Some of the Greatest Feminists I Know Are Men

Men get a bad rap.

[Cue the hate mail!]

Lumping people together as one stereotyped conglomeration of any gender, race, religious affiliation or belief system is a massive mistake.
All women aren’t bitches.
All Christians aren’t right wing.
All gay women aren’t butchy.
And all men aren’t patriarchal and controlling.

Some of the most enthusiastic and encouraging feminists I know are men. 

IMG_4584 (1)
Beverly Keeshig-Soonias and her husband Rod (centre couple) flanked by my administration team and the biggest, kindest, most heart centred group of men I’ve ever worked with.       (R-L: Carlin , Justin, Maynard and me)  These men are the human services for children and families heart and soul behind Heritage Family Services Red Deer & Ft. McMurray and Relationship Inspired Learning and Development.

Simple Definition of feminism
: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
: organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests

So, FIRST – Beverly was recognized at the 2016 Women of Excellence Awards in Red Deer on June 1 for her work in the human services sector. She is an aboriginal woman and member of Chippewas of Nawach First Nation. She is married to Rod Soonias, LLB of Red Pheasant First Nation. She became a lawyer and then a registered psychologist and has devoted her career to the healing of children, youth and families – working extensively with inter-generational trauma, the effects of the 60’s Scoop and Residential Schools experience, addictions and abuse.

Second – the evening is a celebration of community contributions and achievements by women. The awards event was set up to raise funds for programs that serve women and girls in central Alberta. Next year will be the 10th Awards event.

As long as women are marginalized world-wide – these kinds of celebrations [and conversations and advocacy] will be useful and important. Women still face enormous barriers that simply shouldn’t exist anymore. They are still emotionally and physically controlled by government, by corporations and by men. Inequality [salaries, sexuality, education and personal freedom…] still reigns supreme in every corner of the world, to varying degrees of severity.

But, [the lumped together] collective “MEN” generally face a stereotyped demonization as perpetrators that is simply not fair, not enlightened and not true for all. 

Almost every woman who took their place on the stage to say thank you for their WoE award recognition for excellence in their field of expertise (12 categories in all including education, arts, environment, business, community building, lifetime achievement and others) stated boldly that the life she was privileged to live was directly related to the support and encouragement she’d received from her husband, partner, brothers or father.

And for me, as you may know already – the life I enjoy – the things I do – the amount of myself I am able to inject into my family, my career, my writing, my community – I do with the blessing and encouragement and support of my man.

Which brings me to the men I work with … 

These are men who lead an organization that works to serve children and youth and families in times of abandonment, neglect and abuse. These are men who lead women – and other heart-centred, beautiful men – to provide care to and for those who have suffered the worst traumas life can hand out. 

These men are husbands and fathers and foster parents and teachers and leaders and lovers and fighters and believers of the most sincere kind. They are inspirational to watch in their quest to learn and serve and affect positive change in the lives of those they come in contact with.

I am included in the circle – my contributions are appreciated and validated and sought and welcomed. There is no separation of sex with them. And they are NOT the only men out there who see women as people; smart, inspirational, and strong people, capable of influencing great change, increased prosperity and stronger organizations.

The teeny tiny pragmatist in me understand I am just damn lucky that this is my experience. (Keep in mind, I’ve lived the other side of this experience, too!) 

The eternal optimist in me knows beyond a shadow of a doubt through my life experiences and connections and professional networks that we, as humans, continue to wake up to our potential to be inclusive, to invoke healing and fairness and equality and to make the world better for all – even if it is only one person at a time.

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