I was tagged by the feminista of the west. (Settle down. It's a joke.) See, the tag was to name the five things I can thank feminism for. I was a little reluctant to post, in part because feminism (like most "isms") is one of those things you can't joke about. Like most "isms" it is a loaded terms that sets people off. I make it a practice not to set people off, at least on the blog. I like people to want to come here.
Plus, I'm suspicious of all isms, from communism, to liberalism, to conservatism, to fundamentalism. All isms are mixed bags that are responsible for both good and ill in human society. Even so, the isms tend to inspire adherents who insist the bag is completely full of truth and light, and anyone who does not think so is at best ill-informed, or at worst an enemy to the state. Thus, debate in this country usually degenerates into name calling that would get a first year laws school mock trial team laughed out of competition, and elsewhere it degenerates into violence. (List these among the reasons that I NEVER watch any television news program.)
Me, I'm not a full bag kind of guy. I'm not even a "glass half full" or "glass half empty" kind of guy. To me, it's just half a glass.
BUT, I gotta respect the power of the tag. So I put my little dog brain to work. Given my antipathy toward all "isms," I will change the inquiry only slightly. What are the five things I can be thankful for that are due to the increasing equality and dignity of women. (You, reader, can attribute that increasing equality and dignity to feminism, in whole or in part, or not at all.)
1. My wife.
Beyond her being a strong human being with a willingness to use her brain, I never would have met her in a prior generation.
This is a tale of two flutists. My wife and my mother were both flutists from small towns in Oklahoma, just from different eras. My mother had the opportunity to solo with the Olahoma City Symphony back in the 1950s, and was invited by the guest conductor to come and study at the Curtis Institute on scholarship. But good girls from small towns in the 1950s did not pursue ambitions like that. In contrast, my wife clawed her way into college on her flute and went to the Aspen Music Festival where I met her and fell in love with a gifted and ambitious woman.
2. My daughter.
This is more than just "if I hadn't met my wife I would not have my daughter." The most interesting people on the planet are older elementary age girls in that time right before they enter the dark tunnel of adolesence from which many never fully emerge. (Read "Reviving Ophelia") They are smart, curious, rough-and-tumble, girly, not-so-girly, know-it-all-or-soon-will-master-the-universe kind of little people. I'm thankful that no one (especially me) is telling her to sit down, be quiet, and act like a lady.
3. Title IX. On this I agree whole heartedly with the other tag-ees. I love women's sport. Maybe it's because I'm the father of a daughter. Maybe it's because I know how good sport is for a young woman's development as a person. Maybe it's because I train so often with women. Maybe it's just because female athletes are hawt. WHATEVER. I just love it. I know my mancard is in danger, but I have to admit to not watching a single nanosecond of the NCAA Men's basketball tournament. I have seen some of the women's tournament, however. And the NCAA women's cross country championships. And soccer. And volleyball. and . . . . well you get the idea.
4. The Title IX brain. Because of Title IX, we think differently about women in sport. Even women who never played college sports feel the power and freedom to participate here that they do not feel elsewhere. (Witness the lack of female competitors by comparison in European triathlons).
What would the transition area at Wildflower look like in the absence of Title IX? Who would be blogging about triathlon in the absence of Title IX? Do you want to train and race in such an environment? I surely don't. Title IX brain means I have new friends like:
Trimama and Trisaratops
and many others. I would certainly be impoverished in the absence of coming to know these extraordinary women. And I never would have met them in the absence of Title IX brain.
Title IX brain also means that we are beginning to value and glorify beautiful women who are talented and powerful--not just for being some skinny, no-talent waif who walks a runway after snorting coke and smoking a cigarette. Just think of:
and the next generation like--
or Brie Felnagle.
(So, um, yeah. I know the sophomore standouts at colleges I never attended. I told you. I love women's sport.)
Beyond the obvious "ez on the eyes" reason for a guy to like these women (and I don't deny that reason for a minute--I am ALL guy on that one) I want my daughter to equate beauty and feminity with power and accomplishment--not with the right shade of lip gloss or an eating disorder.
5. Getting closer to right. Warning, reader. This is the part of the post where I get all theological. If that is not you're cup of tea, then move on. You have been warned.
Did you know that the original Christians were criticized for recognizing the dignity of women and slaves? It's true. The faith was derided as beneath the contempt of a Roman man because it was the religion of women and slaves. The ancient Hebrew and Christian creation account tells us that "God created man in his own image; . . . male and female he created them." Both genders in our species were created in the image of God. Both genders are needed to understand the complete image of God. To the extent one denies the dignity or worth of either part of our human race, one distorts both the nature of humanity and the nature of God who created them. To the extent we value both, we are closer to right than we were before.