When I was a little boy, my dad was the centre of my universe. I have never loved, admired or respected a man as much as my dad.
My father loved nature, particularly animals, all he ever wanted to be was a park ranger. The idea of looking after a natural habitat and the animals that lived there made him so happy that when he would talk about it, he would sometimes cry. But my dad never became a park ranger. Why? It wasn’t possible to fulfil that role, as well as his gender role of provider for a family. Instead, my father who was only educated till year six because his school was destroyed during World War II, did jobs he hated, but paid money.
My father worked in the mines where he nearly died several times in the use of explosives. He worked in abattoirs—killing the animals he loved—where he nearly died after contracting Q-Fever. He worked as a truck driver where he nearly died by losing control of a semi-trailer on black ice. He worked as a store manager in a truck assembly line, sorting and cataloguing truck parts until two of the vertebrae in his spine collapsed—crushed by a combination of the weight he carried daily and early onset osteoarthritis caused by starvation during his formative years.
When he was too weak, too broken to keep doing that, he took a job as a cleaner until the stress of a severe heart attack ended his ability to walk more than a few steps at a time.
My mother raised the children.
My father raised the money.
They were equitable partners (What’s the difference between equal and equitable? Read this.).
Every day of my childhood, my father got up before the sun came up, then came home after it was dark to provide for his family. He would collapse on the couch most nights, too tired to move, and I would lie on his chest and hug him while he watched the news. At the end of each week he would walk in the door and hand my mother his pay. I never once saw more than $20 in his wallet—my mother managed our finances and when dad wanted to buy something, he asked her for money.
I respect that what BOTH my parents did, was sacrifice. ModernFeminist ideology does not.
The second-wave Feminist concept of Patriarchy does not distinguish between low-power men and high-power men, they are all part of an unjust social system created by men that oppresses women and by being part of that system, all men are privilegedmembers of patriarchy through their gender, and by association are all oppressive to women. If this is doesn’t sound right to you—please take the time to actually read about Patriarchy as a concept (Feminist white paper on patriarchy here), there is a reason that it is not agreed upon by all Feminists—but it is the central concept of Modern Feminism as opposed to the original Women’s Liberation Movement (which favoured Woman-As-Child).
Feminism recognises the female gender role of mother/nurterer as sacrifice. It does not recognise the male gender role of provider/protector as the same. It does not acknowledge my father trading his happiness, his personal ambitions, his health, and in several instances almost his life, as sacrifice. As he was paid for it, while my mother remained financially dependent on him, feminism calls it male power.
My father had a life-long struggle with depression and suicidal tendencies, attached in large to the fallout from his gender role. Neither of my parents felt powerful, neither of my parents were oppressive to the other.
Early 1960’s feminism spawned a phrase ‘woman-as-nigger’–the idea that a woman’s powerlessness was similar to that of a black slave and it is this concept that largely is the root of the concept of patriarchy. I therefore call my father’s gender role obligations, ‘man-as-nigger’. A House Slave had it better than a Field Slave; regardless both people remained slaves, trapped in a life without choice, or the ability to pursue happiness and self-fulfilment outside of their role.
My mother was a slave to her gender role; my father was a slave to his.
I support Feminism’s objectives; I seek gender equality for all and an end to gender issues. I cannot however support its philosophy. Feminism promotes inequality as one-sided, it does not acknowledge that history and gender role has been cruel to both genders, albeit in different ways. If I were to not acknowledge that, if I were to ignore the sacrifice of the men who came before me, I would be disrespecting them all including the one man who has always mattered to me most, the man who along with my mother, made me who I am today.
And I love them both too much to do that.
Did you find this interesting? You might also enjoy the counter article “Why I’m not a Men’s Rights Activist (MRA)?”
|Gudrun, Daniel and Eberhard Kroker