As I frequently do, I use the debates and ideas always present here on Feministing and transform them into the basis of a blog post. I should add that I crosspost all of my substantive entries to Daily Kos. Periodically my Kos diaries end up being rescued and put up on the front page for several hours. It pleases me greatly when I receive this great honor, and indeed, earlier in the week I received one such recommended diary mention.
Bragging on myself, however, is not exactly the reason why I am writing this post. Frequently I receive some backlash when I, being male, write about Feminist issues. Unsurprisingly, most of it is from men who feel as though I'm somehow forfeiting my masculinity or that all I need is just a heavy dose of teh man to make me see the error of my ways. This implication is present in the comments I get online or, most recently, the anonymous person who "invited" me to a web group devoted to men who drive motorcycles.
To be sure, I am more or less used to this. I also recognize that any of us who deliberately claim the label of feminist is going to get a good bit of criticism and personal attacks. If I were a woman, I'd probably get ten times the abuse. Many of you have been called "man-haters", "Femi-nazis", "bitches", or even worse. And we all know going forward that these sorts of comments are unlikely to go away any time soon. If I had feminine mannerisms, a higher voice, or anything about me that could be considered effeminate in the least, I'd open myself for even greater, even crueler insult. Such is the struggle in which each of us find ourselves.
If "Christian" is the label I claim for myself or if I make Christian allusions, then I know I will receive some snap judgments from other people. Some will assume I'm one of those scary Evangelical types or that I'm out to push my faith down someone else's throat in some kind of pushy high-pressure sales pitch. The reality is that Jesus himself in his time on Earth was alternately feared, revered, and not taken seriously. Lest I forget, the first Christians were often persecuted and sometimes killed for daring to practice their religion in public, not private. Though these days we need not worry about being put to death for being Feminists, at least here in the United States, we know we could easily go underground where the criticism would be less virulent. But, we dare to speak our minds openly, despite the risk involved.
My fellow sisters and brothers, keep fighting. I know the battle is difficult, the work is challenging, and that often we can't even seem to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes the problem looks so vast that one hardly knows where to begin. But do know that you, each of you, have enriched my understanding and my life one hundred fold. You have opened my mind and opened my heart. What others fail to understand is that I have not forfeited any part of myself in this endeavor, rather I have made great gains that I wish they could really observe for themselves.
My thoughts turn to Dr. King's final public address given in Memphis. He said,
"We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.
And I don’t mind...
I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land... I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!"