I want to share the email I received from Larry, an informed and enlightened guy who gets it! Larry deserves to be applauded and all men like him! Here goes...
Last night, CARE had a fundraiser to support women all over the world, in their efforts to organize and fight poverty, hunger, discrimination, ignorance, ethnic hatred, and lack of medical awareness and care. It was called "A Powerful Noise," and featured a documentary by that name, and a live
panel discussion at Hunter College in New York City. It was broadcast to movietheaters all over the country, which is where I got to see it.
The most salient thing I noticed about the documentary, was the enormous gymnastics the producers had to go through, in order to avoid saying that "men are the enemy." And yet every problem that was presented was caused by men: economies drained by warfare, squandering money for personal pleasure rather than for caring for one's family, keeping people ignorant about AIDS, keeping women from education, forced marriages at an early age, women owning only 1 percent of the world's land, while doing most of the back breaking farming work, and so on. Maybe men aren't the enemy, but after seeing this
documentary, it's pretty clear that a lot of men are. The producers justdidn't want to say it.
Fortunately, participants in the panel discussion were not as polite. The word "sexism" was used, as the cause of all of these problems. The token male participant talked about how rape was not just a by-product of war, but a deliberate strategy that devastated an enemy without leaving a body count, and with the victims left in shame.
During the 1970's, when women were becoming more articulate about what was oppressing them, they were silenced by the charge of "man hating." It seemed to have worked. "Feminism" almost became a dirty word during the Reagan era. So it's understandable why the producers went to great lengths to avoid that accusation.
Perhaps the documentary was more effective, in it's not stating the obvious. I remember F. Lee Bailey saying that he would never give a jury all of the pieces, but give it room to come to it's own conclusion. However, I kept thinking how different it would have been, if Michael Moore did it. Certainly the author of "Stupid White Men" would have artfully honed the material to focus on the one point that the producers avoided. And he would have been hated for it.
When I left the event, I realized that perhaps this is where men might fit into the picture. Saying those things that women have been beaten-up (figuratively and literally) for saying. Men are the root of most of the evil in this world. We are taught from the cradle that we are not men unless we can exert dominance over women, other men, and nature. Our patriarchal religions exist to support those goals. The sooner we become globally aware of the problem with men, the sooner we can do something about it, And the sooner those wonderful organizing women in all of those countries will achieve their goals regarding discrimination, education, poverty, and health care.