I wonder how many women are feeling like I do, especially older women. I look around and see that men are running the world, and no matter how screwed up the world is getting, what a dreadful and dangerous mess we are in, they are still loath to share the reins with women, who tend to see things and do things somewhat differently than men, if they are allowed to.
From the top to the bottom, in Parliament, on newspapers, it is mostly men, and even in Neighborhood Associations, Supermarkets, and Art Galleries, it is men who are running the show. This is what I am seeing from my vantage point. They don’t want my ideas. I am allowed to be there if I donate money, rubber stamp their ideas, and pick up the garbage.
Just now, I was discussing an issue, a complex issue, with a columnist on my daily newspaper. Then we came to the part where I said that as always, men with power, control and wealth were lording it over me. He said, and I quote, “I am not going to engage in a debate with you about why men rise to the top. Goodbye.” End of conversation. End of discussion about the whole situation I was talking about which was much broader than that. I feel like canceling my subscription. I feel like not writing anymore letters to the editor. Men picking and choosing what I will be allowed to say in their newspaper, and what they will not print. But then I won’t know what is going on in my city. There is no alternative.
There was an interfaith forum in Nanaimo recently. The emcee and the panel members were all men.
In my Neighborhood Association, which I no longer belong to, a blind woman, who had a Masters Degree, was assigned to write a letter to a City Official. With the help of friends, she painstakingly did this. The President of the Association, who has been in that harness for many years, re-wrote her letter. This blind woman, now dead, had diabetes, and wrote a book on the history of Nanaimo, my city. She was a very capable and civic-minded person. At that point I quit. I had been working on an issue and was communicating with the Parks and Recreation Department when this President said to me, “I’ll take over now.” uring a TV segment, this President was talking to the camera, while in the background women from the Association were picking up garbage from the street.
At the Art Gallery, it was very clear that the men in power had a certain agenda, and plan for the future, and the women were just expected to go along with it. At a board meeting the manager had made a brochure, and he asked the board members, including myself at the time, whether the brochure should be coloured red or yellow.
On a larger scale, the American economy has tanked, but there are still millions of dollars to be found to fight wars in foreign countries. These are now called “missions”. In Canada there are thousands of homeless people, and children living in poverty, especially in my province, yet Stephen Harper plans to pour billions of dollars of our money into fighter jets and more prisons, in spite of the decreasing crime rate, and the evidence pointing to better rehabilitation and social programs for disadvantaged youth as the answer, rather than simple-minded punishment.
All his cronies, mostly men, are going right along with this.
I feel there is no place for me, for my thoughts, my feelings, my ideas. It is insulting when organizations offer to “partner” with me, which means they want me to donate money. It is insulting when politicians keep saying they put families first. You can’t put families first unless you put women first, and right now we are at the bottom of the Totem Pole. You are doing a great job men. Not.
Madeline Bruce is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and certified group therapist. She has a private practice in counseling and is an assessor for the B. C. Government Disability Pension.