Get up, Stand up
July 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
The day before I turned 34, I was riding the ferry home to the island following a long trip to Vancouver and picked up a copy of BC Bookworld. Inside, I read news that a local writer, Brian Brett, was recently awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence for his memoir “Trauma Farm”.
The excerpt in the magazine read:
“As the ninth recipient of the LG Award, Brett got a strong response from the audience for saying the honour he was accepting had not been accorded to a woman since P.K. Page was the first recipient in 2004.
I love to read the stories of men who stand up for women — they’re out there; they’re everywhere.
Realisation. My feminism includes men, lives inside the hearts of men. Men who value justice and equality and human potential. These men are everywhere but rarely do we take note of them, rarely do we notice how… — sorry I have to say it — how beautiful they are. Remember, they don’t experience the injustices that women experience. They may experience injustices for other reasons but not because they are men, unlike women who around the world experience injustices simply because they are women. These men stand up for what they believe in because they want to see a different world where their colleagues and lovers and friends are allowed their full potentials as human beings.
On the second little ferry that I took home to Salt Spring island later in the evening, I was offered a ride home from a zen teacher and writer. On the way down those familiar country roads he told me of the years he spent translating an important Japanese poet into English and of how this ancient thinker believed that men and women were equal in every respect. If the words of this teacher could gain more exposure, it would change the world, he told me.
He said that when he was a child growing up on the east coast of the USA, his culture taught him to stand up when women entered the room. Women back then had no power, he told me, but they were respected.
He was taught to stand up for women. Today this gesture isn’t necessary, and yet, there are men who are still standing up for women all over the place, standing up with their voices andtheir words, and their ideas and their vision of a world of equality in all cultures, countries and families.
I remember that feminism is about the possibilities of love. I remember that men and women are partners in the long journey home.