Why I won't wear a white ribbon
By Jeffrey Asher
When compassion and conscience surrender to a sincere hatred, what hope have we of closing the vast gulf between women and men? It begins with cooperation, respect, and love.
1995 Montreal, QC - On 6 December 1989, Canadians were united in their horror and grief over the massacre at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. But the annual commemoration of the tragic murder of 14 women students has been exploited by the prominent feminists whose apparent objective is the alienation of women from men.
Their central propaganda claim is that Marc Lepine's murders unmasks the minds of men. Their invective proclaims that evil and violence are instinctive or imprinted into masculinity; and that fundamental male urges are the subjugation and abuse of women. Those, and similar pseudo-scientific claims have been sued as justifications for inequitable laws, anti-male sexual paranoia, and incitements to brutal revenge. Similarly, religious fanatics persecuted women as temptresses and witches. Feminists have not diagnosed Lepine as a suicidal psychopath, nor stereotyped him as a Catholic, nor as a Quebecois; but always as a man.
Since 6 December, 1990, the media and some feminist organizations have published articles and pamphlets which deliberately incited anti-male rage. The city of Vancouver has commissioned a substantial monument dedicated to: "...all the women who have been murdered by men." What would be the public or legal reaction if those gender terms were replaced with a religious or racial slander? No monument has been proposed for the devoted fathers and husbands who have supported their families with work in the mines, construction, as police officers, deep-sea fisherman or firefighters. They risk their lives every day.
Two Montreal "Take Back the Night" marchers (17 September) brandished placards proclaiming, "Dead Men Don't Rape," and "Dead Judges Don't Rule." Neither sponsoring feminist groups nor the media that reported the march offered any rebuke to those apparent incitements to murder. Had the words "men" or "judges" been replaced with epithets for homosexuals, Jews or Blacks, they would not have remained silent. Only a year ago, the sexual mutilation of a sleeping man was derided as laughable. However, ritual circumcision of girls enacted by mothers and female mutilators is accurately seen as a horror.
From the 1920s to the 1960s, below the US Mason-Dixon Line, "lynch law" was institutionalized because of nurtured beliefs that black men were driven to rape white women. Any white woman's indirect accusation was adequate for vigilante execution of a black man, by the defenders of "white civilization." Such an accusation was accepted as self-evidently true, since no lady would ever lie about such a defilement. That racist venom is estimated to have cost more than 4300 black men their lives at the end of a rope. Such are the consequences of hateful fantasy.
Any honest examination of history will show that brutality and mass homicide are not passions biologically exclusive to men. All ages have been horrified by female torturers and multiple murderers of men, women and children. The past half century contains adequate horrors committed by females: Aileen Wuornos, Dorothea Puente (USA), Karla Homolka (Can.), Rosetta Cutolo (Italy), Beverly Allitt, Myra Hindley (UK), and the Nazi "Beasts of Belsen." Women should justifiably denounce any stereotyping of them as potential serial murderers.
Why have moral women remained silent as leading feminists condemned men's consciousness as inflamed with "testosterone-induced violence"? Such rationales easily become law. The Supreme Court has endorsed "self-defense" murders of unarmed and sleeping men, after their spouses claim the "battered woman" psychiatric defense. Future irrational and vengeful minds should not be provoked into violence by irresponsible journalists and activists, cloaked in the self-righteous garb of feminism.
Anti-male bigotry displays the basic ingredients of hatred. A persecution theory based on a universal "Patriarchy" has been fabricated with contrived data, myths, and outright lies. The dogma of such propagandists excludes any sincere effort to understand and resolve the complex problems inherent in human relations in stressful times. Respect for the rights of all human beings requires that women and men of conscience speak out against expressions and acts of hatred.
On 11 November, I wear a poppy to mourn millions of civilians and combatants who were slaughtered in wars over the centuries. Patriotism led many men to volunteer, but most soldiers were forced to fight. Their bodies were mutilated or their lives were courageously lost. The justifications claimed by church and state were always exalted, but all were preventable deaths. The poppy should remind us that we must always work to prevent the ultimate crime - war.
Women bear no collective responsibility for their passive or enthusiastic support for wars. Nor are women guilty for the wars begun by female heads of state, such as Margaret Thatcher, Isabel Peron, Jiang Quing, T'zu hsi, Christina Vasa, Catherine II, Boadicea, Cleopatra VII, and Hatsheput. Men also bear no collective guilt for the slaughters perpetrated by governments which conscripted them into battle. Nor are men responsible for a mass murder by a psychopath, regardless of his deranged claims.
All hatred is terrifying because it is sincere. Hatred permits cruelty to others with a righteous conscience. By humiliating and condemning all men for women's legitimate grievances, an anti-male hate campaign is likely to justify and entrench malice against any scapegoat. The lives of women and men are intimately woven together, and harm to either sex must be suffered by the other. Anti-male hatred causes grief to most wives, lovers, daughters, sisters, and mothers. They care deeply about the men who are inseparable from their daily lives.
The white ribbon is a mark of shame that has no place among rational and compassionate men and women. Men and women must commit their consciences and hearts to closing the vast gulf that has been cut between them by sexist opportunists. We must begin to fill it with cooperation, respect, and love.
Aam Jones kindly permitted use of his title; and thanks to him and Ferrel Christensen for inspiration.
Jeffrey Asher is a college teacher, father and grandfather in Montreal.