by William Skink
Women will be marching on Helena this weekend, and men are welcome to join them, as this post at ID implores us men to do, but I won’t be joining the march for a variety of reasons.
Before getting to that, let me say I support women’s rights. I don’t intend to diminish the perception of increased threat women are experiencing after the legitimate election of Donald Trump.
One of the reasons I refuse to participate in this march is because Donald Trump’s rise to power was directly enabled by the narrowly defined, gender-centric identity campaign Hillary and her supporters waged.
Substantive criticism of Hillary was immediately dismissed as sexist. Men who chose to support Bernie were labeled by a coordinated smear campaign as Bernie Bros. Privileged white women even turned on other women who dared to consider alternatives to supporting Hillary.
And now, tomorrow, the consequence of prioritizing a symbolic token victory for womenkind is being fully realized. Yet instead of reflecting on the failed strategy of identity politics, the boogeyman Vlad is scapegoated as the male villain responsible for destroying poor Hillary’s coronation, along with all those angry sexist men–like me, obviously–who refused to vote for her.
My political reasoning for not attending this march is rhetorical, but the real reason I’m not going is practical. The logistics of a road trip with two boys, a baby and a puppy just to register my disdain at an incoming president those at the rally had an unacknowledged role in electing is not how I want to spend a Saturday.
You might be surprised to hear me, a man, talk about family. According to the stated opinion of a Missoula City Councilperson articulated in last week’s Indy, men just aren’t as “geared toward family” as women are:
In the dwindling light of a December evening, a woman pushed a blanket-covered stroller along the narrow, icy shoulder of Russell Street. Councilwoman Emily Bentley, driving to the gym, noticed her. Bentley could see the woman wasn’t wearing gloves. She had probably just gotten off a bus.
Bentley says that woman comes to mind when she sits in Council chambers, debating issues of infrastructure and housing. She wonders if the stranger’s image resonates so acutely because Bentley herself has two kids at home.
“Women see things differently,” Bentley says. “Well, I’m not a man, so I don’t know if I see things differently from men, but I feel like my perspective is much more geared toward families. I’m a young mother, so that’s what my perspective is.”
I wonder if Bentley would say the same thing about the young mother I called Child Protective Services on because of the condition of the apartment I found her baby in. I’m talking pills on the table, drug paraphernalia, urine soaked carpet, trash everywhere and “adults” so debilitated they didn’t notice the baby crawling out an open door to the 3rd floor walkway.
And then I think of my friend who is a single dad raising two girls with barely any support from his partner. The offensive gender-stereotyping Bentley is asserting certainly doesn’t hold true in his situation.
I know lots of women probably feel cheated out of dancing on the shards of the glass ceiling they expected Hillary to shatter. The most glaring problem, at least for me, is the cost many of these women were willing to accept in order to achieve this milestone.
The cost includes worsening the lives of women in Honduras, women in Libya, women on welfare, women who birth super predator sons and women sexually abused by Hillary’s husband.
For those who show up in Helena on Saturday, I hope the march is cathartic and empowering. I also hope you don’t dismiss my perspective because I was born with a penis and abstained from voting for a sociopath (the one with the vagina, not the little cock).