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Bibles and Feminists

by Dear Jon
March 26, 2002

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Sort 127_Dear Jon-Bibles and Feminists ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon, the gender specialist,

What is good for the goose is good for the gander, they say. Does this mean that if we should address the shipping industry with gender neutralization, should we also go along with the same efforts that some are spending on the Holy Bible? Of course, we get into language translation issues here, and must go much further back than King James of England.

Nomen Clature


Dear Nomen,

I do not recall anyone referring to the Bible, or books in general, as "he." Books are "it." I believe this was the case even during the time of King James.


ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

As a qualified voter in this poll,is it possible to note my opinion that Dear Jon is a closet feminist?

QV


Dear QV,

"Closet feminist" is not an option in the poll, as you can see, so you have no place to register that opinion.

I am curious about a few things: Can a man be a feminist by supporting the cause of feminism, or do I misunderstand the definition and only women can be feminists?

If a man is a closet feminist does that mean he is a chauvinist pig in public, and are you calling me a chauvinist pig?

Which feminism do you mean? If you mean the kind of feminism in which women are given equal pay for equal work and can be expected to responsibly perform the duties of executive leadership including in the White House, then yes, I suppose I am a feminist.

If you mean the kind of feminism that cannot laugh at a little joke about ships, then no, I am not that kind of feminist.

If you mean the kind of feminism where spouses consult each other for agreement on decisions large and small, then yes, I suppose I am a feminist.

If you mean the kind of feminism where cities are sued to reduce the physical requirements for women so that they can become firefighters, then no. I am nearly two hundred pounds and I can vividly imagine being caught with a broken leg on an upper story of a burning three-flat. I want any firefighter, male or female, to be able to carry me. So I guess I am not that kind of feminist.

If you mean the kind of feminism that assures girls in high school that they can stand on their own, independent from exploitive or abusive boyfriends, then I am absolutely that kind of feminist.

If you mean the kind of feminism that hates men and views sexuality as vile, then no, I am not that kind of feminist.

If you mean the kind of feminism that permits liberated women to pursue nurturing roles within the framework of a nuclear family, I say let them be empowered.

If you mean the kind of feminism that decries the nuclear family as oppressive and reviles the dignity of women in nurturing roles, then I say let them find their own laces for their combat boots.

If you mean the kind of feminism where a liberated woman will continue to provide while her husband provides nurture to the children, I am that kind of feminist. I can also say that I have seen too many relationships where the woman has been both provider and nurturer, and the men in her life have been sponges. I have also heard the complaints of women with "traditional" values who are thrust into provider roles because their husbands are unemployed. These women view their husbands as failures and the tension is thick. It does not take much to make a guy feel emasculated. So I say, be liberated but be genuine.

If you mean the kind of feminism that sees the relationship between male and female as an allegory of the relationship between fish and bicycles, then no, I am not that kind of feminist.

If as a woman you think you are a radical feminist but you have been married for, say, 25 years, your feminism is probably one I can cope with. Also, congratulations on your promotion; it's about time the glass ceiling shattered. If, however, you met your Lesbian mate for life through the book club at a store with a name like "Lillith's Revolution," your feminism is probably just a little bit more than I can stomach, even in a closet. But don't be discouraged; with your latest article on "Castration and Justice in the Writings of Melville" you are bound to get put on the tenure track.

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