Dear editor: I am so sorry to hear about the negative, vitriolic and demeaning comments made towards Tara Bradbury (and all women) after her recent article in The Telegram on FemFest. What people don’t seem to grasp is that it is because of these kinds of comments and attitudes that feminism, and events like FemFest, are needed.
Thank you, Ms. Bradbury, for speaking about and against misogyny and hate. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to have those things said to you because I come from a place of privilege, being a male in a world that was designed by males to benefit males the most.
Ms. Bradbury, and the organizers of FemFest: keep doing what you are doing. It is not only important and necessary, it is also working. More people are talking about the issues, more people are making a difference and more people are no longer willing to stay silent to the comments that you received. There are men out there who support you, and I am one of them.
We may have come a long way from women being possessions, and yes, women have equal rights, but that is not enough. Feminism is not male-hating or male-bashing. It is being able to examine our systems, institutions, values and cultures that are oppressive, and to address the issues while empowering those affected by the oppressive forces. The facts are inescapable; historically, out of the two traditional genders, one has always been more oppressed — women. The systems and social institutions that were created at a time when women did not have the same rights and value as men are still in place. The rights of women may have changed, but little has changed in the systems and institutions that inherently give men a favourable advantage. It is obvious from Ms. Bradbury’s comments that attitudes from that era are still alive and well.
Guys who are making these comments are the ones who are biased. They are in a position of male privilege and feel entitled to make these comments. They see feminism as a threat to that privilege or the opportunities it presents and so they throw tantrums like schoolboys.
Feminism is not trying to strip their rights away or make them lesser people. Feminism is not trying to make women “better” than men, although it does try to make things better than they are. The reason there isn’t a charity for male victims of spousal violence is because “seven in 10 people who experience family violence are women and girls” and “women were 10 times more likely than men to be the victim of a police-reported sexual assault in 2008.” (www.canadianwomen.org)
Even with the statistics, feminism doesn’t have a rule that men can’t have a shelter from domestic abuse; in fact, I challenge those men complaining to start one. Another reason that shelters were not traditionally needed for men was because typically, and in most cases even today, men were the “breadwinners,” or made more than their female partners and therefore could afford to stay somewhere else or even remain where they were, refusing to leave the home because their name was on the lease or mortgage. Each is an example of male privilege, regardless if it is intentional or not.
With all this being said, even if people still disagree with feminism, it is abhorrent to do it in a chauvinistic, ignorant and hateful way. Be better than that.
Brad Richards, St. John’s