Sunday, March 6, 2011


Today, the church I attend will begin its celebration of Women's History Month. I do not oppose highlighting the contributions women have made, which are many and many more than are recognized even in such a highlight as a dedicated month provides. After all, there would be no history without women.

I will not say that I am utterly without bias. I know that, due to my upbringing and the context in which that upbringing occurred, I have some chauvinist tendencies, though they manifest more in terms of what I must do than in what I expect to be done (my beloved wife tells me so, and I am not about to believe that she lies to me, which is, perhaps, a chauvinist attitude). But I do work to oppose those tendencies as they apply to other people. I oppose the overly simple virgin/whore dichotomy that pervades traditional Western thought (for one, there is a third category even in that thought-scheme, that of the chaste wife). I do very much believe in the evaluation of people's fitness by their performance--period. I also believe that women should have just as much opportunity for advancement, though I was taught by my dear, sainted mother, herself an honorably-discharged veteran of the United States Navy, that equal opportunity ought also to entail equal obligation.

I also oppose the relabeling of "history" as "herstory." I understand the word-play at work, but, like any such device, overuse makes an annoyance--and "herstory" gets overused. Just because there is a coincidence of a particulate "his" in the word does not mean that the word corresponds to one of the few remaining indicators of grammatical gender in modern English. Nor is it necessarily true that grammatical gender corresponds to physical gender in those languages which still display it (interestingly, the German for "maiden," M├Ądchen, is a neuter noun, rather than the feminine that a full association of grammatical with physical gender would expect).

Find a new joke, folks. And work towards a true equality, in which genital equipment or lack thereof has no bearing on rights or responsibilities and the demonstrated ability to do what needs doing is paramount.

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