In response to Lauren Besser's article Had Bernie been Bernadette — The heartbreaking truth about American patriarchy and the many other articles I've seen on social media posted by my feminist friends.
I have never to my knowledge received a legitimate death threat that warranted FBI involvement. I don’t really know truly and personally what it feels like to treated as a second-class person. However, I have for my entire adult life known and supported female friends, who have struggled with body image issues, eating disorders, and wage gaps. I have seen the aftermath of sexual harassment, assault, and rape. I have on occasion called out male friends for making derogatory comments. I have made amateurish attempts to coach these female friends out of depression or in less severe cases through the anxiety induced by unnecessary social pressures at school and work.
I am, as best as I understand the word, a male feminist. I want a world where women don’t need to wake up an hour earlier in the morning get their hair and make up just right before going to work. I want a world where sexual violence is never blamed on the victim, or better yet it isn’t a default concern of half the population. I want to live in a country where a politician’s credentials, record, and character are their key to success – not their race, gender (identity), sex(-ual orientation), or other physical features.
In order to achieve this in my lifetime (or at least in the lifetime of my unborn grandchildren), we need to truly and fundamentally shift how society approaches these issues. We need not just one change agent, but many of them operating in earnest at all levels of society, business, and government.
It is with this understanding that I am growing continually frustrated with my many female/feminist friends, who are continually posting/sharing articles supporting Hillary as a true change agent, based on her credentials as a woman. (Or conversely, that Bernie is not the right choice for feminists - or any of the other many gender-related permutations of this conversation.) If Hillary had been born as Herman (and chose to remain as Herman as a gender identity), would you still admire her (or in this case his) credentials?
In one of the many articles considering where a feminist should stand on the Bernie or Hillary question, Lauren Besser poses/answers the questions:
“Are the sins of our institutions so terrible? Yes. Are those sins more terrible when committed by a woman? Seems so.”
I think she and other feminists (of any gender) would be better off asking themselves, “Do you want to change the system? Or do you want to have merely appeared to change the system?”
I would also suggest that these questions could also apply to many other issues, not the least of which being climate change, which all things being status quo means women should expect to be disproportionately impacted for generations to come.