Of my two parents, one (no longer living) was a misogynistic, manipulative, abusive monster, with a list of surviving victims longer than this entire blog-post. My mother, however, is living, and has always been a feminist. I was raised by one loving, feminist parent, while constantly doing mental, verbal, and sometimes even physical battle, in self-defense, against my other parent — as a matter of survival.
This accounts, I am certain, with the fact that, to this day, it is far easier for me to form friendships with women than with men. Simply put, it is difficult for me to trust men. Men commit an overwhelming majority of the murders which happen, as well as virtually all of the rapes, and it is male politicians, as a rule, who start most — perhaps all — of the world’s far-too-numerous wars, both in the present, and the past. When one’s earliest memory is having one’s mother save one’s own life, from death by shaken baby syndrome, at age 2 ½, inflicted by one’s own father, there is no escape from lifelong psychological fallout from such a traumatic event. This is my earliest memory, and one of the causes of my PTSD, with which I will have to struggle with for the rest of my life, for this condition, unfortunately, has no cure.
When my parents (finally) divorced, around my 20th birthday, I actually went to the trouble (and expense) to legally change my last name to my mother’s maiden name, and I did this to show everyone whose side I was on — and to shed a surname which I associate, to this day, only with negative things in my life. I regret nothing about this decision. I am glad that the monster found out about this name-change, shortly after I did it, for he deserved the pain I deliberately inflicted on him by this action.
I can follow exactly half of the Biblical commandment to “Honor thy father and they mother” (Exodus 20:12), but I cannot follow the other half, for this particular monster had no honor, nor did he deserve any, now, or at any time I can remember.
I also regret nothing about the fact that my deceased parent — the monster — is no longer able to hurt anyone, since what’s left of him is, well, underground, in the literal sense of the word. I did not attend the monster’s funeral, nor was I saddened, even in the slightest, when I learned of his death. He is completely unmourned by me — and I make no apologies for any of these things.
I do not speak, nor do I write, my original last name. There are over 1400 posts on this blog, and that name appears in none of them. The reason is simple: it is not my name.
I completely agree with Rebecca West’s perfectly-reasonable definition of feminism, shown above, and, since I do subscribe to the “radical notion” that women are actually people, I see no problem whatsoever with applying the word “feminist” to myself. I’m male, after all, only as an accident of birth, and am not going to let that “coin-flip” keep me from adopting labels of my own choosing. “Feminist” is a label I wear with pride, and for highly personal reasons, as explained above. I always have been, and will remain, opposed to any efforts (such as those from the radical religious right in America) to oppress the female majority of the population. If those efforts end up destroying the Republican Party in America — which will happen, unless they reform themselves first — then Republicans will have no one to blame but themselves, and their willingness to tolerate extreme misogyny among their own ranks.