isn’t comfortable using that gender-designated washroom.
This alone makes me so appreciate those cultures which understand that certain bodily functions, such as peeing or taking a dump, transcend gender. Everybody craps, everybody gets the same public washroom. It’s a crapper. Period. No sexuality required, just a latch on the door, thank you.
But even our gender name sets us apart from true equality, because it un-norms us. Male (the norm) or fe-male. Not-male. Something different. Something less.
Who got to pick the names? Who decided this sh*t? Hands up who knows… Oh, c’mon, people — who wrote the textbooks? Women? Not likely.
We live in a pretty sad old world when women have to still fight to be valued as people.
Less than a hundred years ago, women were not even legally ‘persons’ under law. We weren’t subject to legal ownership of our bodies anymore, but a freed male slave had more status under law than a so-called free-woman. Because the former slave was legally recognized as a person. Women were not.
Women only became “people” under law in Canada on October 18, 1929, and we have to thank the Famous Five and their supporters for that. (Judge Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise Crummy McKinney and Irene Parlby.)
Before then, women were legally excluded from appointment to the Senate, being defined (or rather excluded) as non-persons under the British North America Act (B.N.A.).
And why is this so important — I mean, who wants to sit in Senate with a bunch of snoozy, old war-horses, political appointees on their way out?
Well, this was the one point under which the exclusion of women from so many positions/jobs/activities could be legally challenged.
And when the B.N.A. was upheld in Canada (Edwards v Canada, the Persons Case 1928), these women appealed the decision in the British Privy Council, which overturned the 1928 ruling and declared women “persons” under law.¹
1928 — not even a hundred years ago.
Gotta shake your head. And still, we fight for a piece — an equal piece — of the pie.
And men have the balls to call it love, what they do. It’s in the name of love. To protect us from the big bad world. It’s because you love us that you need to protect us from the consequences of our ill-informed choices, our feminine illogic, our hysteria.
Another Interesting Fact:
The closest I ever came to clocking a doctor was while talking to the male Ob-gyn who was to perform my hysterectomy. I’d been diagnosed with massive fibroids and life-threatening bleeding. And a ten-year-old tubal ligation.²
Then the doctor kindly and with extreme condescension explained the Greek root of hysterectomy, hysteria, and advised me the process was irreversible should I suddenly change my mind and want more children.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I’d told him my son was eleven and I was currently separated from the boy’s father. Had he even looked at my chart? Did he imagine, as a foolish, hysterical female, I would suddenly decide bearing more children was more important than living for the one I had? He was the kind of doctor that give the profession a bad name.
Stop using LOVE as an excuse to beat us over the heads with our gender-based ineptitude, our obviously genetic inability to balance a budget or decide how many pairs of shoes is enough. Not.
I freely admit I cannot carry a hundred and eighty-pound person down a ladder, let alone hump a two-hundred-pound fire-hose up the same ladder. I guess I can’t be a firefighter. But I know women who can do that and more.
So stop using LOVE to protect me from the big bad world. You’re not protecting me. You’re reinforcing the idea that women can’t. That women don’t. That women shouldn’t. That women aren’t able to.
It’s because you love us. Puh-leeze. Let’s call things by their proper name.
Fear. Unwillingness to share the sandbox, to give up some of your power. Afraid we might do a better job. Cause we will, ya know. And, don’t ignore me or put me on “Stand-by” because you don’t like what I have to say.
Lust. Women must be chaste (not chased) and always dress discreetly to protect them from the beasts that are men. Bull-sh*t. Men need to take responsibility for their urges. So, I wore a low-cut blouse and you caught a glimpse of the girls. Or I shoved them in your face. Don’t matter. Keep it in your pants and keep your hands and your cat-calls to yourself.
Hate. I’m not a man. So, what, you can hate me for that? Well, I guess it’s a free country. You can hate me because I’m a woman. Because I’m different from you. Because you think it gives me some kind of privilege. Or because I’m trans-gendered, or trans-dressing. Same thing.
But, don’t in the name of Love, tell me I shouldn’t do or be something because there are bad people out there who won’t like it. That’s not love. That’s not protection.
Real love doesn’t hide behind its own position of power and privilege. Real Love honors and partners. Real Love supports and empowers. Real Love encourages and makes bold.
Real Love stands up and fights beside their beloved.
Until you’re ready to do that, don’t call it love. And get the hell out of our way.
¹ Mary E. Hallett. (2008) The Canadian Encyclopedia. “Nellie McClung”
² The American Fertility Society (1985) FERTILITY AND STERILITY