Tuesday, April 27, 2004

And lately it seems that as it all gets tougher. Your idea of justice just becomes rougher and rougher.

Once, while I was enjoying a cigarette break at an old employer, I was sat in the canteen with two female colleagues. I can't remember the actual topic of the conversation but I took great exception to one statement.

The statement was: "All men are potential rapists".

I had heard the line before. It's an old feminist piece of rhetoric and it never fails to annoy me.

I am not a potential rapist. It is an act that is not within me. It is also an act that is not within most men. Just as the act of child battering is not within most women. Yes, I have the equipment to be a rapist, but certainly not the potential.

Now let me put this in black and white for the record before I start:

I am pro choice. I believe in equality. I believe that we need more women in the top jobs in this country. I believe we need more employers to provide creches so this can be achieved. I believe in equal pay for women at all levels of business. I believe that violence against women is abhorrent, just as I believe that violence is abhorrent in general.

Basically I believe in equality. And I mean just that. In other words we are equal - we are not worse. Some of us may be worse. Some women may be worse. But, people of different genders, like people of different races should not be stereotyped.

Working in public relations, I have spent a large part of my career in a female-dominated industry. I have no problem with that. Just as I have no problem with having a female boss. But what about the time when a bit of pre-meeting chat turned into one woman telling a story about her bloke and my boss retorted: "Men are such wankers". Could you imagine that being said about a woman if it was a room full of men and one woman?

Or how about the time when my boss organised a "girls night out" for the female workers? In other words, everybody but me. Would men get away with organising blokes nights while leaving the only female behind?

Or earlier in my career when I worked in a mixed office and a new female boss took over. Her first act was to set up a "glass ceiling" club to help women get promoted more quickly. All women employees met up once a month and had tea and cake while the men were left to do all the work on their own for the afternoon.

I used to work with a man-hating divorcee. She was quite senior and had a lot of young female account executives working under her. When any one of them had man trouble - whether it was them staying out late, or not doing some task around the house - she always dished out the same advice: "you should slap him".

Is that really acceptable? It's not acceptable to hit children. It's certainly not acceptable for a man to hit a women. Are these kind of double standards okay?

This post follows on from yesterday's and from what Gia has posted. I have no argument with her pro-choice stand. I am totally behind it. Just as I am totally behind the one million American women who went on the March for Women's Lives in Washington DC. All in all she writes a great blog.

But I refused to be told, as she has said in her comment box:

"The biggest choice a man has is to decide whether he makes a large purchase or not. Men's big decisions tend to revolve around money. It's easy to be detached about it."

That is simply untrue.

For example, a friend, and this is going back a few years, found out that his girlfriend was pregnant. He couldn't have been more supportive. He asked what she wanted to do, it turned out that she wanted to keep it. Now, they were both very young, both students at the time, and he knew it would be difficult.

But he took the choice to support her in her decision. I talked to him a lot at the time and he was worried about how they were going to cope. Slowly though he started to become increasingly taken with the idea of having a child. By the end of one night talking we were even thinking up names and planning the future for the child. Yes, we had a few drinks.

A couple of days later, his partner told him that she wanted a termination. He was gutted. In his mind he had already given this child a future.

Of course, he remained supportive. He helped her through the ordeal despite the fact that he was distraught himself. He never questioned her decision.

Years later I heard the song Brick by Ben Folds Five and it reminded me of what my mate went through.

So you see, abortion does affect men too. Most men are understanding that it is the woman's decision. But in this instance, not being able to make that decision, is also pretty harrowing.

Life can be hard. There are hundreds of decisions to be made along the way for both men and women. If a women decides to have a child then more than likely there will be a man who will have to support that child.

Sometimes decisions are made by someone else and you have no option but to go with whatever they decide and to it with good grace.

But I refuse to be told that men are somehow inferior, that men's lives are easy. While supporting pro-choice, it is worth remembering that if the fight against anti-abortionists is successful then women will still have that choice. In these situations men will still have no have a choice and that is tough.

And it's tough despite the fact that we all know that this is way it has to be.


Love, light and peace,

BykerSink

I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.