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Supporting equality

Guest Editorial – Eve Jeffery

The Wikipedia entry for feminism says: ‘Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes’.

David and I before we were parents: How much we thought we knew. What little we actually knew – about life and love and parenting and adulting. What little we knew about being gentle with each other when it was needed most. What little we knew about the mental health help we BOTH needed. Photo Paul West.

Yep, that’s me. Equality for all. In fact, if you took a peek at my sensis entry for ‘religion’ you’d see ‘equalitarian’, though I think it will be a while before the movement catches up to ‘Jedi’.

Equality for all, including animals (I am an annoying vegan), women, children and even men – ALL earthlings.

I had to go to Wiki to see if there was an International Men’s Day – I didn’t know if one existed. I know some of my sisters shuffle their feet and say ‘isn’t EVERY day men’s day?’, but I think if we are going to be real feminists, fighting for equality of the sexes (let’s add gender to that as well) then we need to be really equal. But wait…

The reason this occurred to me was that I was thinking about what International Women’s Day means to me. In my view, it’s a day to celebrate being a woman, but also to find out about being a woman – a good woman – and looking at ways to deal with my weaknesses, learning how to promote and develop my strengths and finding out how to help a sister out, and be helped.

International Men’s Day is just as much not about sinking beers and talking shit and watching porn as International Women’s Day is not about covens, communal menstrual bleeding, drinking chardies, talking shit and watching porn.

Mandy Nolan is abso-bloody-lutely right! The patriarchy is broken, but men most aren’t, and the ones who are, deserve help too – NOT Bettina Arndt style – they need to be able to access the types of things we celebrate on International Women’s Day.

Back to Wiki – it says International Men’s Day is an occasion to celebrate boys and men’s achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care. The broader and ultimate aim of the event is to promote basic humanitarian values.

The International Men’s Day website promotes ‘Men Leading by Example’. It continues… ‘Manhood is the foundation for fatherhood. Good men make good fathers’. I’m down with that. As a woman who had babies to a wonderful human who was also an alcoholic, who sucked at being a responsible father – who fucked up time after time ’til he died, I wish he’d had better mentors, better examples, other blokes who said: ‘Dude – pull up. You have a missus and kids. Get yourself unbroken.’

International Men’s Day seeks to address many different issues surrounding men’s mental health. If my kid’s dad had been able to access mental health help, maybe he wouldn’t be dead now. Maybe if he’d had the wonderful support that can come from an event like International Men’s Day the way women can celebrate International Women’s Day, who knows?

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8

International Men’s Day is celebrated annually on November 19.


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2 responses to “Supporting equality”

  1. Lyndsay says:

    Well said, Eve.
    There is not point in empowering women if the men are left behind and resenting us for that.
    I have had a few times recently when I’ve said to a guy “stop gaslighting me”. Those guys have backed off and been rather horrified that they could be accused of it. It has changed their behaviour and made them think.
    Having the language to describe the behaviour has been enormously useful. It immediately is understood and makes them realise that what they said and how they were talking reflected the sort of men they didn’t think they were.
    No doubt there are many women who gaslight too. I know a few in feminist circles who do just that. They have fought for the right to speak their mind and rightly are fearful of losing it. It is the same root cause as the men but does not come as easily to women. It is a need to be respected and seen as an authority. It is just as disrespectful of the other party.
    Like little children, men need not only to be told no and told why not but also to be guided towards what they should be doing instead. This is why men’s groups need to exist and be supported.
    As for Bettina Arndt… what a failure she has become. In the ‘80’s I met her and admired her. Not so now as she unpicks all that good work in her past.

  2. Thanks Eve for beginning the discussion that should be had by all parents with their kids at the same time that the same message is being promoted in schools from enrolment day 1. That both parents teach by example and their teachers are models of the example would go a long way to developing lasting and loving relationships.
    I was fortunate to have most of these respectful relationships demonstrated mostly by my parents and some but not all of my teachers. How ironic that I am in the process of making a movie where such relationships seem to have been the antithesis (read opposite) of these gender-related idealism and in fact, seem to have been characterised as a gender war! Luckily for me, both my son and daughter are my best friends.. but it was more a good outcome resulting from much hard work in the middle. I hope my movie: Snow in The Pocket will prove to be the non-ficvtion equivalent of To Kill a Mockingbird and used as in schools as a stimulus to literary and personal development secondary studies.

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