This male teacher is a feminist, a rather unabashed one at that.
Now, before you think that this is an unmanly stance to adopt, I want to make sure you understand what I mean by “feminist.” I mean that I believe that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities in our world.
In fact, to tell you the truth, I come by it rather naturally.
I was raised by two women after a divorce who were presented with obstacles because of their gender and the roles that they were “supposed” to play in society. They took me to all of my ball games and practices. They sent me to school. They taught me how to treat people.
I watched how my aunt and uncle raised two strong daughters who are both tough, independent, and resilient.
I am married to the strongest woman I know. And she is the daughter of another strong woman.
They all have debunked gender myths and taught me that being a feminist is right and just and something that a strong man can and should be, especially if he is the father of a young lady in this world who is coming into her own and has the intelligence and the ability to see the world for what it is and fight for what she sees as important.
And that young lady is a student in my school. She sees how I treat all students on a daily basis. She knows what works of literature that I teach on a yearly basis. She reads them as well, not because they are assigned, but because they have merit.
I can only hope that I as a teacher and role model have set at least some sort of example to my students about how to treat each other in this world. That is the reason that I teach certain works of literature the way that I do. That’s because I want the young ladies in my class to realize that women have always been agents of change; they have been the constant, the backbone, the foundation for so many stories in a male-dominated society.
In fact, I argue that some of our greatest male writers were feminists in their own right.
- Think of Shakespeare’s Rosalind, Viola, Portia, and Imogen.
- Think of Chaucer’s Wife of Bath.
- Think of Hawthorne’s Hester Prynne.
- Think of Homer’s Penelope.
The list goes on.
Now think of the #MeToo Movement. The Marches for Women. And look how many women are running for public office .
There are so many things that I want to try and impart to students or at least make them aware that they can obtain them, not least are a sense of self and self-worth. No one has to accept being objectified or looked down upon because you are a woman.
And there are many other men who feel the way I do and gladly call themselves a feminist.