Don’t worship me, bro!
I’ve recently run across a video called “Dear Women,” put out by a group called Conscious Men. The video is embedded below.
I should say now that I appreciate the sentiment of the video. I really do. Women have been systematically excluded from positions of power and been sexually exploited for…ever. That said, I fear that Conscious Men are idealizing women, and this is a mistake.
The video goes on and on about our (i.e. women’s) “intuitive sense” and “profound capacity for feeling.” This does nothing but play to the stereotypes of the sensitive woman. Indeed, we certainly have many different perspectives that need to be heard. But the video makes it seem like women have tapped into some spiritual pathway that men cannot access, which is nothing but new-age baloney. The video also states that it is “rare to find an invasion or war instigated by women.” Of course it’s rare. It’s not often that women are national leaders, with the military capacity for such a thing.
I was tempted to ignore the pigeon-holing as just flowery language; a work of prose intended to make the point that men need to shut up and listen. But on their website, Conscious Men state that they “worship women.”
Here’s the thing, I don’t want to be worshiped. I do not claim to speak for all of woman-kind (or all of Skepchick-kind, for that matter), but I have to say that the concept makes me uncomfortable.
There is simply no reason to worship women, no more than there is any reason to worship men. Women are not inherently holy, nor good stewards of life. We just haven’t been given the chance to screw things up. If women had run the world from the beginning, I would be willing to bet that we would still have wars and still destroy the environment. (God may have been female, though.)
We’re not a gender of saints, and we are not a gender of sinners. We have racists, environmentalists, fundamentalists, atheists, liberals, conservatives, coffee-drinkers and scone-eaters. We have dark skin and light skin and harbor irrational prejudices, just like men.
Feminism – as I understand it – is not about proving that women are better than men, or about women’s dominance over men. It’s rooted in the concept that women and men deserve equal dignity. And we will not achieve anything close to gender equality if men are not involved in the fight.
And I think – behind the soothing music and disconcerting eye contact – that is the point of the video. It recognizes that men have been benefiting from conscious and unconscious sexism for millennia, and that men have an important role in stopping it. But please, don’t put us on a pedestal. That does not reflect kindly on any of us.
Women are not supernatural beings. If Conscious Men’s apology is sincere, just treat us as equals, recognize past discrimination and seek to make up for it, and I think we’ll get along just fine.