By Andrew Knott of Explorations of Ambiguity
Hello, ladies. Wonderful day today, isn’t it? The weather is almost as beautiful as your lovely faces. And you know what else is beautiful? The fact that I just had a baby girl yesterday. Well, my wife did, but I was there, too.
Let me tell you, having a baby girl really changes everything. I was up all night last night. Not because of the baby, we sent her to the nursery, but because I was surfing the net getting up to speed on women’s issues. Since I have a daughter now, women’s issues are really important to me all of a sudden. Sure, I knew about women before, but their rights and well-being never really mattered to me until now. This baby is a real game changer.
Anyway, I’ll let you get back to your coffee and gossip. But first, do you mind if I tell you about some issues I am really passionate about since last night when I read through almost the entire Wikipedia entry for “Woman”?
Great. I’ll pull up a chair and have a seat if you don’t mind. Better yet, I’ll just pull up a chair, rest one foot on the seat, lean forward, and casually place my elbow on my knee. Perfect.
First off, let me tell you that I really admire all of you for your ability to give birth at any point in your reproductive life between puberty and menopause. Of course, with that being said, I certainly don’t mean to denigrate women who are infertile or intersex, which is a term I just learned.
In my book, women should not be defined by their ability to reproduce. In fact, it’s a common misconception that the word “woman” is derived from “womb.” It’s not, just so you know. Yes, I believe my daughter can be anything she wants to be. If she wants to have seven kids or no kids, it’s totally up to her and her future husband. I’m perfectly okay with whatever they decide.
Of course, what I’m really into is female empowerment. Some of my greatest inspirations are successful women in history. For example, Merit-Ptah, who lived in Egypt in 2700 BC and was the earliest known female physician and scientist, is a person I look to her everyday for strength. And we can’t forget about Peseshet, another female physician from Ancient Egypt who followed in Merit-Ptah’s considerable footsteps. And that’s just to name two examples of strong women who have shaped my views on female empowerment since I read about them last night.
Yes, I firmly believe women should feel empowered and it is the job of men like me to speak out to support them. I believe women, and my daughter in particular, can and should have it all. Doctor, lawyer, engineer, heck, even president.
I’m totally on board with a female commander-in-chief. Hypothetically speaking, that is. I’m not saying I voted for Hillary or anything, but I would definitely consider voting for one of you ladies!
I really feel like having more women in positions of power would help the plight of women who are suffering around the world. And let me tell you, you all are really suffering. In large part because you are not being sufficiently empowered by men like me.
Let me take this opportunity to apologize on behalf of my fellow men. We have failed you. We have not bestowed sufficient empowerment upon you. Not in ancient times, not one hundred years ago, and not today. The way the deck has been stacked against women really makes the accomplishments of ladies like Peseshet and Oprah even more impressive.
I mean, isn’t about time that we as a society started taking women’s health and reproductive rights seriously? There are few things that get me rankled quite like the thought of the thousands of women dying from childbirth, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. Those women are my daughter!
That’s how strongly I suddenly feel about this issue. And if there are three things that I can unequivocally say that I stand firmly against they are forced sterilization, forced abortion, and forced pregnancy. Totally against all of those. In fact, I’m about five seconds away from hopping on a plane and flying to some country and telling the men there to cut out this forced nonsense. It has to stop!
Oh man, I am so fired up right now! I can’t wait to spread the word about all the horrible things that happen to women on a daily basis. Honestly, I didn’t think about these things until I held my baby girl. Before that, it was all an abstraction. Like I heard about girls being discriminated against and subjected to horrible acts of violence, but I didn’t really care until I could see a biological female baby in front of me that shared some of my DNA. Now everything has changed!
I really don’t know how you ladies do it. Putting up with everything that the patriarchy throws at you and still managing to earn fifty percent of the doctorate degrees bestowed in the United States in 2005 and 2006! You should be very proud. I know I am.
But anyway, I’ve got to run. I need to get back to the hospital to see if my wife and baby girl need me to protect or empower them. Thanks for the great conversation! Go women!
*A version of this post was first published on McSweeney’s
About the Author
Andrew is a writer from Orlando, Florida. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Higgs Weldon, RAZED, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Defenestration Magazine, Scary Mommy, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Paste Magazine. He also writes on his website,Explorations of Ambiguity, and you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. His first book, Fatherhood: Dispatches From the Early Years, is available now.