I’m a lucky bastard. Other than dealing with some dickhead while I was a kid in public school, my life has been pretty easy. As a large and (from others) someone intimidating looking fellow, I’ve never had to worry about travelling alone, or walking home from the bar. It has never entered my mind to think if I lived in a “good” or “bad” area of a city, or had to reconsider my wardrobe because it might get me hurt. I’ve never had to ask anyone to walk me to my car, or been nervous in a dimly lit parking garage…
My voice is heard, and often I am treated with respect completely unearned. I speak on subjects I am passionate about, not an expert in, and still I find people willing to listen, and debate. I’ve never had a woman unwilling to take no for an answer follow me around a bar (Ok, to be fair, I can count on one hand the number of women who have tried to pick ME up in a bar.)
My life has been relatively free from violence, assaults, and emotional abuses. I was never pushed to become a parent. I’ve never been called “less” of anything for not wanting children.
It was through these lenses I viewed the world. I could still see problems, but they always seemed far away, and overblown… How could it be as bad as some said but not effect me in any way? (Because that’s not egocentric at all) And yet, over the last 3 years, many things have become more apparent as I have to look at life through a new lens.
I’ve been asked to walk people to their cars after work, had EMPLOYERS move around me to get a better view of my wife (that one almost ended in violence). We have had to think about location, and risks when looking into apartments. I’ve friends who feel they cannot travel alone (I’m talking world travel here), and others who change 6 times for fear of what could happen or would be said if they dressed as they wished.
My little world of Strawberry Fields has been thrown around, and in many ways dismantled by these things. But even with all of that, I was still loath to call myself a Feminist. The word to me conjured up ideas not of equality, but of female superiority. I’m ashamed to admit I thought SCUM was to feminism what Marx “Manifesto” was to cultural communism.
There are still cases I find to be massive overreactions but things like this have done a pretty thorough job of convincing me the problem is much larger, and much closer to home than I would have liked to think. Most video game females (characters, not players) are “chicks” not women, if you take the difference. Very rarely are they more than a shallow construct, following some lame trope (Trope for the record should be take as synonymous with “I’m too lazy to write an original character” most of the time), and having no real personality of their own… but now we’re getting into a topic for another day.
The fact is, I’m a grown man now, and its time to take off the rose coloured glasses. The world isn’t as nice a place as I imaged, which is saying something since I didn’t think it was that great to begin with, and its time to either step up and say something about it, or cower down, and know my inaction helped sustain a system put in place to harm, repress, and foster resentment.
…. I never was very good at shutting up.