Friday, July 5, 2013

[Feminism] The story of the "Man's Centre."

(Yes, that's the university on top a mountain.)

Many a year ago when the grass was green and the mountains had snow, I hung out at SFU and pretended I was far more educated, and financially well off, than I was. Part of this consisted of mooching coffee off a very long suffering Cher and hanging out in the CompSci common room.

One day a discussion about the Womyn's Centre came about and how absolutely over the top it was. None of us was against females having their own retreat. We weren't even against rather, ah, strong-minded, anti-male, females having their own clubhouse. What got us were the rules that applied outside the area. Men weren't allowed to approach females entering or leaving the Womyn's Centre. Men weren't allowed to phone the Womyn's Centre. If a male needed to contact a female within, he was to slip a note under the door. Oh, I'm sure there were more rules, but those are the ones I remember.

So it was protested. Why isn't there a man's centre? Where did men go to escape women? In which one very wise man pointed out that few of them WANTED to escape women and the Womyn's Centre was to the male advantage even if it wasn't created that way. You see, the men had the pub. The pub had beer and it had women who wanted to be around men. It had music. It had women who wanted to be around men. (A point so important, the male felt it had to be mentioned twice.) They were quite happy with their all inclusive clubhouse. The male then smiled and said "I like to think of myself as a feminist." and then proceeded to teach me the PROPER meaning of the word.

It's not about women being more important than men. It's about EVERYONE having the same rights and opportunities and the same choices. If a woman wants to stay home and be a house wife, she should have the choice. If a woman wants to become a diesel mechanic, she should have the choice. If a man wants to become a nurse or a secretary, he should be able. If a black person wants to sit at the front of the bus, or (gasp) drive the bus, they should be able to. So on and so forth. He said the Womyn's Centre is doing no real harm to anyone outside its doors and while they wished they could change the hate on the inside, it's probably better to know where hate is in one concentration that diffused every which way. Basically, the philosophy was, why get all worked up and froth when you could quietly just BE and show them the BEING and lead by example.

I have to disagree with the last, somewhat. I'm not saying go around and pick every fight you can - you do have to pick your battles, but sometimes you do have to battle. But other than that, there spoke a wise man. With a truly Canadian appreciation for pubs and beer.

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