Feminism was pretty much unheard of in our family. We had other problems: looking after my aging grandmother and dealing with the various crises of my cousins took all our familial energy. I worked hard at school and spent my spare time doing typical boy stuff: building radios and model aeroplanes, messing around with computers and electronics, and hanging out with a retired wartime engineer who was something of a father figure and mentor for me.
I went to and old-school boys’ school where we sang the old-school Anglican hymns such as Fight the Good Fight.
I worked in various paid jobs while I was a high school and A-Level student, because I needed the money. We were not rich and in the intricate structure of the English class system, we were somewhere between lower middle class and upper working class. The women I worked with were ‘normal’ and nobody talked about feminism.
When I went to University, I was quite naive and rather uncultured. I was thrown into a middle class, moneyed environment and I felt out of place, but being Edinburgh, I had a lot of opportunities to soak up the best of Western culture: opera; symphonies; a very wide denominational range of churches etc. Edinburgh was where I met Christ too. That city has a huge place in my heart and it seems I return in my dreams almost every night.
Growing up, I had witnessed a lot of sexual chaos in my wider family, and I wanted to avoid it. I decided early on that I wouldn’t go out with girls I didn’t feel I could potentially marry. I was serious-minded about that: I didn’t want to waste my time on random flings and deal with all the emotional chaos I saw around me.
My first relationship was with Louise. We had been really good friends for a year before we started ‘going out’ because even though it was obvious to all that we had mutual feelings, I was scared of getting too involved.
When we went from friends to ‘an item’, the dynamic between us changed. Instead of being equals, suddenly, I found myself expected to be subservient to her wishes. I overheard her talking to a flat-mate about getting me ‘under the thumb’. When I visited her family, I saw how sad her father was and how dominant her mother was. He spent more time with his classic car that with his wife, and I could see why. Louise told me he was ‘under the thumb’.
I didn’t want to become sad and subservient so I ended the relationship.
The next girl I fell in love with was Susan. Susan was a Feminist. She, too, wanted to dominate. Who wants to live a life dominated by another person? I saw the signs early and ended that relationship too before I got in too deep.
I wondered if I had a problem with women?
But when I talked about it with my closest friends, we all agreed that these two girls were treating the relationship like a power struggle.
That is what Feminism is: a power struggle that men must not be allowed to win. On the surface, it is about ‘equality’. In reality, it is about dominance.
I became aware of the huge number of sad, dominated men, following their bright, lively wives around. That was not the life I wanted for myself.
I eventually married Liz: I will draw a veil over that failed marriage as to speak about it is potentially hurtful to my children, and I do not like to wash my dirty linen in public.
It wasn’t until I met Polly, a traditional Theravada Buddhist from Thailand, that I experienced a relationship with the kind of strong woman I am attracted to that wasn’t a power struggle, because her strength is oriented towards her family.
Back in my Edinburgh days, I attended an Anglican church that had a feminist Deacon-in-Charge. She flirted with me a lot (a metoo story?) and talked a lot about non-hierarchical structures. However, non-hierarchy only went one way. She didn’t want to be accountable to anyone but she wanted the congregation to be accountable to her. There were a lot of subtle power games going on. She sought power in the Church. She seemed no different from other power-hungry clergy I had met despite her talk of ‘non-hierarchical structures’.
I have met many ardently feminist women and there are some striking patterns: she is from a privileged background; she has had a tyrannical or abusive father; she has inherited her father’s tyrannical nature but feels guilty about it and projects it; her strength is for her own selfish purpose, not for her family; she is continually angry. When she attains a position of power, she acts tyrannically, ignoring structures of accountability and hierarchies of competence, seeing every situation through her feminist, anti-male lens.
The Book of Proverbs in the Bible describes the ideal wife as a woman who is able to go out and make good business deals for her family: i.e. a strong, capable woman, who uses her strength for the sake of her family. This is an archetype that the strong independent angry egotistical feminist bent on tyranny would do well to meditate upon!