Thursday, January 19, 2012

Treading Carefully

I have a daily delivery of an email alert regarding Pajamas Media's video offerings for non-members. This morning, this was one of the videos.

After you watch the video, you will have seen they are talking about the cowardly behavior of the Captain of the Costa Concordia, and blaming it on the feminist movement.

I want to talk about the feminist movement and whether or not I agree with Bill Whittle and his Trifecta buds. In some ways I do agree with them (they blame the "progressives", too), but not entirely.

Here's the thing. Cowardice, which the Costa Concordia's captain had in spades, has been around for centuries, nay, millennia. You can't necessarily pin that on either modern progressives or feminism. I think they are painting with too wide a brush. If someone other than the captain himself can be blamed, let's try his employer.

Still, it's interesting and enlightening to see how men feel about the traditional masculine role vis a vis women. After watching the video, have a read through the comments as well. Do women have to be helpless so that men can feel manly and needed? This is a minefield, if there ever was one, but my gut reaction is "man up" guys.

I will admit the modern feminist movement has gone to hell in a hand basket, but in its early days, it had worthy goals and it spotlighted real problems of inequality and discrimination. I felt it myself in my early 20s.

My younger sister encountered it once when she attempted to enroll in the "Renewable Resources" program at a post secondary college in Saskatoon, and was told by the head of the program that it was not for women. Only men could apply. Being the kind of feisty dame that she is, she made a big stink and the head man backed down. It wasn't long after that, that the program was admitting both men and women and churning out graduates of both sexes.

Indeed, most of the goals of the feminist movement of the early 1970s have been met, and where they haven't been met, they have been altered due to intelligent and truthful debate. For example, the wage differential can be explained, in part, by the fact that women are the ones that have babies and stay home with them when they are tiny and helpless.  It just makes sense that the mother would be the one to do this. After all, when is the last time a man successfully breast-fed an infant?  Consequently, women's careers are interrupted, leading to fewer years of  experience and making them less attractive candidates for certain positions.

It takes sometimes several months to train a new employee who may be hired to replace a woman on maternity leave. With men, that problem doesn't exist.  And besides that, I really do believe there are some critical differences between the way men and women think and behave that are hard wired.

Yet this is a topic that still needs discussion. Are there fewer manly men in the world because of feminism? Why should men have to perceive women as weak and needing protection in order to be secure in their masculinity? Why have the concerns of men regarding the consequences of the feminist movement not been addressed? And most importantly, why does life have to be so frickin' unfair?

Speaking of cowardly men and courageous men, have a listen to the recording and translation of the communication between an Italian coast guard man (a manly man, if there ever was one) and the ship's pathetic-excuse-for-a-man captain, Francesco Schettino, or Tiny Shit, as some are rightfully calling him.

PS: I think this belongs here.

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