Two Good Women:

… of many, and especially well known to me:
(c) 2014, Davd

However many disputes i have with Feminism, they don’t add up to misogyny. I remember two women well, toward whom my attitude was and remains far more positive than that; and i hear and acknowledge other men’s current reports of good women.

One of the two women i especially remember was pleasant to look at, but not an eye-stopper, a tallish, athletic woman loyal to her husband, her children, and her Faith: My ‘kid’ sister.

The other i remember as quite tall, almost six feet, chunky rather than pudgy, well short of The Misandry Bubble’s “fatocalypse”, but well heavier than a Barbie doll or a lingerie model; determined, affectionate and principled; a good cook and a better philosopher: My grandmother.

I don’t remember either of them for her beauty; i remember Kid Sis as a mother and a Christian, a good gardener, cook, and tennis player, whose fatal flaw was a willingness to strain herself too much trying to do the impossible—specifically, to make a genetically handicapped child “normal.” Her tragic flaw was to carry a mother’s love beyond her strength, in two ways: That child could not be brought up to average, and her life was shortened by the stress. I believe her early death was a greater tragedy for the family, than the child’s handicap.

I remember Grandmother as pastor of a successful “evangelical” church, as a fine speaker who had a sympathetic ear for honest people of all ages, rich and poor—but scant patience for liars and frauds. Perhaps she’s the source from which i picked up such attitudes (and if so, thanks, Grandma!) She is definitely one major source from which i learned the lesson that a capable woman can succeed without a bureaucracy to force others to accept her. In the 1940s and ’50s, when i went to her church and saw her up there in the top spot, there were no such bureaucracies. (Seems to me that Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Pat Carney, Sheila Fraser, Helvi Sipilä, Coco Chanel, and dozens more were even more successful than Grandma, in those times before Affirmative Action.)

Her flaws were not fatal: She could “say grace” over the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys at such length that the meat cooled to eating temperature—she could take the turkey directly from the oven to the table, pray for fifteen minutes, and then start to carve, and we children who were served last might even complain the food was starting to get cold. We didn’t complain of the nature and content of the prayers… they were merely a bit too much of a good thing.

She “worked herself to death”, someone said after her funeral, serving her church—but since she died between the ages of 75 and 80, that presumed that she ought to have lived to maybe 90. My best guess is that she ought to have done what she did—worked hard in labours of love, delighted in the successes of her church and of those she had preached into it, and if she died at a merely old age, not an extreme old age—well, she preached often enough that a Christian’s death was a move to improved conditions, and as a fellow Christian, i do believe hers was.

Notice, readers, that these women were women i was “born to be close to”, not selected from among hundreds but from among three1.

My larger point in writing this blog, “to repeat”, is to advocate for identifying, recognizing, and rewarding good women, be they a small or a large fraction of the population today. All women are not alike, nor are all women of equally good or bad character (nor of equal competence, beauty, charm, etc, etc... nor are all men.) My sister and grandmother may have passed on from this life, but they were not the last of the good women.

A friend i will not name, praises his wife nearly every time we meet, and especially for her “steadfastness”. Since i don’t know whether she wants to be identified, nor whether he does, i will keep back their names, and put forward only the point that good women exist, in some unknown number and percentage, even today, even with misandric laws and practices tempting them to exploit and to abuse.

It is in our interests, men, and it is in the interests of the societies in which we live; to make distinctions among women, to treat good women better than bad, to demand that women be “held to account” for their misdeeds as strictly as if they were men2; to reward them as well for their contributions as if they were men, but not better than if they were3.

That’s equality. If Feminism be for equality, that’s what Feminism will support.

 

Notes:

1. My mother, i was told years after leaving her home, by a psychiatrist and a Benedictine nun who knew more than most about my childhood, was abusive. My aunts all lived more than 1200 km from where i did, so i never got to know them very well. My other grandmother died before i reached school age… and i have sons but no daughter.

2. For instance, why did many women giggle and even cheer and placard in support of Lorena Bobbitt? Why was Valerie Solanas’ violent misandry widely praised, and was she given sympathy for her purported mental illness from many others? while a crazy man named Marc who attacked women was used as an excuse for—more misandry. Why did Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka get so different treatment from the Law? (btw, while my particular Faith opposes vengeance, Indira Gandhi got what a man who had held her office and did what she did [especially, ordered the military to attack the Golden Temple], would almost certainly have got also.)

3. It may be worth mentioning “random fluctuation”: Men aren’t all rewarded nor punished in exact proportion to their good and bad deeds. We can expect that some men will receive better, and some worse, then their deeds merit—and we usually do “put some differences down to luck.”

Well, folks, what’s sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose: Some women will receive better, and some worse, then their deeds merit—and we should “put those differences down to luck” also. Neither the misfortune of some unlucky women, nor the good fortune of some lucky men, constitutes misogyny—just “random fluctuation”.

 

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About Davd

Davd (PhD, 1966) has been a professor, a single father keeping a small commercial herb garden so as to have flexible time for his sons, and editor of _Ecoforestry_. He is a practicing Christian, and in particular an advocate of ecoforestry, self-sufficiency horticulture, and men of all faiths living together "in peace and brotherhood" for the fellowship, the efficiency, and the goodwill that sharing work so often brings.
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