Friday, March 18, 2011

Gender 101: Women's History Month -- by Connie Chastain*

One of our valued contributors, Connie Chastain, has returned from medical leave, fully recovered, and ready to give us her perspective every Friday. Welcome back, Connie!

Gender 101: Women's History Month -- by Connie Chastain*

I must be mellowing out. Women's History Month doesn't bother me as much as it once did. These days, it's just another splashy flash on the increasingly incoherent collage of popular culture -- another something to ignore.

Why should I mind if women want to trumpet their firsts and grandstand their own accomplishments? I don't mind when men do the same thing.

Ah, but there is a difference. Men don't brag on themselves ... as men. They don't showcase their accomplishments as notable because they were done by men, but because they are truly notable.

Take the Spirit of Women awards, for example. I scoured the web looking for the male equivalent of said awards. Couldn't find anything. There are all sorts of awards of which men are the recipients -- Man of the Year for everything from sports to business to the media, although increasingly such awards have been renamed Person of the Year to be more ... inclusive, don't you know. But no Spirit of Men awards.

I don't really have a beef with the Spirit of Women awards. They recognize some truly noteworthy female achievements in the areas of community service and health care. The problem I have is that men do the same thing -- have always done the same thing, the majority of it, in fact -- but when have you seen such philanthropy attributed to the masculine spirit?

Let's be frank. A big part of the reason for my past impatience with Women's History Month was what I believed to be the true motive behind it -- the usually unspoken but well understood notion that for most of humanity's existence, women were held back from such pursuits by ... men. You know, the same guys that ran patriarchy.

In other words, it was just another male-bashing hammer in the feminist toolbox.

I have little use for feminism. That doesn't mean I'm against women's rights. I'm for everybody's rights, men and women. But I perceive that feminism isn't really about women's rights. It's about female supremacy and female privilege and, mostly, about getting back at men for several millenia of imagined oppression.

But I'll give folks observing Women's History Month the benefit of the doubt, and accept that most of them aren't motivated by female get-evenism. Just don't expect me to join in the celebration. I'm busy.

*Connie is an FRS contributor. Her personal blog is