Monday, May 08, 2006
This picture's been floating around the web for years, and I'm sure it's on every second blogsite. For the more impressionable amongst you, just remember, it's poor form to doubledip.
I am back in Montreal... met fresh off the plane by sweet Isabel. What a nice surprise. Now I retreat into a minor Island diatribe.
Every time I visit, I get the feeling that the Island is one large social experiment. Vancouver Island has the highest concentration of women I’ve ever seen. The ratio is something close to 2:1, w:m. The vainglorious would say this is a wonderful thing, as generally more women = more women. But the actuality is several degrees more complicated. Ladies’ associations are social forges, and admittance to them demands comportment to the rules. These rules are unwritten, of course, but they decree that you toe the line. It is crucial for this account to recognize that the vast majority is composed of white women, and they’ll drop the political correctness curtain on anyone who holds an unsavorary stage. This results in a social phenomenon of literal symbology: if you say X, you must mean X. This only helps protect ignorance, as issues are tactfully avoided, rather than mined for solutions or causality. Racial problems are rarely experienced and discussion of them is taboo. I believe this misdirected largess could be due to west coasters’ sensitivity towards the First Nations. Meanwhile, half the men there have been subjugated to living the life of social relic. For this reason, guys opt for the more recreational lifestyle: dirt biking, kite surfing, spitting, model car racing… the list is inexhaustible. This causes a mild sensation of social stagnancy and somehow contributes to an ambience of arrested maturity. Vancouver Island, as my sister and I recognize it, is a veritable Never-Never Land, though that has much to do with many other factors. Meanwhile I have a few examples of fauxmenism: 2 springs ago, an ex-friend of my sister shut me up on a day-trip to Saltspring Island with the risible statement that “guys do not get as much out of traveling as girls”. For some reason, she was blind to the realization that they might get something completely different out of it, something she couldn’t relate to (therefore, it was negligible). She spent the rest of the day nit-picking over any action I did: peeing outside, inspecting a newt, cross-examining me every time I spoke. Eventually I had to tell her off for superimposing her idiocy on me. Another story that made the editorials in the Victoria paper The Times Colonist was of a rally group called Take Back the Night. The idea was to have a march of solidarity for victims of rape and mugging. This candlelit procession was sent through the dodgier neighbourhoods and Beacon Hill Park (perhaps the most beautiful urban park I’ve ever witnessed) in a show of chanted support. However, when a man arrived to march alongside his wife and children he was booed away. They actually told him to leave! I could see how some victims would be sensitive to his presence, but their emotional response undermined the point of the whole gathering. That’s not feminism, that’s sexism.
My point is that while feminism has a very real purpose of design, it fails exactly where all other ideologies fail: when it stiffens into dogmatism. Then it is used without adherence to the greater goal, and mutates into self-interested promotion. Most instances of professed feminism that I witnessed were actually methods of controlling other women. Unless social equity is not the objective here, it is positive action that is needed: acts of tempered inclusion, promoted awareness, open discussion, acceptance, and self-inspection. A negative focus will only twist the point and belie any progress that may’ve otherwise been made. Doesn’t hating men give them a certain power over you? Are you going to hate them for that as well?
There is also many great things to having a greater proportion of girls: the annual homicide rate in Victoria is whopping great 1. There is a vast wealth of pretty girls. Gardens are wonderfully maintained. Fruit drips off the trees. Newspaper editorials are pretty superfickle and don't go plumb depths much deeper than heated debates over the rights of dogwalkers and the softwood lumber debacle. The food, though really expensive, is healthy and fresh. Even one of the streets is called Menzies.
Alright, I’m off to take a Midol. I’ll try and write more about my mum’s house and actual visit of Bex, Kim, Ben, Dave, Nicole and Jordan later, as they're all really deserving of a meaty description. Hopefully I’ll have some pictures of them to pace it.