Making space for women: The Feminist Dad manifesto

Contrary to what Beyonce tries to tell you, men run the world. Look at the Run the World music video as an example. “Queen B” uses provocative dance and revealing clothes to bring her message of female domination across. If, as she so boldly claims, women did control the world then surely there could’ve been a more sophisticated way to deliver the message. Something more elegant that emphasises the more feminine side of dominance. You know, like a hand rocking a cradle, or arms embracing a child, or even Hellen of Troy launching a thousand ships. Instead she takes the path of least resistance and panders to the most influetial members of society by putting her wares on show.

Why does the current poster girl for female domination choose this route whenever she preaches to her choir? Because the marketing men tell her to. Beyonce is in the unfortunate position of being moderately talented and pretty. Unfortunate because it makes her a marketable commodity who is open to being used as a pawn.

Wipe the coffee off your screen and let me explain. See, my wife is a strong woman; physically and philosophically. She can chop wood and has lasteda decade of my constant attacks on her faith without flinching. She breastfed for three months and then continued to do the middle of the night wake ups when spawn gets restless, she makes decisions and is my pillar of support through everything. I don’t dictate to her and make a conscious effort to allow her to live an independent life. I say a conscious effort, but it’s only conscious because she comes from a family of many women who play traditional female roles and aren’t really equal to their husbands.

I say the above with all respect, but if the husband is considered the head of the household and makes the bulk of family decisions, that automatically demotes the interests of the wife to a lower priority.

My wife still says she sees me as the head of the household and weights my opinions and decisions as higher than her own, but that’s an unfortunate hangover of her otherwise spectacular upbringning.

My slightly counter-intuitive point is then this: as the traditionally more dominant sex, the onus is on men to shape the role of future women by making space for them to be in leadership roles. It needs to be a clear idea in the mind of all women that they are equal in all spheres of life and even superior in others. Men need to indicate that women can be more than physically attractive to be recognised by renouncing them in the instances where they use traditional ways of appealing to men to get a point across.

It’s a powerful thought to have the assumed ability to empower someone, but unlike the way in which South Africa was liberated, men must clear the room when women are willing and able to use the freedoms granted to them.

I’ve spoken before about my attempts to raise my daughter in a world where women occupy all the influential roles in her life, but I’ve realised that my feminist ambitions started long before I became a dad. I love my wife because she challenges me and although some men might see her as being disrespectful, or me as being too timid, I know it’s for the greater good.

To conclude about the Beyonce thing, it’s true that she should be admired for making good use of all the freedoms granted to her by the men who run her world, but in the same breathe her interpretation of the power she gains from that freedom. Why serve up the same product that they would’ve made you make?

Actions change perceptions and I vow to open more doors for women and step aside as they rule the room.