I’m white, male, heterosexual, Mormon, a former cop, American, politically immature and, according to any number of past employee evaluations, irresponsible and thoughtless.
Because of my unfortunate condition(s), I tend to shy away from politically charged conversations. Past experiences have taught me that my condition is considered by some as incurable and pitiable.
To those people, let me just say in the most apologetic and groveling words a guy like me can muster, “Go pound sand.”
With that out of the way, let’s discuss International Women’s Day, which was last Thursday. It was celebrated by women all over the world — except, of course, in places where men are still misogynistic jerks.
I celebrated International Women’s Day, too. What’s that? Yes, despite my unfortunate condition, I support efforts for women to achieve parity on all fronts.
Women should be allowed to do whatever they choose as long as they’re capable, qualified and trained, and it’s not just because they’re women. Politics is nice, but reality is better.
Regardless of gender, all humans’ potential for improving themselves and the world needs to be honored.
I wasn’t always this considerate. Not surprisingly, I used to be a male chauvinist. I was a product of my time. Gender roles during the 1950s and ’60s were distinct and rigidly enforced.
Back then, I thought girls were important — who else would have the babies? — but substantially different to make them incapable of doing important guy things such as flying rockets, leading bayonet charges and engaging in shootouts.
Girls weren’t tough enough to do the things for which boys were naturally fitted. They should know their place and stay there. Hell, I wasn’t having tea parties and pretending to be a princess in my tree fort. They had no business having gunfights or throwing mud at passing cars.
Then the change began. The first crack in my superior attitude toward women started in, of all places, my glasses.
One afternoon, in fifth grade, a schoolyard lummox named Nancy punched me in the face for suggesting that she might be a species of previously unidentified ape.
I had to wear idiot tape on my glasses until my parents could afford a new pair. I used the time to come to terms with the reality that being a boy did not automatically make me physically superior to all girls.
Neither did anything else I was capable of bringing to the gender table, including talent and intelligence. The older I got, the more I realized that I could be outclassed by a girl in just about everything.
Note: I don’t count the time three girls and a female teacher got me to go into a stairwell and remove a dead snake. It took a few days, but eventually I realized that I had been played; that they had harnessed my imagined superiority for their own use.
It wasn’t: “Oh, Bobby, please rescue us from that scary snake,” but rather, “Hey, here’s a dimwit we can use.”
Any sexist attitudes that I still clung to in my late teens were battered and stripped away by the girlfriends I had. They may have been short on self-respect, but they weren’t about to put up with any chauvinism.
I then met my wife, who I already knew was better than me in every possible way except killing gophers with a blowgun.
But it wasn’t until I had only daughters and mostly granddaughters that I started paying attention to the crap women were fighting against and became the clumsy feminist I am today.
Happy belated International Women’s Day. Nobody better get in the way of my girls.